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Photo by Rachael Hamilton

Refreshing Our Curriculum

Lucy Naylor —

The national curriculum refresh has been in the media lately, and I am sure many of you are wondering what this means for Stanley Bay. A quick potted history is an excellent place to start.

After two and a half years of pandemic disruption, at a local level, we have the opportunity to assess what happened to students' learning and plan 'the next steps. At a national level (I am sure you will have seen this in the media), the Curriculum Refresh aims to develop the next steps, which will be aligned and embedded into the Stanley Bay curriculum.

In 2007 the revised New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) was hailed as one of the most flexible and liberal in the world. The framework moved us away from prescriptive achievement objectives and an obsession with curriculum coverage to a focus on mastery of skills and concepts. In addition, teachers were encouraged to teach curriculum content that matched students' strengths, interests, and learning needs.

Just as schools were embedding the revised NZC, we had a change of government and a shift in ideology that affected curriculum delivery. In 2009, National Standards focused on literacy and numeracy, and ERO reviews were used to apply pressure on schools to get results. In short, it didn't work, one measure of this being a steady decline in international OECD PISA results.

In 2017, the Coalition Government abolished 'National Standards' and schools were encouraged to focus on a broad curriculum which aimed to localise curriculum content, develop cultural capability and grow digital expertise. Some schools focused on creating more robust pedagogical capacity and content knowledge in specific curriculum areas. Some schools, including Stanley Bay, maintained a strong focus on literacy and numeracy. As a result, what students were taught, how they experienced learning and achievement levels became very variable between schools.

Then, in 2020, we had a global pandemic.

Having metaphorically been 'dumped in the surf' through the pandemic, schools are getting back on the board to catch and ride the next wave of curriculum change. The national Curriculum Refresh Advisory Group has identified critical skills and concepts students need to be taught at each year level because 'we don't have time to teach everything. We need to ensure the most important concepts are taught'.

How we do this, using localised curriculum content and pedagogical approaches that work for our school, is the puzzle to solve. The curriculum refresh has elements and progressions that underpin each curriculum area. This identifies what we want students to 'Understand, Know and Do' and has been designed to create coherence and alignment across different curriculum areas.

When we successfully implement the NZC refresh, it is hoped that national equity issues will be addressed, and our tamariki will broadly define success through their skills, talents, and aspirations. For schools, the first challenge is making sense of how the revised progressions of learning compared to what is already in place; what does excellence and success look like for our students?. What should we stop, start and continue - after all, let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. The curriculum revisions will be personal and specific to our children's needs for our community. Learning that is increasingly relevant, rich, purposeful, authentic, fun and engaging.

As educators, we are watching this space with great interest, waiting to see how the revisions can improve outcomes for our students. Its success will be seen in how students catch and ride their own wave to progress and achieve their learning.

As the Curriculum Refresh gets underway, we are excited to invite you to information evenings to see the curriculum in action. The first of these events is the Maths Information Evening on Thursday 16 June.

 The evening will give you a broad overview of how we teach maths and the thinking that sits behind our approach and the opportunity to take part in a maths lesson to see what your children experience in class. Mark it in your diary, we look forward to seeing you there. 6-7.30pm

Disco and Board Drinks - Thursday 9 June 

On 9 June FOSB are putting on a disco for the children. This is a highlight of the term for many students and always a fun way to celebrate the term. While the children are in the hall boogieing the night away the Board will be hosting drinks in the library. 

The triennial Board elections are scheduled for the end of September, so if you are considering putting your name in the ring, this is an excellent opportunity to come and have a chat with the current Board members and find out more about governance and the mahi of the Board.

Teacher Only Day Reminder - Friday 3 June

On Friday 3 June (Teacher Only Day) and Monday 6 June (Queens Birthday) the school will be closed for instruction. Enjoy the long weekend. 


Poipoia te kakano kia puāwai
Nurture the seed and it will blossom

Noho ora mai 

Lucy Naylor