New Zealand Schools: Ngā Kura o Aotearoa (2001)

Publication Details

The report of the Minister of Education on the compulsory schools sector in NZ pertaining to 2001 (also known as the Schools Sector Report).

Author(s): Data Management and Analysis Division, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: 2002

Key Findings


The major challenge currently facing schools is to sharpen the focus on achievement for all students. Achievement provides a basis for success in further learning at school and in higher education and training. It refers to the knowledge, values, skills and attitudes that will be needed by the students of today to be successful participants in Aotearoa New Zealand and in a global economy. The challenge of raising achievement is borne out by international research that shows significant variance in achievement outcomes for different students within New Zealand schools, a variance greater than that between schools. This means that student performance can be improved in all New Zealand schools.

Many factors influence the achievements of students in schools. Each individual child has unique characteristics and dispositions. The socioeconomic status of families and the educational resources available in the home also make a difference. However, quality teaching is increasingly recognised as being a key component of the effort to raise levels of achievement.

When there is strong alignment among educators, school resourcing and leadership, and students, combined with excellent classroom teaching and family and community support for student learning, the leverage on student outcomes is maximised. Each chapter of this report focuses on one of these factors and how it contributes to raising student achievement. The final chapter gives examples of how some individual schools have managed to improve their student achievement by focusing all of their school practices on the achievement goal.

Student Achievement

New Zealand students, on average, achieve well in comparison with students in other countries. However, there is a wide variation in performance, present in all schools. We must reduce the number of boys with low-level reading literacy skills and raise the average achievement levels of Māori, Pasifika and low socioeconomic students. Such students' performance can be improved by a school-wide focus on achievement and quality teaching.

  • Teachers can enable students in low decile schools to accelerate their progress in reading and writing.
  • Within all groups of students there are both high-performing and low-performing students.
  • 30% of children in rural schools have not had early childhood education experience.
  • 48% of Year 4 students performed well above the expected level in oral reading.
  • 20% of all 15-year-olds performed at the highest level of literacy proficiency, but 14% performed at or below the lowest level.
  • Māori school leavers from immersion and bilingual schools are, on average, higher qualified than Māori leavers from other schools.
  • 52% of school leavers in 2000 enrolled in tertiary education in 2001.

For all students to have the opportunity to succeed, it is necessary to identify the specific needs of each individual student or group of students. This requires schools to be pro-active in designing teaching and learning programmes that work for the diverse range of students in today's classrooms. It requires schools to be open to community input and responsive to new ideas on how to improve learning outcomes.


  1. Sturrock, F. and S. May (2002). PISA 2000: The New Zealand Context: The Reading, Mathematical and Scientific Literacy of 15-year-olds: Results from the Programme for International Student Assessment. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

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