Paekakariki School ‘no’ to National Standards
The Paekakariki Board of Trustees announced its decision on September 17, supporting school principal Allan Marsden, who says the new system will not benefit the children.
Mr Marsden (pictured) says not enough research or testing has been done and students will be guinea pigs.
“For me the whole thing’s just flawed, it’s just taking away from the individual personalised learning programme that we are so proud of.”
Mr Marsden says the school uses the National Curriculum which is an internationally recognised world leader in teaching design across a wide range of subjects.
He says a letter withdrawing the school from the standards was sent to the Ministry of Education about five weeks ago.
Mr Marsden believes Paekakariki is one of about 100-150 schools to date whose trustee boards have written to the ministry pulling out of the system.
He says a school which does not submit data on student academic achievement under the new standards will be in breach of their National Administration Guidelines.
The ministry can sack the principal and bring in a commissioner to run the school until a replacement principal is found.
“There is security in numbers. We believe they can’t chuck us all out and put commissioners in,” says Mr Marsden, who has been Paekakariki’s principal for eight years.
However, he thinks Education Minister Anne Tolley will be looking to make an example of one of them.
Mary Chamberlain, curriculum teaching and learning manager for the Ministry of Education, says failure to implement National Standards would be viewed seriously by the ministry as a breach of a school’s legal obligations.
She says it would be inappropriate to speculate about what course of action might be taken if a school was to pull out.
Mr Marsden says he could have “fudged the results for Africa” but education should be bigger than a political agenda.
He says there will be some of his 182 students who will never reach the standard, despite making huge progress at their own level.
“It’s all about the kids, if it’s going to affect my kids then I’m going to make a stand.”
Parents, who did not receive the planned newsletter until after the announcement, have been invited to attend a meeting on October 27 to receive more information on the board’s decision.
Mr Marsden says all but two Kapiti school principals are taking a stance, sending a remit to the ministry saying the standards will not deliver the desired outcome and recommending all schools boycott standards training.
Waikanae School principal Bevan Campbell says its teachers have not attended any training for about four months in protest.
The Waikanae school board of trustees will be writing to the Minister of Education stating that the school will defer setting achievement targets on National Standards until their concerns are addressed.
Mr Campbell says the main issue for the board is the negative impact the school believes the league tables will have on the education system.
In the meantime, the school will continue to base its data on the NZ curriculum, he says.
The government introduced National Standards because it claims one in five students leave secondary school without adequate literacy and numeracy skills.
All schools have until 2011 to include the National Standards in their charter.