Schools working together to raise achievement for kids

Columns
Sunday, April 26, 2015

Schools are often the cornerstones of communities.  They unite people through a shared sense of community, and responsibility for our future generations.

National wants to see greater collaboration among schools, improved transition through the education system for children, and better career pathways for teachers.

That’s why we’re investing in communities of schools – to share teaching practices and expertise across schools, keep the best teachers in the classrooms, and support strong leadership in schools.  Five schools in the Lower Mataura Valley are part of this scheme.

Evidence shows quality of teaching and school leadership are the two most important in-school factors in a child’s education, and family involvement and community expectations are the two biggest out-of-school factors.  So this is where we’re focusing support.

The first 11 communities of schools began working together in term one this year.  Now, 18 more communities of schools are joining them.  This means more than 200 schools around New Zealand working with more than 83,000 kids to improve educational outcomes in the classroom.

Kiwi children will be benefitting from shared teaching practices and expertise, with schools working alongside each other on shared goals.

National’s $359 million Investing in Educational Success initiative will lift achievement in Kiwi schools by helping schools share their best resources – their best teachers and principals.

We are working hard to ensure all kids have the opportunity to engage in learning that meets their needs.  We want to make sure they’re getting the best education they can.

Under National, kids are starting earlier in education, staying longer, and leaving better qualified.

We increased early childhood education (ECE) funding to get more young Kiwis into education earlier, and provide more targeted services to best suit communities who need them the most.

Our ECE participation rate in 2014 was 96 per cent – that’s 2,957 more young children engaged in learning since mid-2011.

At the other end of schooling we are seeing progress in NCEA Level 2 achievement.  The provisional results for 2014 show the achievement rate for NCEA Level 2 increased to 86.8 per cent, up from 85.7 per cent in 2013.

This wouldn’t be possible without our dedicated teaching profession, our school leaders, and the parents and whanau who make sure their kids get to classes and support their learning at home.

Ensuring every child gets a good education is one of the most important things National can do to raise living standards, and build a more competitive and productive economy.