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School trustees not fussed by national standards release

Published: 9:11PM Monday September 24, 2012 Source: Close Up

Parents use a whole range of criteria to pick a primary school for their children, not just the national standards results released this week, claims the New Zealand School Trustees Association.

The Government is about to release the figures that compare the reading, writing and arithmetic levels for every school throughout the country in a bid to identify where children may be struggling.

And while teachers and principals are vocal in their protests against the report - the first time this information will be made public - school trustees do not share their concern.

New Zealand Principals' Federation president Paul Drummond told Close Up tonight that the tables were "very immature, very unreliable" and not a fair reflection of how a school was performing.

"I do [agree] that not too much reliance should be put on the information," said NZSTA general manager Ray Newport. "But if you remember back to the days of NCEA and league tables mentioned in terms of that, everyone thought the sky was going to fall in.

"In reality, of course, it didn't.

"I think most people view [those results] every year with a degree of interest, but they've become pretty much ho-hum actually."

Newport claims, while literacy and numeracy are vital to how children perform at school, parents are more discerning about where to send their offspring.

"People do not just up stakes and move school because of test results or assessment results and teacher judgement," he said.

"I think parents factor in things like 'is my children safe at school?', 'is my child making friends at school?' and a whole pile of other factors."

The principals' association met with Education Minister Hekia Parata today, but did not get a chance to voice their concerns over the release of the results.

"We look forward to that conversation in the near future," said Drummond.