Education Minister Nikki Kaye today released a plan to support schools and early learning providers to lift achievement in maths and writing.

Earlier this year the Government announced a new Better Public Service goal to have at least 80 percent of children in Year 8 achieving at or above the National Standard in maths and writing or reaching Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori expectations in pāngarau and tuhituhi, by 2021.

“Today I’ve launched a plan to support our schools to meet these ambitious targets,” says Ms Kaye.

“We will be backing our teachers, education leaders, children and young people all the way to help them achieve these new targets.

“The plan focuses on better collaboration with the wider community and the social sector, improved teaching through dedicated training, the development of assessment tools and a focus on creating personalised pathways for each child.”

National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori give teachers and parents information on how each child is achieving throughout their time in primary school.

“Since National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori were introduced, they’ve proved an invaluable mechanism for targeting extra help to children who need it, when they need it,” says Ms Kaye.

“But too many of our students are still not achieving in the key areas of maths and writing – two core skills that open up a world of possibilities right across the curriculum.

“The data also tells us that achievement levels in those subjects are decreasing between years four and eight.”

The 2016 Public Achievement Information data, also known as PAI, demonstrates the need for a focus on National Standards in Year 8 with 70.7 percent of students achieving at or above the standard in maths and 69.3 percent in writing. In reading 78.2 percent of children are achieving at or above the standard.

Ngā Whanaketanga achievement for Year 8 stands at 49.5 percent in pāngarau, 60.8 percent in tuhituhi and 70.2 percent in panui in 2016.

“These figures show we have a lot of work to do if we’re to meet the 80 percent goal by 2021,” says Ms Kaye.

“By having the goal we can really focus attention and energy on lifting achievement in the same way that we have seen the incredible gains in NCEA Level 2 achievement.”

The 2016 PAI figures show that more young people than ever before are leaving school with the minimum qualification for success with 84.6 percent of 18-year-olds achieving NCEA Level 2 in 2016. That’s an increase of 10.3 percentage points in just five years.

Māori and Pasifika students have had the biggest increase in NCEA level 2 pass rates over this period. In 2016, 74.3 percent of Māori students achieved the qualification, up from 57.1 percent in 2011. Last year 78.7 percent of Pasifika students gained NCEA Level 2, up from 65.5 percent in 2011.

“These results are testament to the hard work of our teachers, education leaders, parents and whanau and most importantly the young people themselves,” says Ms Kaye.

“Achieving NCEA level 2 will widen the opportunities and improve the life outcomes for these young people.

“Now it’s time to focus on raising achievement earlier in the education pathway.”

The Result Action Plan released today makes the most of the collaborative model that’s been adopted by the majority of schools through Communities of Learning. In fact, many Communities are already working towards meeting their own achievement challenges in maths and writing.

“As part of the Plan the Ministry of Education will be helping teachers analyse their students’ data so they can better target those students who need extra support,” says Ms Kaye.

“New tools are also making it easier for teachers to chart children’s progress. The Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT) shows teachers what students understand across the breadth of mathematics, reading and writing.

“We are also improving the provision of professional learning and development for teachers with a focus on raising educational achievement in maths and writing and pāngarau and tuhituhi.

“This is an exciting time for everyone involved in supporting the education of children in New Zealand primary schools.

“I hope that everyone can get behind the drive to raise achievement in maths and writing so we can give our young people the core skills they need to achieve across a wide range of subjects and in their future careers.”

The Result Action Plan can be found here

Public Achievement Information for 2016 can be found here

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