Let’s trade our Labor Party for the NZ Labour Party

For Pupil People who sincerely like children and believe in PUPILLING – honouring the contract between a teacher and a learner.

PUPIL PEOPLE believe….

* When the affective is secure, the cognitive is limitless – no fear tactics.

* Schools are learning places – not warehouses for the wealthy.

* Standardised Blanket Testing creates fear and discomfort in classroom; and establishes a dislike for fundamentals.

* The exercise of professional ethics in all school matters is paramount.

Let’s Swap Labo[u]r Parties with N.Z.

In a recent address to the Auckland Primary Principals’ Association, the NZ Labour Party’s shadow Minister for Education, Chris Hipkins, spoke of matters that relate to the improvement of schooling, that the Association has described as …”The speech we have been waiting for.”

Here are a few extracts for your consideration…. [Note his name: Chris Hipkins. Note his party: Labour Party.]


“New Zealand has one of the best education systems in the world, and our curriculum is widely recognised for its competency-based approach and for the flexibility it provides.”

“I mentioned every school being a great school. I totally reject the notion that increasing competition between schools will lead to better outcomes for everyone.”

“So let me be very clear about Labour’s position on charter schools. We see no place for them. And any charter schools established under the current government will have no future under Labour.  Our focus will be on ensuring that every school is a great school.”

“One of the most destructive things this government could do to quality education in New Zealand is introduce so-called ‘performance pay’ based on a narrow range of student achievement measures. If the alarm bells aren’t ringing, they should be.”

“National Standards [NZ version of NAPLAN] results are no measure of effective teaching. National Standards [aka NAPLAN] narrow the focus of teaching, encouraging teachers and students to focus time and attention on getting students over an arbitrary hurdle, rather than supporting that child to achieve full potential. National Standards [NAPLAN} are being used to stereotype schools through league tables [‘My School’ in Australia] that don’t measure pupil progress, only the number of students jumping the hurdle at a particular time.”

“We recognise that parents want to know how their kids are going, but they’re just as interested in how their kids are doing in Art and PE as they are in reading and writing. Parents want to know how their kid’s social interactions are developing. National standards [NAPLAN] tells them nothing about any of these things.”

“But we need to make sure that parents understand that league tables [i.e. “My School’] that aggregate a bunch of inconsistent data don’t provide any reliable basis for comparing the performance of schools. And without a doubt, we need to recognise many of our out-of-school factors that influence student achievement.”

Read full script:





Imagine! A Labour Party acting like a Labour Party….and it’s just across the ditch .

Imagine! A Minister for Education [real or shadow] knowing something about schooling. We salute you, Mr. Hipkins. Shift across. We need you.


Imagine! A learning future for kids, when Australia has a Minister organising a nasty dysfunctional system that suits only wealthy predators.

Imagine! A cheerful learning future for kids, when Australia has a stand-by Minister who is a bad-tempered tyrant wanting to make the learning climate ‘more robust’.

Saying No to NAPLAN is the ONLY option for voters. Whichever party says this, vote for it. We need to CARE FOR KIDS…..SERIOUSLY.

Phil Cullen caring for kids.


2 thoughts on “Let’s trade our Labor Party for the NZ Labour Party

  1. The comparison between education assessment in Australia and New Zealand triggered my interest on a number of levels. After nearly twenty years as a New Zealand principal in January 2012 I took up a position as principal of remote, indigenous school in the Northern Territory (Our Lady of the Sacred Heart , Wadeye). Furthermore my Ph.D thesis was on the topic of the managability and utility of assessment in NZ primary schools. I also happen to be friend of Chris Hipkins whose speech was the focus of the tweet that aroused my interest.

    In expressing the views below I need to state that I have not been in Australia that long and my views about NAPLAN are based on my experience at OLSH Thamarrurr which is very much an outliner school in terms of mainstream Australian education. It also comes from discussion with our teachers who come from all Australian states.
    I find NAPLAN a very blunt assessment tool. In our context the information that comes from the results have very little value and it is culturally inappropriate. In terms of NAPLAN for all Australia my concern is that it appears that NAPLAN pushes Australian teachers in to restricting the amount and range of assessment they undertake. NZ schools undertake a wider range of and more continuous assessment than in Australia; too many eggs have been placed in the NAPLAN basket. In informal discussion with teachers it seems that formative assessment in more of a focus in NZ.
    For these reasons so far, and it is early days, I have concerns about NAPLAN. However this is not an argument against having an assessment system that that requires a school to be accountable to its parents, it’s community and the Australian taxpayer. In the case of our community and the very low level of literacy of our students this is vitally important. However this does not mean a name and shame system or the predominat use of one very blunt once a year assessment tool.

    • Chris, Apologies for taking so long to comment on your letter. Congrats on your efforts at Wadeye. I am reaonably familiar with the circumstances as I inspected schools for five years around the far west and gulf country of Queensland.
      During this time I learned of the value of Shared Evaluation from teachers who had invented devices for the children to report seriously on their school activites to their parents almost daily. I emphasise ‘seriously’ as some efforts can just become routine. They showed me how crucial were the linkages between evaluation of personal effort at the point of learning, the sharing of effort with someone with whom they are proud to share, the motivation that on-the-spot learning-assessment-of-effort has on learning-pleasure and achievement. Creative teachers can invent a variety of ways to share evaluation of this activity with each child’s loved ones..
      Although one always appreciate some sort of eternal guide to asset general effort and to share achievements with otherloved ones, I can see no reason for any sort of blanket testing just for results that can be made public. Indeed I think that it is an immoral invasion of personal identity. School learning involves a teacher and a pupil [that’s what the word means] and at least one parent. It’s no one else’s business.
      Phil Cullen

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