The National Standards results of more than 1000 schools across the country were revealed today. Nelson Mail education reporter Adam Roberts takes a look at some of the region's schools to see what is not recognised in the data.
Richmond's Henley School has not let a renewed focus on literacy and numeracy come at the expense of the rest of the curriculum, employing special teachers for Maori and the arts.
The decile nine primary school with about 600 pupils has welcomed the introduction of National Standards, reporting 87.7 per cent of its students at or above in reading, 72 per cent of students at or above in writing, and 74.6 per cent of students at or above in maths.
Principal John Armstrong, who was on the National Standards Sector Advisory Group two years ago, said while the data had been useful for targeting problem areas in literacy and numeracy, the school had made a special effort not to lose sight of other areas.
Last year Henley employed a special Maori and music teacher to work in the school, and also began personal development sessions on arts for teachers, he said.
"We put a lot of resourcing into that, probably more than literacy and numeracy. We were concerned that it would be something that would drop away."
Not everyone was academic, he said.
"I'm sure we can all think of people who would have been through school who may not have success in those areas of reading and writing and maths.
"We need people who are competent with cameras, competent artists and musicians. All sorts of those people make up our society."
The standards were not perfect, but had been useful for gaining a global perspective on the school's performance, and deciding where to concentrate.
Like many other schools he had talked to, writing had proven difficult for his students, particularly boys.
"That was not a surprise but by doing the standards across the whole school you get an insight into various areas of the school where there are specific groups that need targeting."
Using the data allowed the school to begin a number of measures to lift this achievement gap.
The school's head of literacy, Charlotte Hayward, said the school had surveyed children about which subjects they would like to write about, and would use those ideas to plan the curriculum.
Rather than coming up with a topic for the whole class to write about, boys would be encouraged to write about what interested them, she said.
The school had also created its own assessment tool - the Henley School Writing Matrix - to simplify the process of judging students' performances.
Room 12 pupil Mac Springer, 9, said he was happy being able to write about what interested him. "I want to write about rugby because I like it and I always play. I wrote about when we came second in the Stoke 7s tournament.
"I like writing about my cats, Willow and Jaydoy."
In Monday's Nelson Mail: A look at Nelson Central School, and a detailed wrap comparing the Nelson region with the rest of the country.
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