Teachers and Principals are concerned the amount of change occurring in the education sector is both exhausting for teachers and impacting industry focus on the national curriculum refresh.
The Government is currently refreshing curriculum content from Years 1 through 13 over a five-year period. Beginning with histories in the social sciences this year, before moving to content for mathematics, English and science learning areas in 2022.
Melanie Webber is the President of the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers' Association and told 1News she’s worried the curriculum refresh is happening at the same time NCEA is being reviewed and changes are being made.
“They [Government] are working to a timeline that was created before Covid-19, and it needs to be adjusted and updated to reflect present day issues,” Webber told 1News.
Webber also expressed concern for the Government’s decision to make assessment change before curriculum changes are made. Something those in the sector would advise against doing.
Principal of Aotea College Kate Gainsford echoed the above and says it shouldn’t be assessment driving curriculum but curriculum driving assessment.
“If the Ministry want to continue down the same pre-covid timeline, then a whole lot more support is going to be needed,” Gainsford told 1News.
She says teachers and principals have their heads in a different space at the moment and are more focused on delivering learning remotely and supporting their students.
“There is a high level of professional engagement in NZ and it would be a shame to not utilize that,” says Gainsford.
In a statement to 1News Ellen MacGregor-Reid, who is the Deputy Secretary for Early Learning and Student Achievement at the Ministry of Education, says there is no need for a delay.
“The curriculum refresh is aligned with the changes to NCEA. We are working collaboratively with the secondary sector and communities on both pieces of work,” she says.
But the President of the NZ Principals Federation, Perry Rush, says there is not enough discussion being had and is concerned for whether the changes to content will mean anything.
“Is this genuinely a refresh or is it more of a redesign of current practises,” he told 1News.
Principal of Papatoetoe High School, Vaughan Couillault, also agreed discussion isn’t being had.
“Secondary Schools are yet to have a decent conversation about the curriculum refresh.”
Rush and others in the sector told 1News you cannot not support the refresh but it’s important the Government work on better timelines and schedules.