By John Gerritsen of RNZ
The principal of decile 1 Windley School has no doubt his 300 pupils are better off after three years of the Labour-New Zealand First government.
"The benefits that we've had as a primary school in Porirua East have been huge," Rhys McKinley said.
"For our children I think the benefits are great because of the variety of people, the variety of learning they can get because of the work that we've done as a collective in this area."
But that "collective" was not a product of the current government. It was a hangover from the previous National-led government - the Kāhui Ako or Communities of Learning that helped schools work together and which the current government kept on ice while it figured out what to do with it.
Even so, McKinley said the Government had done a lot for schools.
"There's been a lot of changes over the last three years with NZEI pay equity, some pay increases, there's been a lot of money put into primary schools with building.
"We got something like $97,000 of extra money so that went into refurbishment of one of our blocks."
He was also enthusiastic about the abolition of national standards in reading, writing and maths, increased funding for children with special needs and the donation scheme which was worth $42,000-a-year for Windley School.
"That donation scheme is really beneficial for our kids. It provides things like money for swimming, for camps, for trips that we would probably not get money for. It subsidises some of the things we would normally do and pay for out of the board funds like Life Education. So, really good for our kids and our community."
A big focus for the Government was its review of the Tomorrow's Schools system of managing and governing schools.
It shied away from some of the big reforms the review panel called for, and the president of the Principals' Federation, Perry Rush, said that was a shame.
"The final recommendations supported by government were fairly bland. I think it was a missed opportunity.
"They've supported recommendations that are bringing some change, but not substantive change."
Nonetheless, he said the Government had improved schools and the abolition of national standards was especially positive.
"That's been very powerful and was called for by the profession."
The president of the Secondary Principals' Association, Deidre Shea, said Tomorrow's Schools' review was significant thought its impact was yet to be felt.
She said she supported changes that reduced the cost of education and top of her list was the abolition of fees for students sitting NCEA exams.
"Simple thing, but goodness me how long has that taken that to happen? It should have happened donkey's years ago in my view because it's a clear equity issue, ridiculous amount of administration at every school and money that people have had to pay to sit a national qualification."
Shea said the abolition of fees for first-year tertiary students was also significant.
"I know that's controversial, but again in terms of something that's addressed equity for a number of young people in terms of money not being a barrier to 'my next step', I think that's really important."
She said the roll-out of devices to young people during the national lockdown, and the move to introduce free school lunches were also important.
Shea said there was widespread support for changing the relationship between schools and the Education Ministry and it remained to be seen if changes planned by the government would be an improvement.
She said the big issue facing the next government was the cost of providing a 21st century education.
"It's around ensuring that whatever we do we work towards having an equitable system where our schools can provide the very best education in the local area."
Early childhood education was also the subject of significant planning and consultation, but people in the sector told RNZ there had not been enough action.
The chief executive of Te Rito Maioha, which represented hundreds of early learning centres, Kathy Wolfe, said the Government had provided small increases to early childhood funding and developed an action plan for the sector.
But she said progress had been a lot slower than people had expected.
"We've definitely been disappointed at the slowness of the implementation of various projects to really rectify the last 12 years of no funding, of quality going backwards."
Wolfe said the Government had raised minimum pay rates for qualified teachers and her organisation's top priority was for a pay parity deal to ensure all early childhood teachers were paid the same as other teachers.
The owner of the Small Kauri Early Childhood Education Centre in Auckland, Linda Petrenko, said the Government had taken up a lot of people's time in the past three years with consultation on its 10-year plan for early learning, but the results of that were yet to be seen.
"In reality it's had very little impact at all."
"It hasn't changed the ratios that we have, it literally has not changed anything for us when we're working with children."
In fact, Petrenko said things had got worse, with less access to special education support for children, and greater competition for children from new centres.
Despite all that, Petrenko expected some improvements from government policies next year.
She said there had been a pattern of Labour governments building up early childhood, followed by National governments that scrapped those plans.