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Achievement of school leavers falling – NCEA data

PRESS RELEASE | Erica Stanford MP | 1 July 2023 -


Achievement of school leavers falling – NCEA data


Ministry of Education data shows the percentage of school leavers attaining NCEA Level 2 has consistently fallen since Labour came to power, National’s Education spokesperson Erica Stanford says.


Last year, just 75 per cent of school leavers attained NCEA Level 2 or above– down from 81 per cent in 2017. Māori school leavers fared even worse with just 59 per cent attaining NCEA Level 2 or above – a drop of more than 10 percentage points.


“Since Labour came to power, the educational achievement of our high school students has plummeted, erasing years of improvement under the last National Government,” Ms Stanford says.


“According to the OECD, NCEA Level 2 is the minimum qualification young people need for successful labour-market participation. Sadly, the Labour Government’s misguided approach to education has meant an increasing number of students not reaching this level.


“Education has the power to change lives, but we won’t lift achievement in New Zealand by continuing to do the same things that are taking us backwards.


“Lifting achievement and keeping students engaged in education starts with ensuring that young people can do the basics brilliantly, and that is what National is focused on.


“A National Government will ensure every child receives a world-class education so when they leave school, they can lead the life they want.”


National’s plan to Teach the Basics Brilliantly will:

  • Ensure that primary and intermediate students spend an hour on average on reading, writing, and maths every day.

  • Set minimum requirements for what schools must teach every year in reading, writing, maths and science.

  • Implement regular standardised assessment with clear reporting to parents.

  • Deliver better training and more tools to support teachers.



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