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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge and thank all the young people, parents and whānau, school leaders and teachers, and others who shared their experiences, views and insights through interviews, groups discussions and surveys. We thank you for giving your time so that others may benefit from your stories about what has and hasn’t worked. We thank you openly and whole-heartedly.

We give generous thanks to the 11 schools that accommodated out research team on visits, organising time in their school day for us to talk to students, teachers, and leaders. We know your time is precious.

We give special thanks to the kaumatua who talked to us about the relationship his hapū has formed with one of these school, and how this had led to a collaboration helping the school implement the new ANZ Histories content.

We thank the Ministry of Education who have been our partners for this evaluation. We have received a huge amount of support from Ministry staff who have guided us on the refresh of the NZ Curriculum and provided practical support to undertake the evaluation.

We also thank the many experts who have shared their understandings of Aotearoa New Zealand’s Histories and the Social Sciences with us, as well as other important subject matter. We particularly acknowledge the members of our ‘Expert Advisory Group’ who shared their knowledge and wisdom to help guide our evaluation and make sense of the emerging findings.

Executive summary

In 2023, teaching Aotearoa New Zealand’s Histories (ANZ Histories) became compulsory for students in Years 1-10. ANZ Histories is part of the refreshed Social Sciences learning area. The Education Review Office, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, wanted to know how the implementation of ANZ Histories and the wider Social Sciences is going.

This report describes what we found about the changes and the impacts for students, teachers, and parents and whānau. It also describes the lessons that can help inform the ongoing implementation of the Refreshed Curriculum.

What is Social Sciences and why is it important?

Social Sciences, sometimes referred to as Social Studies in primary schools, is the study of how societies work, both now, in the past and in the future. Social Sciences include subject areas like history, geography, economics, psychology, sociology, and media studies that students can specialise in, typically at senior secondary school. Students learn about:

  • how societies work
  • the past, present, and future
  • people, places, cultures, histories, and the economic world within and beyond Aotearoa New Zealand.

In doing so, the Social Sciences helps students develop knowledge and skills to understand, participate in and contribute to local, national, and global communities.

What is Aotearoa New Zealand’s Histories?

Learning about ANZ Histories builds understanding about how Māori and all people who have, or now, call Aotearoa New Zealand home, have shaped Aotearoa New Zealand’s past. Understanding the past helps students critically evaluate what is happening now, and what may happen in the future.

ANZ Histories content is intended to teach students to ‘understand’ big ideas about ANZ Histories, to ‘know’ the historical context, and to be able to ‘do’ practices such as thinking, evaluating, and communicating historical information.

What has changed in Social Sciences, including Aotearoa New Zealand’s Histories?

Te Ao Tangata | the refreshed Social Sciences (Social Sciences) is the first learning area to be made available to schools as part of Te Mātaiaho | the Refreshed New Zealand Curriculum (the Refreshed Curriculum). Only ANZ Histories, which is a part of the refreshed Social Sciences, became compulsory for students in Years 1-10 from the beginning of 2023. Teaching the wider refreshed Social Sciences is not required until 2027.

As part of the Refreshed Curriculum, the Understand, Know, Do framework has been introduced to be clearer about the ‘learning that matters’ and to specify that learning needs to cover subject knowledge, as well as competencies and skills. Additionally, progress outcomes have replaced the previous achievement objectives.

What we looked at

ERO’s evaluation focused on the implementation of ANZ Histories within the refreshed Social Sciences learning area. We set out to answer the following questions:

  1. What is being taught for ANZ Histories?
  2. What has been the impact of ANZ Histories on students, teachers, and communities?
  3. What has been working well and less well in making the changes to include ANZ Histories?
  4. What is being taught for the refreshed Social Sciences learning area more broadly, and what impact is it having?
  5. What are the lessons for ANZ Histories and for implementing other curriculum areas?

Where we looked

We have taken a robust, mixed-methods approach to deliver breadth and depth, including:

  • site visits at 11 schools
  • surveys of 447 school leaders and teachers
  • surveys of 918 students
  • surveys of 1,016 parents and whānau
  • in-depth interviews with school leaders, teachers, students, parents and whānau, experts in curriculum and/or relevant subject matter, and one kaumatua of a hapū.

We collected our data in late Term 3 and early Term 4 of 2023.

Key Findings

ERO identified key findings across four areas:

  1. what is being taught
  2. impact on students
  3. impact for teachers
  4. impact on parents and whānau.

Our findings focus on ANZ Histories because this is required to be taught and is where most of the change is happening. We found limited change for the wider refreshed Social Sciences.

Area 1: What is being taught?

It has been compulsory for less than a year and not all year levels are yet being taught ANZ Histories, and not all of the content is being taught. Schools are prioritising local and Māori histories and teaching ANZ Histories over Social Sciences.

Finding 1: ANZ Histories became compulsory at the start of 2023. Three-quarters of schools are teaching it at all year levels. Primary schools are more likely to be teaching it. Schools are prioritising implementing ANZ Histories, to avoid overwhelming teachers, and this is crowding out other areas of Social Sciences.

Finding 2: Of the four ‘Understands’ (big ideas), schools are prioritising teaching Māori history (64 percent teaching this) and colonisation (61 percent) more than relationships across boundaries and people (53 percent), and the use of power (41 percent). In terms of the ‘Know’ (contexts), schools have had a much stronger focus on teaching about culture and identity (77 percent), and place and environment (71 percent) than about government and organisation (45 percent) and economic activity (30 percent).

Finding 3: The curriculum statements are being interpreted by schools so that they are focusing on local histories rather than national events, and local is sometimes interpreted as only Māori histories. Schools are also teaching less about global contexts.

Finding 4: Teachers need to weave Understand, Know, and Do together but are not yet able to do that and are mainly focusing on the Know. Both primary and secondary schools told us that the Do inquiry practices are not yet a focus in their teaching of ANZ Histories. This matters because the inquiry practices help students to be critical thinkers.

Area 2: Impact on students

Half of students enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. Students enjoy ANZ Histories more when it includes global contexts and when they are learning about people similar to them. The focus on Māori and Pacific history means Māori and Pacific students are enjoying ANZ Histories more than NZ European, Asian, and MELAA students.

Finding 5: Teaching ANZ Histories has been compulsory for less than a year. At this stage, just over half of students enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. Two-thirds of teachers have seen positive impacts on student participation.

Finding 6: It’s important to retain a link to global contexts and events. Students are more than twice as likely to enjoy ANZ Histories when they are learning about New Zealand’s place in the world.

Finding 7: Students are twice as likely to enjoy ANZ Histories when their learning is connecting them to their whānau and community, and when they are learning about people similar to them. Half of Māori and Pacific students (51 percent) report learning about people similar to them in ANZ Histories, but only two-fifths of Asian (43 percent) and NZ European (39 percent) students, and only a quarter (23 percent) of MELAA students do.

Finding 8: Enjoyment of learning ANZ Histories is not the same for all ethnicities. While almost two-thirds of Pacific students enjoy ANZ Histories (63 percent) and the majority of Māori students are also enjoying it (61 percent), fewer Asian students (55 percent), only half of NZ European students (50 percent), and less than half of MELAA students (42 percent) enjoy it.

Finding 9: It is too early to measure the progress students are making in their learning in ANZ Histories. But nearly two in five students either aren’t sure or don’t think they are making progress in ANZ Histories. Some teachers are unclear on how to track progress.

Finding 10: Similar to ANZ Histories, more than half of students enjoy learning (56 percent) and like to participate (57 percent) in learning about Social Sciences. Asian and NZ European students are enjoying Social Sciences the most, and MELAA and Māori students the least, which is different to ANZ Histories.

Area 3: Impact on school leaders and teachers

Teachers like teaching ANZ Histories, but some are overwhelmed by the scale of change and they don’t have the skills or time needed to develop a local curriculum.

Finding 11: Three-quarters (75 percent) of leaders and teachers are confident in their understanding of the ANZ Histories content and nine in 10 teachers enjoy teaching it. We heard this is because teachers could make the learning more meaningful and relevant to their students.

Finding 12: However, some teachers are overwhelmed by the scale of changes. Teachers describe the challenge, firstly, of growing their local histories knowledge, and then sharing that knowledge with their students. Half of schools had limited or no engagement with local hapū or iwi on the curriculum. And some teachers do not feel safe teaching histories outside their culture, especially non-Māori teachers teaching Māori history.

Finding 13: In introducing ANZ Histories, the support teachers have found most helpful are teacher only days, in-person support from Ministry of Education's regionally based Curriculum Leads, and collaboration with other schools.

Finding 14: Schools find developing a local curriculum challenging. They don’t understand what is required, they don’t have the skills to develop a curriculum, and it takes a lot of time to access resources.

Finding 15: Leaders and teachers are less confident in their understanding of the refreshed Social Sciences compared to ANZ Histories. So far just six in 10 (61 percent) are confident or very confident. Only six in 10 leaders and teachers say they have been supported by the school leadership team to implement the changes for Social Sciences, compared to seven in 10 for ANZ Histories.

Area 4: Impact on parents and whānau

Parents and whānau want their children to learn ANZ Histories. They want more global context included and say how ANZ Histories is taught is as important as what is taught.

Finding 16: Many parents and whānau are unaware of the changes to the curriculum, and most have not been told about, nor involved in, the changes to ANZ Histories or the Social Sciences by their child’s school.

Finding 17: Two-thirds (66 percent) of parents and whānau think ANZ Histories is useful for their child’s future. Most parents and whānau we spoke to are pleased that ANZ Histories is being implemented in schools, expressing that learning about ANZ Histories fits their expectations for what school should offer.

Finding 18: Only three in five (62 percent) parents and whānau think their child sees themselves represented in their learning for ANZ Histories. Some want the learning to include more national events and global histories, as their children are interested in global events and New Zealand should not be seen in a vacuum.

Finding 19: Parents and whānau think ‘how’ curriculum content is delivered is as, or more important, than the material itself. They say that histories can be contentious and need to be taught sensitively to avoid disengaging students.

