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Advisors On National Standards Start Training

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Anne Tolley
Anne Tolley

Wellington, Feb 8 NZPA - About 300 advisors who will provide support to schools on the implementation of national standards begin training tomorrow as the Government tries to hard-sell the controversial flagship policy.

Prime Minister John Key said today Education Minister Anne Tolley is scheduled to speak to the advisors tomorrow in Auckland to prepare them for the support work ahead.

The support for teachers is part of the $26 million set aside for targeted training, he said.

National standards are benchmarks in reading, writing and maths that will be used to assess year one to eight children, with regular reports sent to parents.

The Government says it is vital to improve skills because one in five students leave school without the basic skills they need to succeed in life.

"I'm confident national standards enjoy strong support amongst parents and my view was backed up over the weekend by the Herald poll of parents, which showed more than 60 percent of parents favoured it," Mr Key said.

The Weekend Herald survey found almost three-quarters of parents, 73.2 percent, supported the introduction of standards.

The survey interviewed 545 Auckland readers with school-age children. The survey also found only 11.9 percent said they had "a full understanding" of the policy, and less than 10 percent thought the standards would have a bad effect on children.

National standards have been widely criticised, with the primary teacher's union saying the Government has "hit the panic button" with its campaign to explain the standards in schools.

The NZEI, which represents 90 percent of primary teachers and 97 percent of primary principals, demands at least a trial, but Government has rejected that and the standards are in place now.

Mr Key said teacher unions were looking after their members, while the Government was concerned about children and the effect poor education has on their futures.

It has set aside $36 million to help struggling students. There was another $75 million for specialist teachers to help primary and secondary schools.

The Government believes misinformation about national standards is being put out and its campaign is aimed at delivering "the real facts" about the policy and why it is needed.

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