What recent reports has she received from the Education Review Office regarding the implementation of national standards in schools?
I am very pleased to say that the Education Review Office has just released a report that shows that 93 percent of schools are well prepared or have preparation under way to work with national standards. That number is up from 80 percent at the end of term 2. Schools that are considered to be well prepared make up 34 percent, and 59 percent of schools have preparation under way.
How has this changed from the last Education Review Office report, in August 2010?
This is the first year of a 3-year implementation programme. Schools have done a fantastic job this year. The number of schools that are well prepared has risen from 19 percent to 34 percent. The number of schools that are considered to be not yet prepared for national standards has dropped from 20 percent to 7 percent. That is really encouraging progress.
What common themes were noted by the Education Review Office in the well-prepared schools?
The Education Review Office noted that there were some common themes amongst those schools that are well prepared, and these include strong professional leadership, robust and purposeful self-review plans, a school culture encouraging teachers to discuss student achievement data, and good systems and processes. Children and their parents are already seeing the benefits of national standards and plain-language reporting. I acknowledge the professionalism and the dedication of principals and teachers.
How can she be proud of a report that shows that 66 percent of schools are still not well prepared to implement the standards?
This is the first year of a 3-year implementation. As I have said, schools have done a fantastic job. The fact that we are now looking at the majority of schools heading into the second year well prepared to work with national standards is something to be very pleased about.
In the report that she now has, what proportion of schools have not yet considered how to moderate teacher judgments?
I do not have the report in front of me so I cannot give the exact number. As part of the 3-year implementation programme, the moderation is actually a focus for the second year. The Education Review Office will be probing to ensure that the evidence that the schools are using to base that moderation on is valid. From memory, about one-third of schools are well prepared with their moderation processes.
How can she tell parents that the reports they are getting at the end of the year are national standards, when two-thirds of schools are not well prepared to implement them and two-thirds of schools are not moderating?
Actually, I am not giving those reports to parents; schools are. I know that many schools are saying to parents that this year is their first year as part of a 3-year implementation. I know they are talking this through in some detail with parents. I have to say that parents are absolutely loving it.