Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024
#PM Christopher Luxon

Since entering politics, what has alarmed me most is the decline in educational achievement.
This is far from a criticism of our teachers. They do an incredible job, and our government will continue to support them.

The issue lies in how our teachers have been instructed to teach.
Over the last few decades, New Zealand has not taken an evidence-based approach to education, and in some cases, we haven’t been using proven teaching methods that work best for most young people.

As a result, educational achievement in New Zealand has been slipping for decades. Recent data shows that just 56 per cent of Year 8 students are at the expected level for reading and just 35 per cent for writing. These are unacceptable numbers.
Our government is ambitious for children. This is not only because a good education is critical for any child to be successful and live the life they want, but also because New Zealand’s economy relies on a highly educated and capable workforce.

Only through a great education will our children be able to unlock higher-paying jobs and play a vital role in our country. A stronger economy is how we will deliver better public services and invest more in health and education.

This is exactly why our government recently announced a significant change in how we will teach young people to read.

From the beginning of next year, primary school children will be taught to read using the proven structured literacy method.

Structured literacy is about getting back to basics and teaching children to read by using phonics to understand words.

A mountain of evidence clearly demonstrates that this is the most effective way of teaching reading, and student achievement will increase as a result.

We are investing $67 million to train our teachers to ensure they are equipped and ready to implement structured literacy. We are also providing schools with resources to support the teaching of structured literacy.
Structured literacy will be in all Year 0 to 3 classrooms from the beginning of next year and will be rolled out to Year 4 to 6 the following year.
This will go hand in hand with some of the other actions our government is taking to ensure our children can do the basics brilliantly.

The use of cell phones has been banned in all schools and feedback about that policy from parents and teachers has been fantastic.

I have heard from teachers that students are less distracted, cyberbullying is less common, and students are more frequently interacting face-to-face due to the ‘away for the day’ policy.
And just last week, Education Minister Erica Stanford announced her top priorities in education which include implementing an explicit curriculum that leaves nothing to chance, smarter modes of monitoring progress, better teacher training, and stronger learning support for those who need it.
This Government has set ambitious targets for education.
We have committed to ensuring that 80 per cent of Year 8 students are at or above the expected curriculum level for their age in reading, writing and maths by December 2030.
We are relentlessly putting ambition, achievement, and outcomes at the heart of our education system. We want every child to be inspired and engaged in their learning so they can achieve to the best of their ability and gain skills and qualifications needed to create the life they want for themselves.
-Christopher Luxon, Prime Minister of New Zealand

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