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On Friday 13th May, we were involved in another of the Accord Teacher Only Days focussing on the review of NCEA.

The NCEA is New Zealand’s key school-leaving qualification, and around 150,000 students study each year towards an NCEA. 

In May 2019, following a year-long public engagement, the Government announced a package of changes to strengthen NCEA and help maintain the trust and confidence in New Zealand qualifications.

The planned changes will help ensure young New Zealanders and international students studying towards an NCEA qualification have the appropriate skills and knowledge if they seek further education or employment, either in New Zealand or overseas.

The changes will also contribute to delivering the Government’s vision for an education system that gives learners a solid foundation to be successful in life and in a global economy.

The Ministry of Education is partnering with key stakeholders to work on the details of the NCEA changes and ensure these are coherent, inclusive, accessible and can be implemented successfully, hence the mandated teacher only days.

At the same time the Ministry is also working with us on a New Zealand Curriculum refresh.  The goals of this refresh are to:

  • Honour our mutual obligations to and through Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • Create curriculum that is inclusive so that all students succeed in their learning
  • Make sure The New Zealand Curriculum is clear about learning that matters
  • Make sure The New Zealand Curriculum is easy to use for teachers.

The refresh will be phased from now until 2025 and all learning areas will be refreshed and made clear about the learning that matters.  The framework for this will be a consistent approach across all learning areas:

  • Understand – The big ideas
  • Know – rich contexts for exploring the big ideas
  • Do – practices that bring rigour to learning

This will make it easier to integrate learning from across the curriculum. Knowledge derived from Te Ao Māori will sit at the heart of each learning area along with other knowledge-systems.  Each learning area, and there are eight of them – English; the Arts; Health and Physical Education; Learning Languages; Mathematics and Statistics; Science; Social Sciences and Technology will contain and be explicit about how it contributes to student development of the key competencies of thinking; using language, symbols and texts; managing self; relating to others and participating and contributing.  Literacy and numeracy will also be key and curriculum levels will be redefined as progressions shown in five phases. Progress outcomes will replace Achievement Objectives and each Learning Area will have one progress outcome per phase so that it is easy to see the next focus of learning.

To better support learner’s progress and achievement, and being better able to keep parents/caregivers ‘in the loop’ digital records of learning (RoL) for all students are being developed in line with the refresh.  These RoL will be generated collaboratively between teachers, students and their families.

The inclusion of Aotearoa New Zealand’s Histories content within the refreshed Social Sciences learning area is ready for school to use in 2022.  Science, Technology and The Arts will be refreshed in 2023, then Health and Physical Education and Learning Languages in 2024.

Ivan Davis


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