As school finishes for the year and we head into the festive season, it is a good opportunity to reflect on your child’s progress in the classroom over the past year.
This year, primary and intermediate schools began implementing National Standards.
The Standards are signposts that show what children should be able to achieve in reading, writing, and maths, and by when.
Parents are sent plain-language reports on their child’s progress at least twice a year.
I know the progress reports are helpful for parents in our Indian communities.
I encourage you to continue to work with your child’s school to make sure your child achieves in the classroom.
Last week, an international study from the OECD came out, showing that New Zealand students performed a lot better than average in reading, maths, and science.
This is a credit to the great job our teachers are doing.
However, the study also shows we have too many low achievers and that there has been no overall progress in reading since 2000 or in maths since 2003.
That is why National Standards are so important.
One child in five leaves school without the basic skills they need to succeed in a modern economy.
National Standards identify those who are falling behind, so they can get the help they need before it is too late.
We are supporting the Standards with $36 million over four years to help those children. This money will be used to develop resources and programmes to help lift the achievement of those who may otherwise fall behind and drop out.
We are also moving education resources to the frontline and putting children at the heart of the education system, where they belong.
At least 50 expert practitioners will be appointed to work closely with schools, and find ways to help their students succeed.
We are also focusing teacher development on lifting student achievement.
National is committed to boosting skills at all levels of the education system.
I know this is important to our Indian communities.
Last week Parliament passed into law a bill enabling secondary students in Years 11-13 to participate in trades academies.
Trades academies offer free vocational programmes for young people who want to learn practical skills while remaining at school.
There will be nine new dedicated trades academies opened nationwide in 2011 and more in 2012.
The academies will cater for 800 students, who will be able to earn both NCEA credits and a tertiary qualification, while gaining practical skills in the workplace.
As well as providing more career choices for students, they will contribute to growing our economy and productivity.
National is helping every child get the skills they need to succeed, reach their full potential, and make the most of their bright future.
I wish you and your family a very happy festive season and I hope you are taking a break.
I look forward to updating you on the National-led Government’s progress again in 2011.
John Key is Prime Minister of New Zealand. The above article is exclusive to Indian Newslink © Mr Key is deeply concerned over the welfare and education of children and seldom misses an opportunity to interact with them. He is seen here with the students of the Nanaskar Education Phulwari at the 21st Anniversary celebrations of the Auckland based Nanaskar Trust on October 17, 2010.