Finding 20: Similar to ANZ Histories, just over two-thirds (68 percent) of parents and whānau think the Social Sciences is useful for their child’s future, and three in five (61 percent) think their child sees themselves represented in their learning. Different to ANZ Histories, Asian and MELAA parents and whānau are most likely to say their child can see themselves in their learning for the Social Sciences. NZ European parents and whānau are the least likely to say their child can see themselves represented for both ANZ Histories and the Social Sciences.

Lessons learnt

Based on ERO’s key findings, seven lessons have been identified for ensuring balanced ANZ Histories curriculum content, and for supporting the successful implementation of curriculum changes in other learning areas:

Lesson 1: Keep making ANZ Histories engaging, by teaching about people, places, and events that students can relate to and history relevant to them and their communities.

Students are enjoying ANZ Histories. It has engaged a wide range of students, in particular Māori students. Teachers report positive impacts on student participation, and students (from all backgrounds) report learning in ANZ Histories helps them connect to ‘being a New Zealander’. Students, especially Māori and Pacific students, enjoy learning ANZ Histories, and teachers and parents and whānau see students are engaged in their learning. It is important that this engagement and enjoyment is not lost, as implementation continues.

Lesson 2: Provide clearer expectations about what needs to be covered to make sure all areas of ANZ Histories are taught, including the national and global context.

Teachers are often interpreting ANZ Histories as the history of their immediate area, and Māori history.  This has led to a lack of focus on the history of Aotearoa New Zealand more broadly, and the histories of all people who call it home. Teachers would benefit from guidance around how much attention to give:

  • Knowledge of history and the Social Science skills involved
  • Māori history
  • The histories of other people who call/have called New Zealand home
  • The history of their immediate area
  • The history of Aotearoa New Zealand more broadly
  • Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world
  • Global relationships and connections.

Lesson 3: Have a more explicit curriculum and provide more ‘can be used off the shelf’ content and exemplars.

Schools are struggling to develop their ANZ Histories content because their teachers are not experts in curriculum design. Developing a school curriculum is a big ask of schools and they would benefit from more explicit guidance around curriculum design, or a more prescriptive curriculum. Local hapū and iwi can support development of content but cannot alone support the framing of events from multiple perspectives.

Lesson 4: Be realistic about the capacity of both schools and hapū and iwi to engage on changes to the curriculum.

Schools are expected to engage with local hapū and iwi to develop their ANZ Histories curriculum content, but this often isn’t happening. Half of schools have limited or no engagement with local hapū and iwi on Social Sciences, including ANZ Histories. Some schools are facing challenges due to lack of capacity and capability to engage with hapū and iwi. We also heard from schools that hapū or iwi don’t have the capacity to work with all the schools in their area (rohe). Schools would benefit from ‘off the shelf’ teaching and learning resources about Māori histories to fill the gap, until schools are able to develop those relationships. Hapū and iwi would benefit from resourcing or support so they can provide schools with the help they need.

Lesson 5: Provide further guidance and tools for assessing student progress.

While teachers appreciate the clarity of the Phases of Learning (learning progressions), they are unsure how to measure and track how well students are learning and progressing in ANZ Histories, or Social Sciences more broadly. Teachers would benefit from greater guidance on measuring and tracking progress, as well as easy-to-use assessment tools that align with the Phases of Learning and the skills students are expected to develop.

Lesson 6: Keep providing supports and resources (including Curriculum Leads who work with schools), but make sure they are available to schools for the start of implementation and are well signposted.

The most useful and impactful supports for the implementation of ANZ Histories have been teacher only days, in-person support from Curriculum Leads, and collaboration with other schools that are part of a cluster, such as Kāhui Ako. It is important that these supports are in place – and accessible to all schools – for the roll out of new curriculum areas. The Ministry’s resources have also provided critical support for implementation, but teachers often don’t know when new supports are available or where to find them. Schools stand a better chance of accessing the curriculum resources they need if they are made available for the start of implementation, and are accessible from a single website that is well-publicized.

Lesson 7: Better, more targeted support, tailored for schools at the different stages of implementation.

We found that schools are at different stages of implementation. Each stage of implementation has different support needs. Therefore, schools would benefit from targeted support to help them towards fully embedding changes.

Conclusion

ERO found that ANZ Histories is being taught in all schools but, so far, not all year levels. Schools are prioritising local and Māori histories and teaching less about national and global contexts. Schools also have a stronger focus on teaching about culture and identity, and place and environment, than about government and organisation and economic activity and are prioritising ANZ Histories over the wider Social Sciences.

About half of students enjoy ANZ Histories. Student engagement is improved when students can see themselves in their learning, and are learning about people like them. Teachers like ANZ Histories and are mostly positive about making the changes, but are overwhelmed by the scale of change required. Half of parents and whānau are unaware of the changes to the curriculum, and even fewer have been involved. They are pleased that ANZ Histories is being implemented but want it to be taught sensitively.

Schools can be better supported by making the national curriculum more explicit and providing more ‘can be used off the shelf’ content. They also need supports and resources to be easily accessible, including clearer guidance and tools for assessing student progress.

About this report

In 2023, Aotearoa New Zealand began a refresh of the national curriculum starting with Aotearoa New Zealand’s Histories (ANZ Histories), which must be taught to all students in Years 1 – 10. ANZ Histories is part of the refreshed Social Sciences learning area, although teaching the other refreshed parts is not required until 2027.

The Education Review Office, in partnership with the Ministry of Education (the Ministry), wanted to know how the implementation is going. This report describes what we found about the changes to teaching and the impacts for students, teachers, and communities. It also describes the lessons that can inform and support the ongoing implementation of the Refreshed Curriculum.

What is Social Sciences and why is it important?

Social Sciences, sometimes referred to as Social Studies in primary schools, is the study of how societies work, both now, in the past and in the future.

Included in the Social Sciences learning area are subject areas like history, geography, economics, psychology, sociology, and media studies that students can specialise in, typically at senior secondary school. Students learn about:

  • how societies work
  • the past, present, and future
  • people, places, cultures, histories, and the economic world within and beyond Aotearoa New Zealand.

Social Sciences helps students develop the knowledge and skills to understand, participate in and contribute to local, national, and global communities.

It is important that students learn about how to think through social issues, how to evaluate information, and how to come to a view on the social, economic, political, and environmental issues that will shape their future. Students who have these skills can fully participate in society. They also set themselves up for a multitude of careers including working as economists, policymakers, planners, social workers, psychologists, and politicians.

What is ANZ Histories?

Understanding Aotearoa New Zealand’s past helps students critically evaluate what is happening now, and what may happen in the future.

The ANZ Histories content is intended to build understanding about how Māori and all people who have, or now, call Aotearoa New Zealand home, and have shaped Aotearoa New Zealand’s past. Students learn to ‘understand’ big ideas about ANZ Histories, to ‘know’ the contexts, and to be able to ‘do’ practices such as thinking, evaluating, and communicating historical information. Figure 2 describes the key elements of ANZ Histories using the Understand, Know, Do framework.

Understand, Know, Do for Aotearoa New Zealand’s Histories (ANZ Histories)

Understand – the big ideas

1.     Māori history is the foundational and continuous history of Aotearoa New Zealand

2.     Colonisation and settlement have been central to Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories for the past 200 years

3.     The course of Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories has been shaped by the use of power

4.     Relationships and connections between people and across boundaries have shaped the course of Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories

Know – the contexts

1.     Culture and identity

2.     Government and organisation

3.     Place and environment

4.     Economic activity

Do – inquiry practices

1.     Identifying and exploring historical relationships

2.     Identifying sources and perspectives

3.     Interpreting past experiences, decisions, and actions

What has changed in Social Sciences, including ANZ Histories?

There used to be a lot of flexibility about what exactly was taught, and how.

The 2007 NZ Curriculum allowed for the teaching of Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories as part of the Social Sciences learning area, but it was not explicit that New Zealand’s histories had to be taught. This changed with the addition of ANZ Histories content followed by the refreshed Social Sciences learning area in Te Mātaiaho | the Refreshed New Zealand Curriculum (the Refreshed Curriculum).

The addition of ANZ Histories content has given more specificity about what should be taught about local and national histories as part of the Social Sciences learning area.

Te Ao Tangata | the refreshed Social Sciences learning area (Social Sciences), including ANZ Histories, is part of a broader refresh of the national curriculum. The Refreshed Curriculum aims to be:

  • inclusive
  • clear about the learning that matters
  • easy to use
  • give practical effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi | the Treaty of Waitangi.(1)

The Refreshed Curriculum aims to address concerns, across all learning areas, that the 2007 NZ Curriculum:

  • prioritised competencies and skills too much over subject knowledge – a lack of subject knowledge in the curriculum is also associated with poorer student achievement according to international evidence (2) and research in Aotearoa New Zealand(3)
  • lacked sufficient detail, which meant students were frequently missing out on learning

that is important to them and their communities, leading to persistent inequalities in student achievement.(4)

The Understand, Know, Do framework, introduced as part of the Refreshed Curriculum, provides clearer guidance on the ‘learning that matters’ by specifying what students are expected to Understand (the big ideas), Know (the contexts), and Do (the inquiry practices). (5) The framework also specifies the need to cover subject knowledge as well as competencies and skills.

There are changes to how schools assess student progress and achievement.

The refreshed Social Sciences breaks expected learning up into five phases of learning, compared to the eight curriculum levels described in the 2007 NZ Curriculum. Teachers can access guidance and resources related to each of these phases.

Progress outcomes have replaced the previous achievement objectives. The progress outcomes specify what students should know and be able to do by the end of each phase of learning.

Schools are expected to use the Refreshed Curriculum to develop their own school curriculum.

