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Education, Effecting Change, GERM (Global Education Reform Movement), Government Policy, National Standards, New Zealand, Opt Out, Parents Fight Back, Protest - Have a Voice

Dear Principal, we are opting out of National Standards …

opt out redThis great article on the Cheeky Kids blog sums up my own feelings and those of many I speak with regarding current education policy and, in particular, National Standards.

As the author says, Hekia Parata so often says she is doing this or that because parents want it – yet many don’t.  And we are not consulted or listened to.

The whole article is well worth reading (in fact, if I were you I would bookmark the page and also follow the Facebook page, as they are very good), but best of all is the letter she has sent to her child’s principal – a letter I think many of you may wish to use or adapt for yourselves.


~ Dianne


The letter:

Letter To Our School Principal:

“We are very supportive of the work *** primary and in particular **’s classroom teacher does to meet the individual learning needs of **. We value, as parents, feedback received regarding **’s current learning levels and suggestions for her next steps in her learning progression. However, we do not value having ** placed next to other peers her own age in a comparative format to determine whether she is making progress satisfactory to an arbitrary standard. The National Standards, in their current form, do not factor into account the many facets of our daughter’s ability to learn, her strengths and weaknesses, along with her far more valuable talents such as measures of her creativity, problem-solving, risk-taking and social skills. It does also not measure her true happiness and engagement in the learning process. It is these skills that, as parents, we value most importantly, and not where she fits next to other children her own age, or whether or not she is meeting a ‘standard’.

Because of this, we now request that future reporting to us regarding ** learning progress be devoid of any reference to the National Standards. Furthermore, we request that feedback given to ** regarding her progress, either verbally or in written format, also make no reference to the National Standards. We welcome any correspondence from the classroom teacher that gives us information regarding her current learning levels, and suggestions for her next steps. We also do not want to add to the already enormous workload classroom teachers are under and are quite happy to simply have current reporting templates left blank in the areas mentioned.

Once again, we appreciate all the work the staff, including the classroom teacher, do for our daughter’s learning. She is enjoying all the opportunities afforded to her by attending ** Primary School”.




Read the whole article here:

See also:

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"One needs to be slow to form convictions, but once formed they must be defended against the heaviest odds." Gandhi


5 thoughts on “Dear Principal, we are opting out of National Standards …

  1. Dear Save Our Schools,

    After receiving my daughter’ s eighteen month report and being devastated to read our bright, enthusiastic, well behaved 6 year old is well below National Standards I formally requested in front of Principal and DP that no further reference be made to National Standards in relation to our daughter. The reply I received was that the school is legally obliged to report back with Standards in the ‘ well below, working towards, at, above ‘ format.
    Are you able to advise on this?

    I am also a Trustee at the school and would like to be as well informed as possible so as to make well informed judgements for all our school students.

    Yours sincerely

    Inviato da iPad



    Posted by Michelle Tatler | June 5, 2014, 9:31 am
    • Hi Michelle,

      National Administration Guidelines ( NAGs) outline what government expects from schools.

      NAG 2A reads as follows:
      “Where a school has students enrolled in years 1–8, the board of trustees, with the principal and teaching staff, is required to, in alignment with requirements set in NAG 1, use Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori and/or National Standards to:

      *report to students and their parents on the student’s progress and achievement in relation to Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori and/or National Standards. Reporting to parents in plain language in writing must occur at least twice a year;

      *report to the Secretary for Education by 1 March school-level data on Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori and/or National Standards under four headings:
      -school strengths and identified areas for improvement;
      -the basis for identifying areas for improvement;
      -planned actions for lifting achievement; and
      -how students are progressing in relation to Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori and/or National Standards.

      *report to the Secretary for Education by 1 March on the numbers and proportions of students achieving Manawa Toa, Manawa Ora, Manawa Āki, Manawa Taki in relation to Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori and/or at, above, below or well below National Standards, including by Māori, Pasifika, European/Pākehā, Asian, gender, and by year level.

      *report the NAG 2A (b) and NAG 2A (c) Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori and/or National Standards information in the format prescribed by the Secretary for Education from time to time.

      The early position of the MoE was that NAG 2a did NOT require the reports to parents to use the phrases “At” “Above” “Below” or “Well Below”. So, the Principal and DP are partly right (they have to report) but partly wrong (they do not have to use the 4 phrases).

      That all said – this is a requiremenbt on the school to report on NS – it is not a requirement on parents to accept it, and as we have seen in the USA, it is down to parents to build an Opt Out Movement if they want change.

      I would also advise all concerned parents to write to newspapers and their MPs to make clear they do NOT want National Standards or NS reporting, so that Hekia’s claims that parents want it do not go unchallenged.

      I hope that helps,



      Posted by Dianne - SaveOurSchoolsNZ | June 5, 2014, 2:16 pm


  1. Pingback: Another family says no to National Standards | Save Our Schools NZ - June 13, 2014

  2. Pingback: National Standards – Resistance is not futile « The Daily Blog - June 14, 2014

  3. Pingback: National testing of primary school students is political not educational | Save Our Schools NZ - July 11, 2015

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