In a recent story for NZ Herald, Ms. Parata talks about her experience with her own daughter, and an open-minded principal at Wellington High School.
“She discovered, as a bonus, that she didn’t have to start school until 10.35am. And she thought, ‘this is fantastic”.
“That principal at the time said, ‘teenagers just can’t get up’. It’s not that they are trying to bunk school – their hormones are at the stage where when you are 15 and 16, it’s just bloody hard to get up and get to school. And if you are forcing them to be there by 8.30 or 9am you lose a couple of hours while they zone back in.”
At the moment, schools must by law be open for learning for a minimum of fours hours per day, and if your school wants to be excepted, they’ll need to speak to Ms. Parata – at least until she steps down from her Ministerial position next month.
However, the current Minister seems like she’d be open to the idea, and thinks that it’s worth having another look at a few other long-standing assumptions we’ve been making about school, including what age kids should be starting school – the accepted age of 5 for new entrants is based on old school realities, that don’t necessarily apply anymore, she says.
“The starting age of 5 and 6-year-olds is because, originally, that was what was thought to be the age a kid could be independent of their parent and the parent could go to work.”
Those who sit around the Beehive all day thinking about how you spend your school hours are even examining the way you will sit tests and exams in future: there could well be a move to more online assessment, meaning you might be able to sit your exam not in a hushed classroom with a patrolling teacher, but wherever and whenever you like.