We must inspire better performances

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Inspiring improved performances in all schools will always be our priority, as it ensures our nation’s children have the chance to thrive and succeed.

A good education is also an essential requirement for a skilled, creative, and productive workforce, which is a key to building our economy that continues to grow stronger.

We want all young New Zealanders to leave school with the skills they need to reach their potential. That means lifting up students being left behind, and encouraging those who are doing well to do even better.

Our focus on improving the teaching and learning outcomes in all schools is delivering great results. We want at least 85 per cent of 18-year-olds to have attained NCEA Level 2 or equivalent qualifications by the end of next year.

Provisional data for 2015 shows that the proportion of 18 years who achieved NCEA level 2 has risen to 84.4 per cent, up from 68 per cent in 2008. This is a remarkable change.

Introducing National Standards to identify children that are falling behind, and helping parents and schools to focus on what they need to do to help is an important strategy for everyone involved in education.

We have also made available National Standards data, Education Review Office reports, schools’ annual reports, and Early Childhood Education (ECE) and NCEA data on the internet so parents have access to as much education information as possible.

Last year, 96.2 per cent of new school entrants had previously participated in ECE, some 4220 more children engaged in learning since mid-2011.

Our budget for ECE has doubled over seven years to $1.6 billion, illustrating the importance we and families place on it.

During our time in government we’ve built 24 schools, including the new ones in Ormiston and Mission Heights, which is responding to the quickly growing population demands of our local areas.

One very good way of showing young Kiwis a pathway into the workforce has been to open 23 Trades Academies. Secondary students can achieve NCEA Level 2 while gaining industry-specific skills. There have been 940 additional places created this year, taking the total number to 6190 nationally a year.

Education is the foundation for a healthy and successful life. That’s why we have to keep up the focus on lifting achievement for New Zealand’s young people.

Jami-Lee Ross
Member of Parliament for Botany