New Zealand First Media Release
New Zealand First will oppose Nikki Kaye’s “Education (Strengthening Second Language Learning in Primary and Intermediate Schools) Amendment Bill.
New Zealand First believes that forcing languages into the primary school day would be irresponsible at a time when our teachers are already under workload pressures.
The previous National government left significant workforce constraints and funding shortfalls and we need to address those issues first. Expanding the primary curriculum is an unnecessary distraction at this time.
Ms Kaye had nine years in Government to promote this bill. Apparently she couldn’t convince her caucus or cabinet colleagues to support it, even though she herself was the Minister of Education in 2017.
We also note recent international reports from December 2017 that show New Zealand's score in an international English medium reading test for 10-year-olds has dropped for the first time in 15 years. These results were from 319,000 children in 2015 and 2016 and are part of the legacy of the previous National government. These results show that a focus on our student’s English abilities should remain a priority.
New Zealand First will also continue to advocate to advance greater support for Te Aho Arataki Marau mo to Ako I Te Reo Maori – Kura Auraki (Curriculum Guidelines for Teaching and Learning Te Reo Maori in English-medium Schools - year 1 to year 13).
Additionally, New Zealand First is keen to see the development of a similar curriculum progression document for New Zealand Sign Language, another official language.