New Zealand Labour Party

Government must fix NCEA support inequities

After a damning review and years of warnings about inequities in NCEA exam support, the Education Minister must ensure there is funding in this year’s Budget to fix the problems, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“New figures published today show more than 100 high schools didn’t make any applications for their students for special help for NCEA exams through the Special Assessment Conditions (SAC) programme.

“This follows data obtained by Labour last year finding decile 10 school students are seven times more likely to gain support over decile 1 students.

“The Education Ministry estimates 5 per cent of students may have a learning difficulty that entitles them to support but last year just 2 to 4 per cent of students from deciles 1 to 5 schools accessed support. However, 8 per cent of students at decile 10 schools and up to 20 per cent of students at some private schools have got exam assistance.

“Three years ago a review found inequities in SAC were putting the integrity of NCEA at risk.

“Despite this, Hekia Parata has refused extra funding to address these issues. Requests from the Education Ministry for more money for low decile schools have been rejected by Cabinet for two years in a row due to ‘higher priorities’.

“In fact, when advised by the Ministry early last year that these inequities remained, Hekia Parata’s office intervened to scrub that from official advice.

“The Government must front up this year with proper funding to ensure every child is getting support,” Chris Hipkins says.