Improving achievement

We want all children to achieve their potential no matter where they are.

Key to this are strong foundational skills in reading, writing, and maths. These skills enable them to be successful in the broader curriculum learning at school and gain qualifications into further study and employment. This will open doors to fulfilling careers and empower our children to navigate the world confidently.

To track our progress towards improving achievement, the Government has set a target: by December 2030, 80% of year 8 students are at or above the expected curriculum level for their age in reading, writing and maths.

Achievement target – DPMC(external link)

Target achievement

Description: What is the target?

This is a bar chart showing 80% of Year 8 students at or above the expected curriculum level for their age in reading, writing and maths by December 2030.
Percentage of students at or above the expected curriculum level, by subject
Year English - writing (2019) English - reading (2019) Maths and stats (2022)
Year 4 63% 63% 82%
Year 8 35% 56% 42%


Six priorities to improve achievement

The Minister of Education has outlined 6 priorities to improve the education system.

Education priorities focused on lifting achievement – Beehive website(external link)

These priorities set the direction for our work programmes and how we will assist schools and kura. So we can collectively support all students to achieve. This will mean:

  • Teachers and schools are supported by a detailed, knowledge-rich curriculum and will know what needs to be taught and when.
  • All students will be learning literacy and mathematics in a way that evidence tells us best supports students to learn.
  • Parents will know about their child’s progress and teachers will know about their students’ progress so they can adjust as needed.
  • Attracting and retaining teachers domestically and from overseas, and better teacher education at every stage of a teacher’s career, from selection and Initial Teacher Education through beginning teachers, experienced teachers, and experts, leaders, and principals.
  • Targeted effective learning support.
  • Better use of data, assessment, and evidence to identify and invest in supports and services that work.

Work programmes underway

There are several work programmes underway to deliver the priorities and reach our achievement target. They include:

  • In Term 1 2024, we’ve introduced the ‘hour a day’ teaching requirement to make sure there’s dedicated teaching of reading, writing, maths, pānui, tuhituhi and pāngarau.
  • We’re updating the English and Maths learning areas as part of the refresh of the New Zealand Curriculum. Te Marautanga o Aotearoa is being redesigned alongside the refresh of The New Zealand Curriculum.
  • We are implementing structured teaching approaches to literacy based on the science of how children learn. Budget 2024 funding for structured literacy includes professional learning, classroom resources, evaluation.

We will provide updates when available.

More information for schools

Visit the following pages for the latest updates and resources to support implementation in your schools and kura:

Hour a day – Tāhūrangi(external link)

Refreshing the NZ Curriculum(external link)

Structured teaching approaches – Tāhūrangi(external link)

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback