Nearly a third of the schools that said they had no confidence in National Standards have told the Ministry of Education they do in fact plan to implement the controversial scheme.

A group called Boards Taking Action Coalition said last week that the trustees from 225 schools around the country had issued a vote of no confidence in National Standards. As a result those schools would refuse to set student achievements targets for next year until the system was reviewed.

The next day the ministry starting contacting all of the protesting schools' boards of trustees to check the claim.

The Herald has learned 66 of the 225 coalition boards indicated their schools planned to implement the standards in full. A further 109 said they would take some form of action or were yet to decide if they would implement the standards in full. Fifty schools are yet to be contacted.

The ministry yesterday said it could not comment as it had not finished making all the calls.

The results paint a very different picture from the one presented by the coalition last week but spokesman Perry Rush, who is also principal of Island Bay School in Wellington, is standing by the group's figures.

He said he had signed documents from the boards of all of the 225 schools saying they would defer setting the required targets until their concerns were reviewed.

Since last week that figure had grown to more than 240 schools and he expected it to rise more once other boards held meetings this month.

Mr Rush said it was very hard to test the veracity of the information gathered by the ministry but he did know some board members were upset with the tone of the calls they received.

"Board chairs have inundated me with calls complaining at the tone of ministry questioning in recent telephone calls. Ministry officials seem to have been instructed to put the fear of God into board members."

Some board chairs said the ministry callers implied they would be sacked if the standards were not implemented in full.

Mr Rush said the coalition wanted Education Minister Anne Tolley to show positive and constructive leadership and work to resolve issues that had been raised about the standards.

Mrs Tolley was asked in Parliament this week if she would dismiss boards which did not implement the standards fully. She said that was never her intention but the law did allow her to replace boards in extreme circumstances.

- Additional reporting NZPA