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Labour’s science curriculum a failure in the making

PRESS RELEASE | Erica Stanford MP | 06 July 2023 -

Labour’s science curriculum a failure in the making

Labour’s new science curriculum will have a detrimental impact on student outcomes and achievement and should be scrapped right now, National’s Education spokesperson Erica Stanford says.

“Teachers who have seen Labour’s proposed curriculum have called it ‘embarrassing’ and said that it would lead to ‘appalling declines in student achievement’.

“Right now, only 20 per cent of Year 8 students are meeting the expected standards in science.

“Despite these dire numbers, education experts say that Labour’s leaked new curriculum lacks any meaningful detail on the fundamental knowledge that students need and will worsen the situation. Science teachers say it makes no mention of physics, biology or chemistry.

“Head of Science at St Patrick's College in Wellington told Newshub that ‘major areas of science can't be seen in the document. To me, the curriculum should be explicitly stating what, how and when to teach certain concepts to students’.

“A loose curriculum without a focus on the basics is one reason for New Zealand's 30-year decline in international measures of student achievement.

“Labour’s curriculum experiment is doubling down on a failing approach and will continue to take New Zealand in the wrong direction.

“We need to harness the amazing Kiwi ingenuity that is baked into our kids’ DNA and allow them to be the great thinkers and scientists of the future. This requires a robust national science curriculum that specifies clear, structured learning outcomes for each year group.

“National will rewrite Labour’s curriculum to include clear requirements about the specific knowledge that students should be learning, and when. In science, this means a focus on chemistry, physics and biology.

“National has already announced our Teaching the Basics Brilliantly plan, which will set clear requirements about the non-negotiable knowledge and skills children need to be taught each year in primary and intermediate schools.”


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