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Labour won't scrap National Standards - Shearer

Published: 8:46AM Monday September 10, 2012 Source: ONE News

Labour Party leader David Shearer says a Labour government would not cancel National Standards in schools, as it rolls out a Reading Recovery programme.
Labour's new education policy highlights the need to extend the Reading Recovery programme to an extra 5000 students a year by making the one-on-one help available in all schools. 

Shearer told TV ONE's Breakfast Labour is not going to abolish National Standards, but the Prime Minister should understand how the education system works.

"We've been measuring reading for 100 years. We know which kids are falling behind, National Standards doesn't change that," Shearer said, adding that National Standards simply say students should be at a certain point at a certain age.

"We won't cancel National Standards. But many schools will want to move onto something a lot more comprehensive and we won't stand in their way at doing that either," he said.

But without National Standards in reading, the Government is sceptical Reading Recovery will reach the right students.

Prime Minister John Key says National Standards is the "red flag" for assessing whether a child actually needs Reading Recovery.

National Standards have also been set for writing and maths.

Shearer's vision for the education system includes a maths recovery programme for students struggling to keep up and reintroducing the breakfast in schools programme to low decile schools.

Report cards

Shearer is also promising plain language report cards so parents can see how their children's school is doing.
But Education Minister Hekia Parata says the Government has already moved on this.

"It's exactly what I announced about a month ago on our Education Counts website in the five year plan for public achievement information," Parata told Breakfast.

"The cornerstone of that will be National Standards, but it will also include ERO reports, national and international reports, to give a richer context about how each school is doing.

"It will use National Standards, which I'm pleased to see the leader of the Labour Party is now embracing."

The Government will be reproducing school reports before the end of this month on the Education Counts website and all schools are aware that is the case, Parata said.