New Zealand Schools: Ngā Kura o Aotearoa (2003)

Publication Details

This report of the Minister of Education on the compulsory schools sector in New Zealand pertains to 2003 (also known as the Schools Sector Report).

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

Date Published: October 2004

Key Findings

New Zealand students continue to do well by international standards. However, there is a wide spread of achievement amongst New Zealand students in most curriculum areas. Approaches to raising student achievement must therefore focus on the particular needs of individual students. Effective teaching is the key to ensuring that all students achieve.

This report emphasises the central importance of assessment in turning under-achievement around. Analysing assessment information, and taking professional action, raises standards of learning, particularly for lower-achieving students. This approach is one of the most influential elements of effective teaching.

An overview of NCEA shows many secondary students participating in multi-level study towards qualifications. Year 11 students' levels of participation and achievement in NCEA increased in 2003, and nearly half of all Year 12 students achieved the Level 2 qualification. Most Year 11 candidates who did not achieve a qualification in 2002 either did so in 2003 or built up more credits towards one.

There are signs of improved achievement by Māori and Pasifika students in NCEA and school leaver achievement results. On some measures, Māori and Pasifika students have made gains on other ethnic groups.

In 2003 the highest proportion of school leavers in recent years (67%) had at least NCEA Level 2, Sixth Form Certificate or an equivalent qualification.

The report reviews statistics and research on engagement in schooling. Various indicators of disengagement persist, but stand-downs and suspensions have been reduced in some schools which use co-ordinated responses to signs of disengagement.

There is a clear focus on effective teaching as the key to maintaining student engagement and raising achievement. At the heart of effective teaching are quality teacher-student relationships, which are known to have a very important influence on student achievement.

The report examines the governance role of boards of trustees, encompassing strategic thinking, planning and decision-making. New charter requirements mean boards must focus on raising student achievement and be accountable for their school's performance.

A review of schools resourcing shows government funding has increased 17.1% over four years, compared with an inflation rate of 10.2%. While income from foreign fee-paying students is bringing benefits to schools, it can create risks, particularly when students are predominantly sourced from a single country and the market for international education remains volatile. Schools are also reminded that financial pressure can result if staffing entitlement is over-spent. Overall, the schools sector is reported to be in a financially sound position.

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