While there is more specificity in the Refreshed Curriculum, schools are still expected to localise it.  The Refreshed Curriculum identifies the learning that mattersuse this to design their school curriculum and develop content that can be taught to students in their classrooms. Each school curriculum will be unique. This flexibility is intended to enable schools to:

  • be responsive to the needs, identity, language, culture, interests, strengths, and aspirations of their learners and their families
  • have a clear focus on what supports the progress of all learners
  • integrate Te Tiriti o Waitangi into classroom learning
  • help learners engage with the knowledge, values, and competencies, so they can go on and be confident and connected lifelong learners.(6)

To develop their school curriculum for ANZ Histories, schools are encouraged to work with local whānau, hapū, and iwi.

Schools are expected to be working with their local communities, including hapū and iwi. For the implementation of ANZ Histories, schools are specifically guided to build productive and enduring partnerships with local whānau, hapū, and iwi, to understand and plan for the changes to their school curriculum content for ANZ Histories, especially for the ‘big idea’ - ‘Māori history is the foundational and continuous history of Aotearoa New Zealand.’(7)

The Ministry has provided a range of resources, supports, and professional learning opportunities to help schools localise and teach the ANZ Histories content.

Key supports include teaching resources available online(8) and regionally allocated professional learning and development about ANZ Histories. Schools can also ask for support from the Ministry’s Curriculum Leads, who can provide support to understand the national curriculum and to design quality and inclusive learning experiences for students.

What we looked at

ERO is working in partnership with the Ministry of Education (the Ministry) to evaluate the implementation of the Refreshed Curriculum. This is phase one of a multi-year evaluation that will provide real-time insights to inform and adjust the curriculum refresh as it is happening. The lessons can be used to inform implementation of the future curriculum changes.

We started with the evaluation of the Social Sciences learning area, including ANZ Histories, because this is the first learning area to be refreshed. We set out to answer the following questions.

  1. What is being taught for ANZ Histories?
  2. What has been the impact of ANZ Histories on students, teachers, and communities?
  3. What has been working well and less well in making the changes to include ANZ Histories?
  4. What is being taught for the refreshed Social Sciences learning area more broadly, and what impact is it having?
  5. What are the lessons for ANZ Histories and for implementing other curriculum areas?

This report focuses mainly on ANZ Histories because this is the only part of the refreshed Social Sciences learning area that is compulsory so far and is where most of the change is happening.

Where we looked

We engaged with curriculum leaders and teachers in primary and secondary schools who have responsibility for delivering Social Sciences content. In some schools, the curriculum leaders are principals or deputy principals. Throughout the report, we simply refer to ‘leaders.’

We focused on students in Years 4-10, and parents and whānau of students in Years 1-10.

We also spoke with a range of experts, including experts in curriculum design and people with other relevant subject matter expertise. We also spoke to a kaumatua of a hapū about their work with a local school to develop and implement ANZ Histories.

We have taken a robust, mixed-methods approach to deliver breadth and depth, including:

  • site visits at 11 schools
  • surveys of 447 school leaders and teachers
  • surveys of 918 students
  • surveys of 1016 parents and whānau
  • interviews with 37 school leaders and 52 teachers
  • interviews with 96 students
  • interviews with 22 parents and whānau
  • interviews with six experts in curriculum and/or relevant subject matter
  • interview with one hapū representative.

We collected the data in late Term 3 and early Term 4 of 2023, when schools were meant to have been teaching ANZ histories to all students in Years 1 to 10 for at least two terms.

More details about our methodology are in Appendix 1.

Report structure

This report is divided into seven parts.

Part 1 describes what is happening in schools following the requirement to teach ANZ Histories and the availability of the Refreshed Curriculum content for the wider Social Sciences.

Part 2 looks at the impact for students so far, of learning ANZ Histories, focusing on how engaged and included they are and what progress they are making.

Part 3 looks at the impact for school leaders and teachers, focusing on their understanding of the ANZ Histories content, their confidence to teach it, their enjoyment of teaching it, and their capacity to implement the changes required.

Part 4 looks at the impact for parents and whānau, focusing on what they know about the curriculum changes, whether they are involved with the changes through their child’s school, what they think is important about ANZ Histories, and what impacts they are seeing so far.

Part 5 looks at the impact of the wider refreshed Social Sciences learning area, as far as is possible at this stage of the implementation.

Part 6 looks at what has worked and hasn’t worked in the implementation, so far, of ANZ Histories and the wider refreshed Social Sciences, with a focus on teacher capability and confidence, resources and supports, partnerships, and ways of working.

Part 7 sets out our key findings and lessons for the ongoing implementation of ANZ Histories, the wider refreshed Social Sciences, and other learning areas being updated as part of the curriculum refresh.

Part 1: What is happening?

ANZ Histories is being taught in all schools but not yet all year levels, and the extent to which it is being taught varies. Primary schools are more likely to be teaching it. We found that schools are prioritising local and Māori histories and teaching less about national and global contexts. Schools also have a stronger focus on teaching about culture and identity, and place and environment, than economic activity and government and organisations. Schools are prioritising teaching ANZ Histories over the wider Social Sciences.

What we looked at

We wanted to know about the changes taking place in schools and classrooms for the refresh of the Social Sciences learning area, including ANZ Histories. For this, we asked school leaders and teachers:

  • if they are teaching ANZ Histories and to which year levels
  • what is being taught for ANZ Histories
  • what is happening for the broader Social Sciences learning area.

How we gathered this information

The findings in this section are based on:

  • surveys of school leaders and teachers
  • interviews with school leaders and teachers
  • interviews with experts in curriculum design and/or relevant subject matter.

We collected our data in late Term 3 and early Term 4 of 2023.

What we found: An overview

ANZ Histories became compulsory at the start of 2023. ANZ Histories content is being taught in all schools, and three-quarters are teaching it at all year levels. Nine in 10 (90 percent) schools expect to have implemented ANZ Histories across all year levels by the end of 2024. Primary schools are more likely to be teaching it, but secondary schools are teaching it to a greater extent.

Teachers need to weave the Understand, Know, Do together but so far are mainly focusing on the Know. This is in part because teachers see the Know element as the biggest shift in the Refreshed Curriculum. Part of unpacking and developing teachers’ understanding of the Know is developing a shared understanding of local histories for the school.

Both primary and secondary schools told us that the Do inquiry practices are not yet a focus in their teaching of ANZ Histories. This matters because the inquiry practices help students to be critical thinkers.

Schools are focusing on some of the big ideas and contexts more than others. Schools are prioritising the big ideas related to Māori history and colonisation more than relationships across boundaries, and the use of power. For the Know contexts, schools are prioritising cultural and identity, and place and environment, over government and organisation, and economic activity.

The curriculum statements are being interpreted by schools so that they are focusing on local histories rather than national events, and local is sometimes interpreted as only Māori histories. This may be a matter of sequencing, as schools are engaging with local hapū or iwi as a starting point for implementation.

Schools are teaching less about global histories and contexts. Some schools are choosing to only look at New Zealand’s role in global histories, without exploring those histories more widely. This can limit students’ understanding of global histories and undermine enjoyment, as students like to learn about other places and cultures.     

Schools are prioritising the implementation of ANZ Histories over the wider Social Sciences curriculum content. This is crowding out other areas of the Social Sciences, which is concerning for teachers who think students are missing out on a balanced curriculum. 

In the following section we set out these findings in more detail on:

  1. How much ANZ Histories is being taught
  2. What is being taught for ANZ Histories
  3. What is happening for the broader Social Sciences.

a) How much ANZ Histories is being taught?

Although it was compulsory for all schools to be teaching ANZ Histories to all students (up to Year 10) from the start of 2023, not all schools are yet teaching it across all year levels.

Only six in 10 (60 percent) schools plan to have implemented ANZ Histories across all school years by the end of 2023. This increases to nine in 10 (90 percent) by the end of 2024. Schools were still in the process of implementing their ANZ Histories curriculum content when ERO collected data (late Term 3 and early Term 4 of 2023). At this time, all schools were teaching some ANZ Histories curriculum content, and to most years, but only three-quarters (77 percent) of schools were teaching it at all year levels (up to Year 10).

Primary schools have been faster than secondary schools to adopt ANZ Histories.

Four in five (81 percent) primary schools are teaching at least some ANZ Histories at all year levels and almost three-quarters (74 percent) of secondary schools are teaching some ANZ Histories to Years 9 and 10.

More primary schools were planning to have implemented ANZ Histories to all year levels (up to Year 10) by the end of 2023 than secondary schools (71 percent and 39 percent respectively). Concerningly, nearly one in 10 (9 percent) secondary school leaders were unsure when ANZ Histories would be fully implemented.

Figure 3: Schools’ implementation plan for ANZ Histories across all year levels (up to Year 10)

Figure 3 is a graph showing when schools plan to have implemented ANZ Histories across all year levels. 71% of primary schools and 39% of secondary schools plan to have ANZ Histories implemented by the end of 2023.  25% of primary schools and 39% of secondary schools plan to have ANZ Histories implemented by the end of 2024.  2% of primary schools and 9% of secondary schools plan to have ANZ Histories implemented by the end of 2025.  0% of primary schools and 4% of secondary schools plan to have ANZ Histories implemented by the end of 2026.  3% of primary schools and 9% of secondary schools were not sure when ANZ Histories would be implemented by.

Secondary schools are teaching ANZ Histories to a greater extent than primary schools.

Around five in 10 (47 percent) of secondary leaders reported that ANZ Histories was being taught ‘to a great extent’ in Year 9 and around four in 10 (39 percent) reported it was being taught ‘to a great extent’ in Year 10.

Only around one in eight primary leaders reported that ANZ Histories was being taught ‘to a great extent’ in Years 1 and 2 (12 percent and 13 percent respectively), and around one in five in Years 3 to 6 (19 percent, 23 percent, 22 percent, and 21 percent respectively). This increased to about one in three leaders who were teaching ANZ Histories ’to a great extent’ in Years 7 and 8 (30 percent and 29 percent respectively).

