New Zealand Schools: Ngā Kura o Aotearoa (2008)

Publication Details

This report of the Minister of Education on the compulsory schools sector in New Zealand pertains to 2008 (also known as the Schools Sector Report). Other editions are available on the New Zealand Schools publication home page.

Author(s): Ministry of Education

Date Published: September 2009

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This report is available as a download (please refer to the 'Downloads' inset box).  For links to related publications/ information that may be of interest please refer to the 'Where to Find Out More' inset box.


Lifting student literacy and numeracy is a key priority for this government. We know that students need good literacy and numeracy skills to participate in the curriculum, to stay engaged in learning, to leave school with good options and, ultimately, to succeed in the workforce.

During 2008, Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success: the Māori Education Strategy 2008–2012 was released. This government wants to see the performance of the education sector lifted and better outcomes for Māori achieved. Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success now forms a focus for all parts of the education sector: ‘Māori enjoying education success as Māori.’

We know that many of our students are among the best in the world, but we also know that we have a large group that fall well behind. Up to one in three of our young people leaves school without the skills and qualifications they need to succeed. This needs to change. These students start school with the same enthusiasm to learn as all children. We need to engage with these learners and their families and whānau, and set them on a path of lifelong learning.

That’s why this government is introducing National Standards. These standards will be used in all English- and Māori-medium primary and intermediate schools from 2010. The government wants parents, families and whānau to be well informed of the progress their child is making against national benchmarks. This will enable all students to start secondary school with excellent numeracy and literacy skills, to participate fully in secondary education, to leave school with higher qualifications and to be better prepared for their chosen career path, including tertiary study.

The standards build on a number of things that we already know work well in education and will support effective assessment and teaching. They will provide clear expectations of what students should be able to achieve in literacy and numeracy at a certain year level or after a certain time spent at school. As literacy and numeracy are crucial in all areas of the curriculum, the standards will be closely linked to the content of the national curriculum.

Another vital area for this government is the transition between school and the world beyond. We acknowledge that traditional study settings may not be relevant to all students and our Youth Guarantee Policy will deliver a range of alternative educational pathways for 16- and 17-year-olds, including tertiary options. These initiatives will give teenagers a free programme of educational study towards school-level qualifications.

This report shows that, overall, the New Zealand schooling system is performing well but we are committed to doing better. We will make the changes required to improve performance. Budget 2009 demonstrates the government’s commitment to strengthening the ladder of opportunity for young New Zealanders by allocating $1.68 billion to improving frontline educational services in the current year and over the next four years.

This government is determined to carefully prioritise education funding so that dollars are spent where they will make the biggest difference for students, families and whānau. In the years ahead, our main focus will be on lifting educational standards to empower young New Zealanders and strengthen New Zealand’s economy.

I am pleased to present to Parliament New Zealand Schools Ngā Kura o Aotearoa.


Hon. Anne Tolley

Minister of Education

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