New Health and Physical Education Curriculum Will Help

  • Brian Donnelly
Associate Minister of Education (Early Childhood Education and Maori Education)

The draft Health and Physical Education Curriculum that will be sent to schools this week will help lead to a healthier society, the Ministers of Education, Wyatt Creech and Brian Donnelly said today.

The draft curriculum is much more holistic and integrated than the current one, and will better fit the development of children, according to the ministers.

"Essentially this forward-looking curriculum details what good health and PE progammes should already be offering," the ministers said.

"Schools will shift their approach from the individual physical focus towards the total well-being of each student."

"The students will also have to respond by thinking in wider terms than self-help, and consider the effects of their choices and actions on the people around them and the wider society."

The ministers said that there will be some concepts that people will want to debate, such as sex education and the values that should be central to the education process.

"There are widespread demands for young people to be well informed in matters of sexuality, healthy lifestyles and total 'well-being'. It is also important that young people learn the value of honesty, reliability etc.; these values will be relevant to the age of the children."

"These concepts do not have denominational connotations. That is a private, personal matter that needs to be sorted out by individuals and families."

"There has been very extensive consultation with the profession in the development of this syllabus."

"Not only has it been assessed by experts in health and PE, but we brought together a group of generalist practitioners to get their reaction to the curriculum and whether schools should cope with the change. They endorsed the content and were excited by the document. They believed that there should be no teacher workload difficulties."

"Communities will need to be involved in the decisions on how to implement the curriculum. In some areas where there is a great deal of concern about issues such as youth suicide, teenage pregnancies or drug use, the programmes can reflect the communities concerns and the needs of the students."

The ministers encouraged school communities and teachers to have their say during the consultation on the draft, to ensure that New Zealand schools have a curriculum that will make a positive contribution to a healthier society.