Figure 4: Extent to which ANZ Histories has been taught, by year levels

Figure 4 is a graph showing the extent to which ANZ Histories is being taught in different year levels.  For year 1, 12% of schools are teaching ANZ Histories to a great extent and 50% are teaching it to a moderate extent.  For year 2, 13% of schools are teaching ANZ Histories to a great extent and 52% are teaching it to a moderate extent.  For year 3, 19% of schools are teaching ANZ Histories to a great extent and 53% are teaching it to a moderate extent.  For year 4, 23% of schools are teaching ANZ Histories to a great extent and 56% are teaching it to a moderate extent.  For year 5, 22% of schools are teaching ANZ Histories to a great extent and 59% are teaching it to a moderate extent.  For year 6, 21% of schools are teaching ANZ Histories to a great extent and 60% are teaching it to a moderate extent.  For year 7, 30% of schools are teaching ANZ Histories to a great extent and 49% are teaching it to a moderate extent.  For year 8, 29% of schools are teaching ANZ Histories to a great extent and 51% are teaching it to a moderate extent.  For year 9, 47% of schools are teaching ANZ Histories to a great extent and 33% are teaching it to a moderate extent.  For year 10, 39% of schools are teaching ANZ Histories to a great extent and 40% are teaching it to a moderate extent.

b) What is being taught for ANZ Histories?

Overall framework

What schools need to teach is set out in the Understand, Know, Do framework.

We heard that teachers and leaders like the specificity of the Understand, Know, Do framework, but would like more guidance on how to use this across different year levels. It was also familiar to some teachers and leaders. They identified links with other frameworks (9) they are already using, which gave them greater confidence to use it.

However, we heard that the framework was still very broad. Some teachers liked this broadness because it gave them ‘room to move’. Other teachers said the broadness created ‘vagueness’ – they could tag some content to whatever they wanted. Teachers, specifically, wanted more detail on how to plan for teaching the Understand, Know, Do across year levels. The progressions are meant to help with this, but teachers told us that planning is not a simple process.

The ‘Understand, Know, Do’ kaupapa is not intuitive/easy to grasp.  [It] is a shift in approach which (in my opinion) is not that well explained or illustrated in the resources provided, and is therefore the main barrier to firstly, implementing ANZ Histories and secondly, knowing whether we are implementing ANZ Histories in the desired manner. Given that U,K,D is going to be part of the Refreshed Curriculum as a whole, clearer PD (professional development) on this would be very welcome”. (School leader)

Figure 5: Elements of the ANZ Histories framework

Understand, Know, Do for Aotearoa New Zealand’s Histories (ANZ Histories)

Understand – the big ideas

1. Māori history is the foundational and continuous history of Aotearoa New Zealand

2. Colonisation and settlement have been central to Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories for the past 200 years

3. The course of Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories has been shaped by the use of power

4. Relationships and connections between people and across boundaries have shaped the course of Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories

Know – the contexts

1. Culture and identity

2. Government and organisation

3. Place and environment

4. Economic activity

Do – inquiry practices

1. Identifying and exploring historical relationships

2. Identifying sources and perspectives

3. Interpreting past experiences, decisions, and actions

Schools need to weave the Understand, Know, Do together, but so far they are mostly focused on the Know part of the framework.

Teachers are expected to design learning experiences that weave the Understand, Know, Do, together so that student learning is deep and meaningful. The Understand, Know, Do, elements are not supposed to be separate or in sequence.(10) However, leaders and teachers told us they are focusing their attention on unpacking and understanding the Know statements over other parts of the framework, at least for now, because the Know is less familiar to them. They told us it was the biggest shift in the Refreshed Curriculum. We heard that teachers and leaders were also starting with the Know because they had been advised to do so by the Ministry Curriculum Leads.

“[We’re] sort of thinking that it's not such a big shift from what we do anyway, but the Know part is. The Know part is going to require a bit more strategy. … That's where we need to probably do the most work in making sure that we have a good scope and sequence.” (School leader)

A big part of unpacking and understanding the Know is developing a shared understanding of local histories for the school.

Understand – the big ideas

The ‘Understand’ part of the framework describes the deep and enduring big ideas, including ideas relevant to mātauranga Māori, that students are expected to learn across their schooling.(11) The four big ideas for ANZ Histories are listed below.

  1. Māori history is the foundational and continuous history of Aotearoa New Zealand.
  2. Colonisation and settlement have been central to Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories for the past 200 years.
  3. The course of Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories has been shaped by the use of power.
  4. Relationships and connections between people and across boundaries have shaped the course of Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories.

Schools are mostly focusing on the big ideas of Māori history, and colonisation.

At this stage in the implementation, four in five (81 percent) teachers have included at least two of the big ideas in their teaching for ANZ Histories, but less than a third (29 percent) have included all four (at the time of ERO’s data collection in late Term 3 and early Term 4 of 2023).

Only half of teachers (53 percent) have included the big idea ‘relationships and connections between people and across boundaries have shaped the course of Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories’ in their teaching so far. This is the big idea that best supports the understanding of Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world.

Almost two in three teachers have included the big ideas ‘Māori history is the foundational and continuous history of Aotearoa New Zealand’ (64 percent) and ‘colonisation and settlement have been central to Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories for the past 200 years’ (61 percent) in their teaching. Two in five (41 percent) have included the big idea ‘the course of Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories has been shaped by the use of power’.

Figure 6: Big ideas that teachers have included in their teaching for ANZ Histories (so far)

Figure 6 shows the four big ideas that teachers have included in their teaching for ANZ Histories so far.  Māori history is the foundational and continuous history of ANZ has been taught by 64% of teachers.  Colonisation and settlement have been central to ANZ Histories for the past 200 years has been taught by 61% of teachers.  The course of ANZ Histories has been shaped by the use of power has been taught by 41% of teachers.  Relationships and connections between people and across boundaries have shaped the course of ANZ Histories has been taught by 53% of teachers.

Not all teachers understand the big ideas in the ANZ Histories curriculum content.

Primary school leaders and teachers say that that the language of the big ideas was already common in their teaching before the Refreshed Curriculum. However, they are not always clear on how the big ideas from ANZ Histories align to what they were doing before.

Additionally, leaders and teachers identified some big ideas they are teaching, that are not big ideas in the ANZ Histories content (for example, Te Tiriti o Waitangi | Treaty of Waitangi and the significance of place names).

Secondary leaders told us they are unsure how to thread the big ideas across their teaching where lessons are usually planned in isolated blocks. So, although teachers are back-mapping to what they were already teaching to help with implementation, they will still have to work out how to weave in the big ideas across all relevant content for ANZ Histories.

Teachers are concerned with ‘how’ to teach the big ideas.

Teachers are aware that some histories are particularly sensitive to teach and can be divisive if not taught well. For example, topics or histories that illustrate the big idea ‘The course of Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories has been shaped by the use of power’. This helps explain why teachers can feel uncomfortable teaching outside of their own culture.

Teachers are especially worried about getting Māori histories wrong and about the risk of ‘cultural appropriation’. This is why many schools are engaging with local hapū and iwi as a starting point for implementation of ANZ Histories. This collaboration with local hapū and iwi can also give them access to teaching support and helpful resources for sensitive topics.

We had a teacher only day led by [the local iwi], and we did a hīkoi going to all the historical areas. And if you asked any teacher, that's possibly the most powerful [PLD] that they've ever had. So that got us really excited and motivated.” (School leader)

Know – the contexts

The Know part of the framework is the contexts. They are meaningful and important knowledge (concepts, generalisations, explanations, and stories) that exemplify the big ideas.(12) The four contexts for ANZ Histories are listed below.

  1. Culture and identity: this focuses on how the past shapes who we are today – our familial links and bonds, our networks and connections, our sense of obligation, and the stories woven into our collective and diverse identities.
  2. Government and organisation: this focuses on the history of authority and control, and the contests over them. At the heart of these contests are the authorities guaranteed by Te Tiriti o Waitangi | The Treaty of Waitangi. This context also considers the history of the relationships between government agencies and the people who lived here and in the Pacific.
  3. Place and environment: this focuses on the relationships of individuals, groups, and communities with the land, water, and resources, and on the history of contests over their control, use, and protection.
  4. Economic activity: this focuses on the choices people made to meet their needs and wants, how they made a living individually and collectively, and the resulting exchanges and interconnections.

Schools are focusing on teaching culture and identity, and place and environment.

So far, almost eight in 10 (77 percent) teachers have included the ‘culture and identity’ context and seven in 10 (71 percent) teachers have included the ‘place and environment’ context in their teaching of ANZ Histories.

Figure 7: Contexts that teachers have included in their teaching for ANZ Histories (so far)

Figure 7 shows the four contexts that teachers have included in their teaching for ANZ Histories so far.  Culture and identity has been taught by 77% of teachers.  Government and organisation has been taught by 45% of teachers.  Place and environment has been taught by 71% of teachers. Economic activity has been taught by 30% of teachers

Teachers say they are prioritising culture and identity because they see how it might support students to belong and think about their own perspectives on the world.

Teachers are not putting as much emphasis on teaching about government and organisation, and economic activity.

Less than half of teachers had taught the ‘government and organisation’ (45 percent) context and less than a third had taught the ‘economic activity’ (30 percent) context at the time ERO collected data. This matters because students are not learning all aspects of ANZ Histories and will have gaps in their knowledge, which may impact student achievement over the longer-term.

Experts told us that this reduced focus on government and organisation, and economic activity may be part of a longer-term trend in Social Sciences teaching and not necessarily specific to the teaching of ANZ Histories. There may also be reduced focused on economic activity for ANZ Histories because there are fewer Know statements for this context compared to the others.

Leaders told us that they hadn’t really changed the contexts they are teaching but are working to incorporate local examples into existing contexts or themes.

To support the contexts of culture and identity, and place and environment, for example, students are learning their own or a school pepeha, and visiting and learning about local historic landmarks.

Do – inquiry practices

In Social Sciences, Do is the inquiry practices, strategies, skills, and competencies, that are particular to the learning area. (13) The three inquiry practices for ANZ Histories nest under the Social Sciences practice ‘thinking critically about the past’. They are: 

  1. identifying and exploring historical relationships
  2. identifying sources and perspectives
  3. interpreting past experiences, decisions, and actions.

