Media Releases

Teachers, not politicians, should decide teaching strategies, education union says

10 Sep 2023

The president of NZEI Te Riu Roa, Mark Potter, says the National Party’s new education policy requiring all schools and all teachers to teach literacy in the same way ignores the importance of the professional judgement teachers make daily about what works for the tamariki in front of them.

“Teachers work with a diverse range of learners. They are the ones in the classroom each day and they should be trusted to select whichever is the best tool in their toolbox for each individual learner. Children do not come in one size and we shouldn’t be repeating failed attempts at standardisation of teaching.”

“We support the development and sharing of effective teaching practice, but this should be driven by the experts, who in this case are teachers and researchers, not the government. No one would expect or want politicians to dictate how doctors prescribe or lawyers brief clients, and the same should apply with teaching and learning."

National’s policy requires the teaching of structured literacy by all teachers and as a condition of their teacher certification. National also wants to introduce testing of year 2 reading and twice-yearly standardised tests of reading writing and maths for children in years 3-8. This would sit alongside policies requiring a minimum of three hours a day spent on reading, writing and mathematics and a ban on cellphones in schools.

“Educators have been calling out for more learning support and investment into attracting more teachers into the profession.”

“Instead of telling teachers what to do, let's give them the resources and support they need so that each child in Aotearoa has the ability to reach their greatest potential at school.”