ERO report confirms need for clearer curriculum

A report by the Education Review Office (ERO) on Aotearoa New Zealand Histories confirms that teachers need better clarity on curriculum and how to deliver it, Minister of Education Erica Stanford says.

“Despite the hard work of teachers, education achievement and attendance have declined significantly in the last few years. Our Government is serious about turning that around and ensuring that every child in New Zealand receives a world-class education. 

“Children at school today are New Zealand’s future leaders, entrepreneurs, doctors, teachers and lawyers. Receiving a world-class education not only sets children up for success, it sets New Zealand up for success – economically and socially,” Ms Stanford said.

“The ERO report into the Aotearoa New Zealand Histories curriculum reinforces what our Government has been saying for some time – that to turn around New Zealand’s declining levels of achievement, we need a gold-standard curriculum that provides clear guidance to teachers about what students should be learning each year at school.   

“The report found that because schools had been prioritising Aotearoa New Zealand Histories, other subjects like geography and economics had been crowded out.

“ERO found teachers had been overwhelmed by the scale of change required, and did not have the skills or time needed to develop bespoke, local curriculum documents. 

“A key finding was that while most schools were teaching some of the new curriculum, many were struggling with being expected design localised curriculum and linking New Zealand histories to the global context.

“We need to move away from a postcode lottery where what you learn at school depends on where you live and who your teachers are.

“It is through a nationally developed curriculum that we can ensure all students develop the knowledge and skills they need to successfully gain secondary school qualifications, which lead to better employment and tertiary study options,” she said.

“I will be reducing the expectation for schools to write curriculum documents themselves and ensuring teachers have more time to focus on what they do best – planning creative and exciting lessons to engage the learners in their classrooms. 

“I have already appointed a Ministerial Advisory Group to review the curriculum for English and Maths and provide advice on a national curriculum in these areas.

“We expect to make an announcement on a new approach to Curriculum Refresh programme before the end of the month. This will include a clear focus on effective implementation, learnings from ERO reporting, sector feedback and a relentless focus on doing better for our young people.”

Restoring balance to the Aotearoa New Zealand’s Histories curriculum is a commitment in the ACT/National coalition agreement.