‘Do’ is less of a focus in the teaching of ANZ Histories so far.

Many leaders and teachers, in both primary and secondary schools, told us that the practices of Social Sciences (the Do) are not yet a focus in their teaching of ANZ Histories. This matters because the inquiry practices for ANZ Histories help students to be critical thinkers.(14)

We heard that teachers felt the Do aspects were challenging to understand. Others told us that the practices are already embedded in their teaching, but mainly where the Do aligned with how they were teaching histories before the refresh.

I've really enjoyed working with the (refreshed) NZ Histories … all of us have worked with our inquiry topics, having integrated across the curriculum areas, and it's just been really great for that… To see… the Know, Understand- or Understand Know Do (not sure which order). That was awesome, to see the kids when they do understand and then they do know.” (Primary school teacher)

Which histories content is being taught?

Schools are focusing on local histories, and much less on national histories.

The refreshed Social Sciences learning area is meant to create a curiosity about and respect for places, people, cultures, and systems, and to help students thrive in the diverse communities and environments of Aotearoa New Zealand and beyond. ANZ Histories supports this aim through its focus on:

[S]tories of interactions across time that connect people to each other and to place. Students will build understandings about how Māori, and all people for whom New Zealand has been and is their home, have shaped Aotearoa New Zealand’s past.(15)

Teachers are encouraged to select topics that focus on national histories and histories of the local area (including the rohe of the local iwi), as well as topics that engage students at a global level. (16) However, we found that schools are focusing on local histories at the expense of national histories. This is due to varying interpretations of the curriculum guidance, the staging of implementation, and the time available for teaching Social Sciences.

Goals of ‘localisation’ in the national curriculum include allowing schools to be responsive to the needs, identity, language, culture, interests, strengths, and aspirations, of the students at the school, to help them progress and achieve. Focusing on histories of the immediate area can help with this as most students will identify in some way local places and events.

However, focusing on histories of the immediate area at the expense of national histories goes against one of the aims of ANZ Histories, which is to give all students an understanding of key historical events, so they will be able to make better sense of the present to inform future decisions and actions.(17)

There is an additional consideration for large urban schools with diverse communities that include students who identify with other parts of Aotearoa New Zealand more than their local area. Therefore, learning only about the local area may mean they miss out on histories that help them understand themselves, their own whānau, and wider community.

“[It] came out of whānau hui…. [that] a lot of urban Māori don’t know where they're from.” (School leader)

School leaders identified that building stories and whakapapa gives a sense of history, particularly for those for whom that was lost.

Guidance to teach about local histories is sometimes interpreted as only Māori histories.

The Ministry’s guidance for selecting topics for ANZ Histories encourages teachers to choose topics that engage students at local, national, and global levels.(18) However, we heard that many leaders and teachers are interpreting local history narrowly as Māori histories. Teachers consistently viewed Māori histories to ’have primacy’ in ANZ Histories because it provides a perspective that hasn’t been evident in their school curriculum before.

Less commonly, we heard that schools are trying to capture and teach the histories of the wider school community, for example, the Dalmatian community in Northland. We also heard schools are making topics relevant to diverse students, for example, by linking to colonisation in other parts of the world.

Our child…feels related to social science as a whole and part of the history in New Zealand, because... she was born here… but she is … well aware about our heritage as parents. So, we always talked about, like, my side that I come from North Africa. I have shared with her a little bit of history about [my country]…. How we had colonisation by 2 or 3 countries….and that's why we speak French as a second language and Spanish as well, in some parts... So when she started learning about Māori land and their progress through the history, she can feel related, [and sees] that it is very important to preserve the culture, preserve the language.” (African parent)

Focusing on Māori histories at the expense of others is likely to impact student engagement. This is because we found that students are twice as likely to enjoy learning about ANZ Histories when they are learning about people similar to them (discussed further in part 2 of this report).

Secondary schools told us they have shifted away from teaching global events more broadly, to focus on Aotearoa New Zealand’s role within them.

ANZ Histories is not meant to be replacing histories of global events, which remains part of the broader Social Sciences in both the 2007 NZ Curriculum and the Refreshed Curriculum. However, in making room for the ANZ Histories content, schools are losing some of their global histories content. One teacher said “global issues are largely ignored”.

I think we are restricting history too much. There is a big world out there, that I would also like the children to learn about.” (Primary school leader)

We heard that one school had shifted away from teaching the causes of WII, to focus on the WII battles that Aotearoa New Zealand soldiers played a part in. This potentially limits students’ understanding of key global events like World War II and limits their ability to be global citizens.

“The idea that students focus on the history of one place for their entire schooling is restricting students from becoming well-educated global citizens.” (Secondary school leader)

Teachers are also concerned that the shift away from teaching global histories will impact engagement for some groups of students.

The way it has been presented and rolled out. There is not enough international content. It has made most of my Pākehā tamariki [NZ European students] feel alienated.” (School leader)

We found that students are two-and-a-half times more likely to enjoy ANZ Histories, when the learning is helping them to understand Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world (discussed further in part 2 of this report).

c) What is happening for the broader Social Sciences?

Schools are less focused on implementing the refreshed Social Sciences curriculum content, outside of ANZ Histories.

We found that schools are prioritising the implementation of ANZ Histories and are much less focused on implementing the wider Social Sciences learning area. This is in part because schools were required to teach ANZ Histories from the beginning of 2023, whereas the refreshed Social Science curriculum content is not required until 2027.

Leaders tell us they are purposely staggering the implementation of the refreshed Social Sciences curriculum content to avoid teachers being overwhelmed. We also heard that leaders are wanting to get ANZ Histories right.

“[We] need time to understand it…before introducing to teachers, requiring them to do things. Once understanding is a bit [stronger], [I] want to connect with peers. Want to see how it’s being taught.” (School leader)

With a focus on ANZ Histories, the wider Social Sciences is being crowded out.

Leaders and teachers are concerned about ANZ Histories crowding out the broader Social Sciences learning area.

It [ANZ Histories] currently takes up a lot of the Social Studies curriculum.  There needs to be a bit more balance, as Social Studies is not just junior History but also Economics, Geography, Tourism, Current Events, etc.” (School leader)

We heard similar concerns from experts, who told us that some schools had even renamed their ‘social science faculty’ to ‘history’. These changes may take time to reverse.

Teachers indicated that there was a lack of resources that make it clear how ANZ Histories is part of Social Sciences. More resources and exemplars showing how to integrate ANZ Histories into the Social Sciences may help with rebalancing students’ learning.

Conclusion

Schools are meant to be teaching ANZ Histories to Years 1-10 from the start of 2023, but only six in 10 will have fully implemented by the end of 2023. Primary schools are more likely to be teaching ANZ Histories, but secondary schools are teaching it to a greater extent. Teachers are meant to be weaving the Understand, Know, Do, together, but are mainly focusing on the Know as this is newer to them. The curriculum statements are being interpreted by schools so that they are focusing on local histories rather than national events, and local is sometimes interpreted as only Māori histories. Schools are also teaching less about global contexts.

Part 2: What is the impact of ANZ Histories, so far, on students?

Half of students enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. Enjoyment is improved when students can see themselves in their learning and are learning, about people like them, leading to better engagement. Students also want to learn about global histories and to understand Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world.

It is too early to measure the progress students are making in their learning about ANZ Histories. Nearly two in five students either aren’t sure or don’t think they are making progress in ANZ Histories right now.

What we looked at

ERO wanted to know if students are engaging and making progress in their learning about ANZ Histories, and whether they feel included. The section covers:

  • how engaged students are in their learning about ANZ Histories
  • how included students are in their learning about ANZ Histories
  • what progress students are making in ANZ Histories.

How we gathered this information

The findings in this section are based on:

  • surveys and interviews with students
  • surveys and interviews with school leaders and teachers
  • surveys and interviews with parents and whānau.

We collected our data in late Term 3 and early Term 4 of 2023.

What we found: An overview

Teaching ANZ Histories has been compulsory for less than a year. At this stage, just over half of students enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. Teachers also see positive impacts on student participation, which is helped by the ‘hands-on’ learning and field trips taking place when students learn about the histories of their local area. However, students want to learn more about global histories and understand Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world.

Primary school students, Māori students, and Pacific students, are enjoying ANZ Histories the most. The increased focus on Māori and Pacific histories is encouraging the participation of these students. Leaders told us that the value placed on Māori knowledge lifts Māori students’ sense of identity, self-esteem, and mana.

NZ European and Middle Eastern, Latin American, African (MELAA) students are enjoying ANZ Histories the least. This may be because NZ European and MELAA students are less likely to be learning about people similar to them in ANZ Histories, and less likely to say their learning in ANZ Histories is connecting them to their whānau and community.

Students who are learning about people similar to them, and are being connected to their whānau and community are twice as likely to enjoy ANZ Histories.

Māori and Pacific students are more likely to be learning about people similar to them than other ethnic groups. Making the connection between themselves and their learning helps students to see the relevance of the content.

Most students told us they had learnt a fair bit or a lot in ANZ Histories so far, but nearly two in five students either aren’t sure or don’t think they are making progress. Māori students are more likely to think they are making progress. MELAA students are the least able to tell others what they are learning about. There is little difference between how primary and secondary students think they are progressing.

In the following section we set out these findings in more detail on:

  1. student engagement
  2. student belonging
  3. student progress

a) Student engagement

Just over half of students enjoy learning (54 percent) and like to participate in ANZ Histories classes (56 percent).

Student responses to levels of enjoyment and participation are similar for the broader Social Sciences (56 percent and 57 percent respectively). Two-thirds (65 percent) of teachers also report positive impacts on student participation when they are learning ANZ Histories.

Figure 8: Student responses on enjoyment and participation when learning ANZ Histories

Figure 8 is a graph showing students’ agreement that they enjoy learning about ANZ Histories and like to participate in class when learning about ANZ Histories.  54% of students agree that they enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. 22% disagree that they enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. 22% are not sure. 56% of students agree that they like to participate in class when learning about ANZ Histories. 19% disagree that they like to participate in class when learning about ANZ Histories. 21% are not sure.

