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Teachers need the time, resources and support to do their jobs, not standardised tests

23 Pou 2023

Teachers need the time, resources and support to do their jobs, not standardised tests

NZEI Te Riu Roa, New Zealand's largest educational union, says what teachers and children need is an increase in funding and staffing to support learners with higher needs, not a change to intensive testing of children as young as seven years old.

“The curriculum is not the problem, and the last thing we want is to see is it being designed by politicians,” says NZEI Te Riu Roa President, Mark Potter. “National’s policy doesn’t offer any solutions or resourcing to the key problem primary schools have. That problem is the lack of proper support to help learners with higher needs. Schools are understaffed and teachers and principals are overstretched. And as every teacher and parent knows, the ‘basics’ for one child might be different for another.”

Potter says the National Party policy looked like a reboot of the failed National Standards policy, which is not something teachers want or children need.

“Their announcement says that children as young as seven years old will face two high stakes tests a year, which is an even more intensive form of National Standards. Children need more support in the classroom, not more tests. ”

“Curriculum changes should be evidence-based and designed by experts in the field. No curriculum in the world can magic away the under resourcing of an education system. We know that ”

The National party’s announcement today comes just one week after the largest education sector strike in the country’s history which highlighted the challenges across the sector. Teachers were striking for a better offer on their collective agreements, better resourcing in so we have more teachers, lower classroom ratios and more support staff to scaffold children’s learning.

“Luxon is right in that we need to see immediate and long-term strategy that brings all learners into the fold and gives them good education outcomes. All teachers and principals want this. We’ve been clear about what we need to achieve a better system. We hope that the Government is listening,” says Potter.



1. NZEI Te Riu Roa is meeting with Ministry of Education next week to discuss their claims for the primary teachers, principals and kindergartens collective agreements.

2. The Ministry of Education requested to meet in respect of the Kindergarten, Primary Teacher and Primary Principal Collective Agreements only. The talks do not cover area school teachers and area school principals. 

3. We are currently in negotiations across five collective agreements:

Kindergarten Teacher Collective Agreement (KTCA)

Primary Teacher Collective Agreement (PTCA)

Primary Principal Collective Agreement (PPCA)

Area School Teacher Collective Agreement (ASTCA)

Area School Principal Collective Agreement (ASPCA)

4. The Pūaotanga Report, commissioned by NZEI TE Riu Roa in 2021 as a response to educator’s concerns, clearly outlines the issues in primary school staffing in a system that is ‘not fit for purpose’. The section 'what good looks like' is useful for quick pointers. https://www.nzeiteriuroa.org.nz/campaigns/puaotanga