A National government would put an extra $47 million a year towards boosting literacy and numeracy in schools, National leader John Key says.
Mr Key yesterday spoke of a National "crusade on literacy and numeracy" and today fleshed out some of its details on the campaign trail in Gisborne where he visited local schools.
He said a National-led government would allocate $47 million of additional funding to schools a year, including $18m a year in targeted funding for pupils failing to meet national standards.
The money would come from the $1.75 billion annual allowance allocated in the Government's May budget for new spending in each of the next three years.
National's previously announced education policies for the crux of the "crusade".
* Setting national standards in literacy and numeracy which every every primary and intermediate school would have to be regularly assessed against;
* Getting tough on truancy by prosecuting parents of persistent truants and giving schools extra enforcement resources;
* Giving schools additional assistance for dealing with disruptive pupils;
* Improving special education services by increasing funding for students with the highest special education needs, expanding special education schools, and encouraging satellite special education schools.
Mr Key said schools would have the option of using the new targeted funding as they saw fit.
That might include working with other schools to hire a specialist teacher, paying for remedial classes at a specialist provider, expanding their reading recovery programme, or providing training to teachers in regard to specific learning difficulties.
Mr Key said about one in five students left school without NCEA Level 1, and many didn't achieve even basic reading, writing and maths skills.
"New Zealand's top students are among the best in the world, but the gap between the best and the worst is growing," he said.
"National believes that the first task of our education system should be to ensure that every child from every background can read, write, and do maths at a level that allows them to participate in a modern economy."