Whether students enjoy learning ANZ Histories is important because evidence shows that enjoyment positively predicts academic achievement(19). In fact, there is a reciprocal relationship, whereby achievement also leads to a greater enjoyment of learning.

Leaders and teachers told us that the relevance of local histories makes ANZ Histories enjoyable, as well as the hands-on learning and field trips that have been happening as part of the local histories content for ANZ Histories. Many students are finding this engaging and fun.

I like that [visiting marae and doing activities] … it's like you're still learning, but it's just learning about fun stuff… because you meet heaps of new people and stuff. And when we did our recent marae trip, we had activities. So, one of the activities was actually learning about an old Māori story.” (Primary school student)

Teachers also told us that students enjoy ANZ Histories more when they can make choices and take responsibility for their own learning. Students told us enthusiasm from the teacher mattered.

I liked listening to the people who were interested about the things they shared with us.” (Primary school student)

However, two in five (43 percent) students don’t enjoy or aren’t sure if they enjoy learning ANZ Histories.

We heard that only hearing about local history can be demotivating. Students told us they want to learn more about global histories.

I think we could learn as well, not just NZ [history] but the whole world… what it's like for other people and how they experience the world.” (Primary school student)

Additionally, the ANZ Histories content includes sensitive topics which students told us can be hard to talk about and can even lead to personal guilt.  Teachers recognised this and said that they spend a great deal of time thinking about the impact of complex and challenging histories.

Things like colonization and [other] concepts [for] Years 7 and 8, … that's some quite grunty stuff. So we want to be really sure that we don't just go flying in with this new curriculum and end up with unintended consequences through ignorance. So, there's a whole lot of work going on behind that.” (Primary school leader)

Repeating content also reduces student engagement. Some students tell us they are repeating learning they have already done, and by going over the same material, they become disinterested.

“It can be really interesting to learn about stuff like [local histories]. But then if we're retelling the same story about how Maui saved the sun or whatever over and over [again] and then they explain it in detail and you already know…I'm bored.” (Primary school student)

Pacific and Māori students are enjoying ANZ Histories the most, and NZ European and MELAA students the least.

Around three in five Pacific (63 percent) and Māori (61 percent) students agree they enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. Only one in 10 (11 percent) Pacific students and marginally more (16 percent) Māori students said they weren’t enjoying ANZ Histories, compared to almost three in 10 of NZ European and MELAA students (29 percent and 27 percent respectively).

Figure 9: Student responses on enjoyment when learning ANZ Histories, by ethnicity

Figure 9 is a graph showing students’ agreement that they enjoy learning about ANZ Histories, for different ethnicities.  For NZ European students, 50% agree that they enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. 29% of NZ European students disagree that they enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. 19% are not sure. For Māori students, 61% agree that they enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. 16% of Māori students disagree that they enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. 19% are not sure. For Asian students, 55% agree that they enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. 17% of Asian students disagree that they enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. 24% are not sure. For Pacific students, 63% agree that they enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. 11% of Pacific students disagree that they enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. 24% are not sure. For MELAA students, 42% agree that they enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. 27% of MELAA students disagree that they enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. 21% are not sure.

Students may not be enjoying ANZ Histories due to how it is being taught. For example, some non-Māori parents and whānau (mainly NZ European) say their children have felt singled out for blame at times when learning some ANZ Histories. These parents and whānau say teachers need the content knowledge and skill to make ANZ Histories relevant to all children in the room.

"I've enjoyed learning about Aotearoa and who actually found it and what my culture has actually done to get what they do. I really enjoy learning all the dances and the different stuff about my culture. I find it so inspiring ." (Māori student)

Primary school students are significantly more likely to enjoy ANZ Histories than secondary school students (60 percent compared to 50 percent).

This may be because primary students generally like school more than secondary students.

Figure 10: Student responses on enjoyment when learning ANZ Histories - primary compared to secondary school students

Figure 10 is a graph showing primary school and secondary school students’ agreement that they enjoy learning about ANZ Histories.  60% of primary school students agree that they enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. 17% of primary school students disagree that they enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. 19% are not sure. 50% of secondary school students agree that they enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. 26% of secondary school students disagree that they enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. 21% are not sure.

Student participation is broadly similar across all ethnic groups, except for MELAA students who least like to participate in class for ANZ Histories.

Only 44 percent of MELAA students agree they like to participate in class when learning ANZ Histories, compared to between 54 and 58 percent for all other ethnic groups.

Figure 11: Student responses on class participation when learning ANZ Histories, by ethnicity

Figure 11 is a graph showing students’ agreement that they like to participate in class when learning about ANZ Histories, for different ethnicities.  For NZ European students, 58% agree that they like to participate in class when learning about ANZ Histories. 21% of NZ European students disagree that they like to participate in class when learning about ANZ Histories. 17% are not sure. For Māori students, 56% agree that they like to participate in class when learning about ANZ Histories. 18% of Māori students disagree that they like to participate in class when learning about ANZ Histories. 28% are not sure. For Asian students, 54% agree that they like to participate in class when learning about ANZ Histories. 17% of Asian students disagree that they like to participate in class when learning about ANZ Histories. 23% are not sure. For Pacific students, 58% agree that they like to participate in class when learning about ANZ Histories. 13% of Pacific students disagree that they like to participate in class when learning about ANZ Histories. 26% are not sure. For MELAA students, 44% agree that they like to participate in class when learning about ANZ Histories. 12% of MELAA students disagree that they like to participate in class when learning about ANZ Histories. 31% are not sure.

We heard that the increased focus on Māori histories encourages the participation of Māori students. Leaders told us that the value placed on Māori knowledge lifts Māori student’s sense of identity, self-esteem, and mana.

“[There are] opportunities to choose [to] learn about tīpuna. Teachers don’t just tell us what to do.” (Māori student)

The expanded focus on Pacific histories was engaging Pacific students, with content on the Dawn Raids, Pacific navigation and migration stories. This content also provided opportunities for Pacific students to share their knowledge and culture.  

It's fun learning about our history. … It makes me feel like I've embraced my culture.” (Pacific student)

b) Student belonging

Almost seven in 10 (68 percent) students agree they feel included when they are learning ANZ Histories.

Only one in 10 (10 percent) disagree they feel included when they are learning NZ Histories, although two in 10 (19 percent) are unsure.

Figure 12: Overall student responses on whether their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories

Figure 12 is a graph showing students’ agreement that their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories. 16% of students strongly agree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories. 52% of students agree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories. 6% of students disagree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories. 4% of students strongly disagree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories. 19% of students are not sure.

Leaders and teachers had mixed views about the inclusiveness of ANZ Histories. One leader said the ANZ Histories content is even more inclusive than what was taught before.

“[ANZ Histories] is more inclusive of other world views, value systems and knowledges.” (Pacific school leader)

Others said ANZ Histories needs to be more inclusive.

“[ANZ Histories should] ensure that the content is inclusive and representative of the diverse range of cultures and communities in New Zealand. This includes not only Māori histories, but also the histories of Pacific Island communities, immigrant populations, and other groups that have contributed to New Zealand's history.” (Primary teacher)

Pacific students are significantly more likely (about seven in 10 or 72 percent) than non-Pacific students to feel included when learning ANZ Histories.

Across all groups, about one in five students are unsure if they feel included when learning about ANZ Histories.

Figure 13: Student responses on whether their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories, by ethnicity

Figure 13 is a graph showing students’ agreement that their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories, for different ethnicities.  For NZ European students, 66% agree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories. 12% of NZ European students disagree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories. 20% are not sure. For Māori students, 63% agree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories. 10% of Māori students disagree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories. 22% are not sure. For Asian students, 68% agree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories. 12% of Asian students disagree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories. 19% are not sure. For Pacific students, 72% agree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories. 7% of Pacific students disagree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories. 18% are not sure. For MELAA students, 63% agree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories. 10% of MELAA students disagree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories. 23% are not sure.

Disabled students feel significantly less included when learning about ANZ Histories.

Less than half (48 percent) of disabled students agree they feel included when learning ANZ Histories, compared to seven in 10 (72 percent) non-disabled students.

Figure 14: Student responses on whether their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories - disabled compared to non-disabled students

Figure 14 is a graph showing disabled students’ and non-disabled students’ agreement that their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories.  48% of disabled students agree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories. 32% of disabled students disagree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories. 16% are not sure. 72% of non-disabled students agree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories. 8% of non-disabled students disagree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning ANZ Histories. 18% are not sure

Parents and whānau told us a similar story, saying that their disabled child feels less included at school. This aligns with ERO’s previous research which found that one in three parents and whānau of disabled learners are unhappy with the quality of their child’s schooling(20).

NZ Histories is meant to be inclusive, and we heard from experts that content has been developed to support inclusive teaching and learning. Experts also told us that the curriculum guidance referred to specific disability topics that teachers could refer to for ANZ Histories:

There were some really cool things that they could look into around disability. So, if you look on page 13 of [the ANZ Histories document], for example, … it names CCS, disability action advocacy by IHC, the disabled persons assembly, the deaf community lobbying and all of those things. …And I’m hoping people are delving into this.” (Expert)

We heard that students were sometimes learning about disabled people in ANZ Histories. For example, one student said they had been learning about the disabled daughter of a Māori chief and about her importance to the local history. However, generally, parents and whānau told us they wanted more disabled representation in ANZ Histories to help their child feel included. For example, schools could teach about the history of disability, highlighting the similarities between disabled students and other groups of students.

Māori and Pacific students are most likely, and MELAA students least likely, to agree they are learning about people similar to them.

This is important because students who agree that they are learning about people similar to them are twice as likely to enjoy learning about ANZ Histories.

Half of Māori and Pacific students (51 percent each) report learning about people similar to them in the Social Sciences, including ANZ Histories, compared to only two in five Asian and NZ European students (43 percent and 39 percent respectively). Only about one in five (23 percent) MELAA students say they are learning about people similar to them.

