A majority of voters want information on schools' achievement in national standards to be released publicly for comparison, a Herald-DigiPoll survey shows.

But a sizeable minority oppose its release.

The poll coincides with the primary teachers' union, the New Zealand Educational Institute, advising schools to refuse requests under the Official Information Act to divulge achievement information.

Schools have sent national standards information to the Ministry of Education and it is due to be published for the first time in September.


League tables for secondary schools' NCEA results are commonly published but not for primary schools.

Almost 59 per cent of DigiPoll respondents approve of publishing of the material, either by the Ministry of Education or the media or both. But 36.4 per cent believe comparisons between schools are unfair.

The controversial national standards policy for reading, writing and maths was introduced by National last term to resistance from the NZEI.

It requires schools to report to parents in plain language on where their child stands in relation to national standards.

Prime Minister John Key last week signalled his support for league tables.

But NZEI president Ian Leckie confirmed last night he had written to schools advising them not to release the information to the news media under the Official Information Act.

"It is unreliable information, it potentially disadvantages the education system."

Any country that used league tables had gone backwards, he said.

He likened ranking schools by league tables to ranking the value of food by calories.

Mr Leckie said the issue of league tables was not yet on the agenda of the forum called by Education Minister Hekia Parata in the wake of the class sizes debacle.

Meanwhile, Budget documents released yesterday under the Official Information Act confirmed the Cabinet decided to cut class sizes without knowing - or asking about - the impact on individual schools.

The poll of 750 people was conducted between June 18 and 28 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 per cent.