Education Minister Hekia Parata said today the Government remains firmly focused on raising achievement for all learners through quality teaching.
“Raising achievement requires a system-wide lift in quality teaching and quality leadership from early childhood education (ECE), through primary and into secondary schooling,’’ Ms Parata said.
“I have not yet met with all the relevant organisations from across the education sector but those I have met have indicated an enthusiasm to work constructively with the Government on raising quality and achievement for all our students.
“To this end, I am setting up a cross sector forum where we will invite representatives from a number of education sector organisations, academics, unions and interested parties to work with the Government to collectively contribute to our overall goal of raising student achievement across the system.
“The first meeting of this group will take place by the end of this month. Terms of reference that align with the Government’s plan for education will be finalised at that time.”
The Government has set ambitious Better Public Service targets of increasing ECE participation to 98 per cent and ensuring 85 per cent of all 18 year olds achieve NCEA Level 2 or equivalent by 2016.
“We have an education system that is among the best in the world. Four out of five kids are successfully getting the qualifications they need from school and we must celebrate their success and the professionals in our system who make that possible every day. But our Government’s education plan is about getting five out of five.
“To this end, the Government is already spending $304 million over four years on professional learning and development for teachers in primary and secondary education.
“We have introduced National Standards in Primary and Intermediate schools to keep parents informed about their child’s process and identify the kids that are falling behind.
“We have engaged experts to work with schools and teachers to help raise the bar in education and have focused on teacher support.
“We have boosted special education, confronted bullying, established the Youth Guarantee and Trade Academies, and are spending between $300 million and $400 million on the Network for Learning.
“We remain committed to raising achievement and ensuring all our young people have the knowledge, skills and values to be successful in the 21st century,” Ms Parata said.