Figure 15: Student responses on whether they are learning about people similar to them, by ethnicity

Figure 15 is a graph showing students’ agreement that they are learning about people similar to them in the Social Sciences, including ANZ Histories, for different ethnicities. For NZ European students, 39% agree that they are learning about people similar to them. 33% of NZ European students disagree that they are learning about people similar to them. 27% are not sure. For Māori students, 51% agree that they are learning about people similar to them. 23% of Māori students disagree that they are learning about people similar to them. 23% are not sure. For Asian students, 43% agree that they are learning about people similar to them. 32% of Asian students disagree that they are learning about people similar to them. 22% are not sure. For Pacific students, 51% agree that they are learning about people similar to them. 23% of Pacific students disagree that they are learning about people similar to them. 25% are not sure. For MELAA students, 23% agree that they are learning about people similar to them. 51% of MELAA students disagree that they are learning about people similar to them. 23% are not sure.

Learning about people similar to them can help with student engagement because engagement improves with the relevance of the content.

Teachers also told us that learning about people similar to them, as well as people different to them, provides opportunities to highlight commonalities. This is a well-evidenced approach for fostering cohesion because it helps break down ‘them’ and ‘us’ thinking and builds tolerance of diversity.(21) We heard that many non-Māori students enjoy learning about Māori histories and culture as it helps them connect to ‘being a New Zealander', which is one of the aims for the new ANZ Histories content.

It kind of makes you feel like … your actual DNA is more New Zealand, even if you're not, because you feel like more connected to it and it makes you just know like, the history.”  (Student)

Students who find what they are learning is connecting them to their whānau and community are twice as likely to enjoy learning about ANZ Histories.

However, only half of students agree their teacher helps them connect to their whānau and community (47 percent), or to themselves (51 percent), when learning ANZ Histories.

Figure 16: Student responses on whether their teacher helps connect them to their whānau and community, and connect them to who they are, when learning ANZ Histories

Figure 16 is a graph showing students’ agreement that their teacher connects what they are learning to their whānau and community, and to who they are, when learning ANZ Histories.  47% of students agree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning ANZ Histories. 22% of students disagree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning ANZ Histories. 28% are not sure. 51% of students agree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to who they are, when learning ANZ Histories. 23% of students disagree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to who they are, when learning ANZ Histories. 23% are not sure.

We heard that Māori students, in particular, are helped to connect to who they are and to their whānau and community in ANZ Histories. For example, they are being helped to connect to their ancestors (tīpuna) through the teaching of Māori histories. However, teachers note the challenge of helping all their Māori students connect to their whānau and community, for example, if their hapū and iwi come from other parts of the country.

Teachers felt that all their students needed to be able to see themselves in their learning, including diverse communities. Teachers told us that ANZ Histories needed to be more balanced to take account of this.

There needs to be a considered balance. My school is very multi-cultural so it would be valuable for students of different ethnicities to be able to see themselves in the learning too.” (Teacher)

Almost three in five (58 percent) Pacific students agree their teacher helps connect them to their whānau and community when learning ANZ Histories, compared to just two in five NZ European and MELAA students (41 percent and 38 percent respectively).

However, given the emphasis on Māori histories, only about half (47 percent) of Māori students agree their teacher helps connect them to their whānau and community when learning ANZ Histories. This finding may be explained by how well the content is taught. We heard that non-Māori teachers are not always comfortable teaching Māori histories.

Figure 17: Student responses on whether their teacher helps connect them to their whānau and community when learning ANZ Histories, by ethnicity

Figure 17 is a graph showing students’ agreement that their teacher connects what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning ANZ Histories, for different ethnicities. For NZ European students, 41% agree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning ANZ Histories. 27% of NZ European students disagree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning ANZ Histories. 29% are not sure. For Māori students, 47% agree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning ANZ Histories. 20% of Māori students disagree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning ANZ Histories. 29% are not sure. For Asian students, 54% agree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning ANZ Histories. 20% of Asian students disagree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning ANZ Histories. 22% are not sure. For Pacific students, 58% agree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning ANZ Histories. 13% of Pacific students disagree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning ANZ Histories. 24% are not sure. For MELAA students, 38% agree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning ANZ Histories. 19% of MELAA students disagree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning ANZ Histories. 37% are not sure.

"I loved learning about the early settlers because they are amazing like me. Also my ancestors were early settlers." (Primary school student)

Pacific students are most likely, and NZ European students least likely, to agree their teaching is connecting them to who they are when they are learning ANZ Histories.

Over three in five (65 percent) Pacific students agree their teacher helps them connect their learning to who they are, and three in five (60 percent) Asian students do. NZ European students are the least likely to agree – just two in five (42 percent) agree their teacher helps them connect their learning to who they are.

Figure 18: Student responses on whether their teacher helps connect them to who they are when learning ANZ Histories, by ethnicity

Figure 18 is a graph showing students’ agreement that their teacher connects what they are learning to who they are, when learning ANZ Histories, for different ethnicities. For NZ European students, 42% agree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to who they are, when learning ANZ Histories. 29% of NZ European students disagree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to who they are, when learning ANZ Histories. 30% are not sure. For Māori students, 48% agree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to who they are, when learning ANZ Histories. 20% of Māori students disagree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to who they are, when learning ANZ Histories. 29% are not sure. For Asian students, 60% agree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to who they are, when learning ANZ Histories. 20% of Asian students disagree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to who they are, when learning ANZ Histories. 20% are not sure. For Pacific students, 65% agree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to who they are, when learning ANZ Histories. 15% of Pacific students disagree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to who they are, when learning ANZ Histories. 23% are not sure. For MELAA students, 48% agree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to who they are, when learning ANZ Histories. 21% of MELAA students disagree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to who they are, when learning ANZ Histories. 36% are not sure.

"I have enjoyed learning about the countries around my culture (the Netherlands)". (NZ European student)

Seven in 10 (72 percent) students agree the teacher helps them to understand Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world.

This is important because we found that students who agree their teacher helps them to understand Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world are two-and-a-half times more likely to enjoy ANZ Histories.

Figure 19: Overall student responses on whether their teacher helps them understand Aotearoa New Zealand's place in the world

Figure 19 is a graph showing students’ agreement that their teacher helps them to understand Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world. 15% of students strongly agree. 57% of students agree. 6% of students disagree. 3% of students strongly disagree. 16% of students are not sure.

Students told us that they enjoy learning about other parts of the world and about other cultures and religions.

Migrant parents and whānau, in particular, confirm this view for their children. They went on to say that Aotearoa New Zealand should not be viewed in a vacuum because young people are digitally connected and see themselves as global citizens.

“…I think it's really important that any curriculum sort of ties … [ANZ Histories] together with this new global sort of perspective that kids have.” (Parent)

Three-quarters (74 percent) of Pacific students agree the teacher helps them to understand New Zealand’s place in the world, compared to less than two-thirds (63 percent) of MELAA students.

Figure 20: Student responses on whether their teacher helps them understand Aotearoa New Zealand's place in the world, by ethnicity

Figure 20 is a graph showing students’ agreement that their teacher helps them to understand Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world, for different ethnicities. For NZ European students, 72% agree that their teacher helps them to understand Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world. 10% of NZ European students disagree that their teacher helps them to understand Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world. 16% are not sure. For Māori students, 69% agree that their teacher helps them to understand Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world. 10% of Māori students disagree that their teacher helps them to understand Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world. 18% are not sure. For Asian students, 71% agree that their teacher helps them to understand Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world. 12% of Asian students disagree that their teacher helps them to understand Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world. 15% are not sure. For Pacific students, 74% agree that their teacher helps them to understand Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world. 8% of Pacific students disagree that their teacher helps them to understand Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world. 15% are not sure. For MELAA students, 63% agree that their teacher helps them to understand Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world. 12% of MELAA students disagree that their teacher helps them to understand Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world. 16% are not sure.

To help students understand Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world, we heard that schools were looking at the influence of Pacific Island nations on Aotearoa New Zealand culture (see boxed example). We also heard that with the introduction of ANZ Histories, one school was teaching about Aotearoa New Zealand’s role in overseas conflict for the first time. This included a focus on the Māori Battalion that served in the Second World War. We also heard from students who had enjoyed learning about the role of Aotearoa New Zealand in the Battle of Gallipoli. 

“I liked learning about all of the different perspectives that the world sees about New Zealand.” (MELAA student)


"I preferred last year’s learning in year nine because then we looked at things all around the world whereas this year we are only looking at NZ history." (NZ European student)

An example: ANZ Histories comes alive for a diverse community of students

A small urban primary school was using the ANZ Histories content to help students from all backgrounds to feel included.

It is part of the school mission to be a multicultural space that is welcoming of the diversity of its teachers and students and their families. The school supports students to understand their own culture and identity and helps them connect to being a New Zealander.

All students are helped to feel included in the school’s welcome ceremony, which has roots in pōwhiri (formal welcome). While Māori history and cultural practices (tikanga) are foundational to pōwhiri, the school has adapted the ceremony, so that students of all backgrounds are given a chance to incorporate their own prayer, speech, or song. This adaptation has been done with the blessing of local iwi. The welcome ceremony helps strengthen cultural knowledge and practices (tikanga) across the school and all students enjoy it and feel proud when they participate. Students said they ‘feel like champions’ when they perform.

In ANZ Histories, students have been learning about migration. Teachers and local people from the community have visited the school to share stories and performances about migrating to New Zealand, which has made history come alive. The content included the influence of Pacific Island nations on New Zealand culture, and content was delivered using traditional ways of knowledge sharing.

Students have also been working together to create a group performance to incorporate into the school’s welcome ceremony. Some are choosing to be part of a dance, while others are choosing to sing or narrate the story. 

The students are enjoying working together to develop their understanding that colonisation and settlement have been central to Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories for the past 200 years, which is one of the big ideas for ANZ Histories.

c) Student progress

Most students told us they had learnt a fair bit or a lot about ANZ Histories.

