A good education can transform lives. With the right education, children can overcome the challenges they face purely because of the circumstances they were born into. That’s why I and my colleagues in National want every child to have the opportunity to succeed no matter who they are or where they have come from.
Our Education Spokesperson Nikki Kaye recently released National’s Education Discussion Document. This document reconfirms our commitments and outlines some new proposals that we want to receive your feedback on.
Our commitments include continuing to focus on the quality of Early Childhood Education (ECE) services available to ensure our children receive the highest level of education and care in those critical foundation years.
As part of this focus we are proposing spot checks on ECE services to ensure they are meeting the required standards. If they are breaking the rules, we’re proposing that these services be put on notice and parents informed. If problems aren’t fixed quickly, services will risk losing their license to operate.
Most ECE services do a great job and parents are confident when they leave their child. However there is evidence that some are not meeting the quality standards parents expect.
Last year Opposition Leader Simon Bridges announced a National Government would reduce class sizes in primary schools. We are committed to this policy and have now released draft student-teacher ratios for feedback.
More time with a teacher means more opportunities for children to ask questions and get answers, and for teachers to focus on areas where a child may be struggling. We believe smaller class sizes will also help reduce the workload teachers have.
Smaller class sizes means more teachers. National is proposing a number of ways, including financial incentives, to attract more people to the profession, or to get people to return to teaching.
We’re also considering changes to initial teacher training, which include strengthening practicum requirements, accredited schools involved in teacher training and more support for teachers who mentor beginning teachers.
A quality education comes from our teachers, but it also comes from strengthening the curriculum. Teachers should have world class curriculum resources. Children must leave school with firm foundations in core areas of reading, writing and maths.
We want our children to be digitally fluent. But we do worry about how much time our young children spend on screens. We want to ensure kids aren’t spending too much time on devices and are doing quality learning away from screens.
It is also important parents know how their children are progressing and what areas they need to improve on to succeed. National will ensure we continue to improve school reporting systems, including better access to online reporting.
National is also proposing some changes at the tertiary level. First year Fees Free has been an expensive failure. Not only has it not increased participation, but there are fewer learners now than before. We therefore want your feedback on some possible alternatives to how this funding could be better used. We would love to receive your feedback at https://www.national.org.nz/education.