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Labour failing to help children learn to read

PRESS RELEASE | Erica Stanford MP | 21 March 2023 -


Labour failing to help children learn to read


Labour’s flagship programme to improve reading is on track to help fewer than one-third of the children it promised, at a time when our children’s reading is worse than ever, National’s Education spokesperson Erica Stanford says.


“In 2021 Labour launched two initiatives worth $11.6 million which promised to improve the reading of 73,000 New Zealand children over four years.


“However, a year and a half in and just over 8,000 children have benefited from the Early Reading Together and Duffy Books in Homes programmes. “This is yet another example of Labour’s inability to deliver. When the reading achievement of Year 5 students in New Zealand has plummeted from 12th to 26th in the OECD, ensuring our children are equipped with adequate reading skills should be a top priority. Unfortunately, it appears to be at the bottom of Labour’s priorities. “Education Minister Jan Tinetti is spending the week in Auckland at a Conference for Education Ministers from around the Pacific, which is no doubt a worthy discussion but the time for discussion is over we need a real plan to help our children with reading, writing and maths. “The results of the NCEA reading and writing pilot paints a worrying picture of Māori and Pasifika children. Just 34 per cent of Pasifika students and 50 per cent of Māori students passed the reading test. “Labour is spending $5 billion more on education every year but student achievement has nose-dived. “National will be laser-focused on lifting student performance, and that starts with a stronger emphasis on maths, reading and writing. We will focus on the frontline and ensuring teachers have the support and resources they need.


“We need a serious plan to deliver all children an education with the basics they need to succeed – the time for talking is over.”


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