Primary schools will no longer have to report on National Standards to parents or the Ministry of Education from the new year.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins today said reporting would shift from the standards to reporting on children's progress. Reports would be written in "plain English", he said.

Principals Federation president Whetu Cormick said the move was "a watershed moment for our education system as we move away from the narrow focus over the past 10 years".

NZ Educational Institute president Lynda Stuart said it was "a day of celebration".


"National Standards narrowed the curriculum, put undue pressure on children, increased teacher workload and weren't even an accurate measure of a child's progress," she said.

"We never gave up the fight and our members can be rightly proud of their hard work and determination that has resulted in the new government putting an end to this horrible experiment.

"I also want to acknowledge and thank the many boards of trustees and parents who partnered with us in fighting against national standards."

Hipkins said reporting would focus on progress, rather than "arbitrary" standards.

"Parents will still receive reports at least twice a year on their child's progress and achievement in maths, reading and writing as well as across the curriculum areas," he said.

"But this reporting will focus on children's progress, rather than measuring them against arbitrary National Standards.

"The reports, written in plain English, will relate to where their child is at, at a given point, and the progress shift that has occurred, rather than being judged against others."

Hipkins said he would take the next nine months to develop a new system for reporting on children's progress.

"We will take the next few months to work with the sector, students, parents, whanau and iwi to develop a new approach for understanding progress across the curricula that will meet their needs, and contribute to the education system supporting the success of all students."

Cormick, who is being briefed on the changes by the Ministry of Education, said "narrow measurement systems" such as National Standards had failed overseas.

"Thankfully young people will no longer be under pressure to 'meet the standards' and can get on with their wider learning," he said.

"Parents and boards of trustees can feel confident they will continue to receive plain language reports around reading, writing and maths, but this will be widened to include information about the wider curriculum.

"The new minister has signalled he wants to work with whanau, students and the profession to frame up a new approach. We welcome this invitation to work with him."

School Trustees Association president Lorraine Kerr also welcomed the change: "After nine years of National Standards and some confusion about National Standards data and what that meant, boards of trustees should be able to feel confident that they will continue to receive plain language reports around reading, writing and maths."

Former National Party Education Minister Nikki Kaye also announced just before the election that National would "shift towards a system that measures student progress, alongside National Standards".