There is a lot of emotion around National Standards in education at present.  Putting this aside, the two issues vexing the teachers are i) the Standards need to be trialled, and ii) the Standards will result in the creation of league tables.

In regard to the first point, schools do not have to report any National Standards data until 2012.  This ‘bedding in’ period will allow for fine-tuning the system – in essence, a trial period.

The second point is one that has only been raised by the teacher unions and the media.  It is a point that teachers need to provide alternative solutions for, rather than using it to dismiss the Standards out of hand.  It was never the Government’s intention to create league tables.

Currently, one in five New Zealand children are leaving our schools without the literacy and numeracy skills they need.

National Standards are one way of ensuring this does not continue.