So far, seven in 10 (69 percent) students think that they have learnt ‘a fair bit or a lot’ about ANZ Histories. Progress in ANZ Histories learning hasn’t been measured yet. ERO will look at progress again when results come through from the Curriculum Insights and Progress Study (CIPS), which will report on the achievement of students in Years 3, 6, and 8, across all eight learning areas in the National Curriculum.

Figure 21: How much students think they have learnt about ANZ Histories

Figure 21 is a graph showing how much students think they have learnt about ANZ Histories.  19% of students think they have learnt a lot. 50% of students think they have learnt a fair bit. 21% of students think they have learnt a little bit. 4% of students think they have learnt nothing. 5% of students are not sure.

We heard that students don’t always see the relevance of what they are learning about in ANZ Histories. Others report more positively that the skills they are learning in ANZ Histories are transferable to other classes. They said they notice they are more confident and better able to contribute their thoughts and ideas.

Concerningly, nearly two in five (38 percent) students either aren’t sure or don’t think they are making progress in ANZ Histories.

This leaves three in five (58 percent) students who do think they are making progress. A similar proportion (57 percent) of students can tell other people what they are learning about.

There is marginal difference between primary and secondary students in how they feel about their progress in ANZ Histories. For both groups, about three in five agree they are making progress – 60 percent of primary students and 57 percent of secondary students.

Figure 22: Student responses on whether they are making progress in Social Sciences, including ANZ Histories

Figure 22 is a graph showing students’ agreement that they are making progress in Social Sciences, including ANZ Histories. 8% of students strongly agree. 50% of students agree. 9% of students disagree. 5% of students strongly disagree. 24% of students are not sure.

Figure 23: Student responses on whether they can tell others what they are learning about in Social Sciences, including ANZ Histories

Figure 23 is a graph showing students’ agreement that they can tell others what they are learning about in Social Sciences, including ANZ Histories. 11% of students strongly agree. 46% of students agree. 12% of students disagree. 6% of students strongly disagree. 22% of students are not sure.

Students consistently told us they don't really know what progress looks like or that they are repeating in ANZ Histories some of the learning they have already done. Teachers told us they want to ensure learning builds towards a deeper understanding.

“[I have most enjoyed learning about the] history of other countries (though we haven't done a lot) I find New Zealand history too boring because every single year we do the same thing and there isn't a lot of New Zealand history.” (Student)

Māori students and Asian students are most likely to agree they are making progress when learning ANZ Histories, and MELAA students least likely.

Three in five (62 percent) Māori students feel that they are making progress in learning about ANZ Histories, which is the same as for Asian students but higher than other ethnic groups. However, just over half of MELAA students (52 percent) disagree or are unsure if they are making progress, which is the lowest self-reported progress of all ethnic groups.

Figure 24: Student responses on whether they are making progress in learning ANZ Histories, by ethnicity

Figure 24 is a graph showing students’ agreement that they are making progress in learning ANZ Histories, for different ethnicities. For NZ European students, 58% agree that they are making progress in learning ANZ Histories. 16% of NZ European students disagree that they are making progress in learning ANZ Histories. 23% are not sure. For Māori students, 62% agree that they are making progress in learning ANZ Histories. 11% of Māori students disagree that they are making progress in learning ANZ Histories. 21% are not sure. For Asian students, 62% agree that they are making progress in learning ANZ Histories. 15% of Asian students disagree that they are making progress in learning ANZ Histories. 19% are not sure. For Pacific students, 53% agree that they are making progress in learning ANZ Histories. 13% of Pacific students disagree that they are making progress in learning ANZ Histories. 30% are not sure. For MELAA students, 41% agree that they are making progress in learning ANZ Histories. 15% of MELAA students disagree that they are making progress in learning ANZ Histories. 37% are not sure.

MELAA students are least likely to agree they can tell others what they are learning about in the Social Sciences, including ANZ Histories.

Almost three in five Asian and NZ European students (59 percent each) can tell others what they are learning about in the Social Sciences, including ANZ Histories. Just under three in five (56 percent) Māori students and about half (51 percent) of Pacific students can.

However, only about a quarter (27 percent) of MELAA students can. A further two-thirds (63 percent) of MELAA students disagree or aren’t sure they can tell others what they are learning about. This matters because being able to tell others what you are learning about both demonstrates and helps to reinforce the learning.

Figure 25: Student responses on whether they can tell others what they are learning about in Social Science, including ANZ Histories, by ethnicity

Figure 25 is a graph showing students’ agreement that they can tell others what they are learning about in Social Sciences, including ANZ Histories, for different ethnicities. For NZ European students, 59% agree that they can tell others what they are learning about in Social Sciences, including ANZ Histories. 18% of NZ European students disagree that they can tell others what they are learning about in Social Science, including ANZ Histories. 21% are not sure. For Māori students, 56% agree that they can tell others what they are learning about in Social Sciences, including ANZ Histories. 15% of Māori students disagree that they can tell others what they are learning about in Social Science, including ANZ Histories. 22% are not sure. For Asian students, 59% agree that they can tell others what they are learning about in Social Sciences, including ANZ Histories. 19% of Asian students disagree that they can tell others what they are learning about in Social Science, including ANZ Histories. 19% are not sure. For Pacific students, 51% agree that they can tell others what they are learning about in Social Sciences, including ANZ Histories. 16% of Pacific students disagree that they can tell others what they are learning about in Social Science, including ANZ Histories. 28% are not sure. For MELAA students, 27% agree that they can tell others what they are learning about in Social Sciences, including ANZ Histories. 32% of MELAA students disagree that they can tell others what they are learning about in Social Science, including ANZ Histories. 31% are not sure.

Disabled students are significantly less likely to be making progress in ANZ Histories.

One in three (35 percent) disabled students agree they are making progress in ANZ Histories, compared to almost two in three (61 percent) non-disabled students.

Parents and whānau of disabled students told us that the accessibility of the Refreshed Curriculum materials needs to improve. Although they think the refreshed content is an improvement on the 2007 NZ Curriculum in trying to be inclusive, resources and learning materials are still ‘text-heavy’, which is not inclusive for many disabled students.

There is no impact so far on students wanting to study ANZ Histories for NCEA.

It is too early in the implementation of ANZ Histories to know whether ANZ Histories is increasing the uptake of History between junior secondary school and senior secondary school.

We found that only one in seven (14 percent) of Year 9 and 10 students said they planned to continue to learn about ANZ Histories at an NCEA level. This is consistent with the proportion of students studying History at NCEA Level 1 in recent years.

Figure 26: Student responses on whether they are interested in continuing to learn about ANZ Histories at an NCEA level

Figure 26 is a graph showing whether Year 9 and 10 students are interested in continuing to learn about ANZ Histories at an NCEA level. 14% of students agreed that they would be interested in continuing to learn about ANZ Histories at an NCEA level. 29% of students disagreed that they would be interested in continuing to learn about ANZ Histories at an NCEA level. 27% of students may be interested in continuing to learn about ANZ Histories and 30% haven’t thought about it.

Students reported that although they value the learning they have done in ANZ Histories, they do not always want to keep learning it in the future. Leaders and teachers said students showing leadership potential and female students are more likely to continue to learn ANZ Histories in the future.

Conclusion

About half of students enjoy learning ANZ Histories. Teachers also see positive impacts on student participation. Students like learning about the histories of their local area but want to learn more about global histories and to understand Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world. Primary school students, and Māori and Pacific students, are enjoying ANZ Histories the most. NZ European and MELAA students are enjoying ANZ Histories the least. NZ European and MELAA students are least likely to be learning about people similar to them and least likely to say their learning is connecting them to their whānau and community. While it’s too early to measure student progress, nearly two in five students either aren’t sure or don’t think they are making progress in ANZ Histories.

Part 3: What is the impact of ANZ Histories on school leaders and teachers?

Nine in 10 teachers are enjoying teaching ANZ Histories. However, one in four leaders and teachers don’t confidently understand the content and aren’t always comfortable teaching histories outside their own culture. Teachers are also overwhelmed by the scale of change required. Teachers’ confidence to teach is higher when the school curriculum content is developed together with the local hapū or iwi, and when teachers are supported by their leadership team.

What we looked at

To understand the experience of leaders and teachers teaching about ANZ Histories, we asked them about their:

  • enjoyment of teaching ANZ Histories
  • understanding of ANZ Histories
  • confidence to teach ANZ Histories
  • capacity to implement changes to ANZ Histories.

How we gathered this information

The findings in this section are based on:

  • interviews with leaders and teachers
  • surveys of leaders and teachers.

We collected our data in late term 3 and early term 4 of 2023.

What we found: An overview

Nearly all (nine in 10) teachers are enjoying teaching ANZ Histories. We heard this is because teachers could make the learning more meaningful and relevant to their students. Māori teachers are most likely to be enjoying teaching ANZ Histories.

One in four (25 percent) leaders and teachers don’t confidently understand the new ANZ Histories content. Teachers are wanting to partner with hapū and iwi to build their understanding of local Māori histories, but don’t always have the cultural capability for this.

Teachers do not always feel comfortable teaching histories outside their own culture. This is particularly true for some non-Māori teachers teaching Māori histories. Confidence to teach ANZ Histories is supported when the school curriculum content is developed together with the local hapū or iwi, and when teachers are supported by their leadership team.

Teachers are overwhelmed by scale of the changes. Teachers describe the challenge of first growing their own knowledge of ANZ Histories, and then planning content to share that knowledge with their students.

In the following section we set out these findings in more detail on:

  1. engagement with ANZ Histories
  2. capability to implement ANZ Histories
  3. confidence to teach ANZ Histories
  4. capacity to implement changes to ANZ Histories

a) Engagement with ANZ Histories

Nine in 10 (89 percent) teachers enjoy teaching ANZ Histories.

Teachers said they enjoy making learning more meaningful and relevant to their students and are excited to be learning ANZ Histories for themselves. Those teachers who already knew some ANZ Histories value the opportunity to share their knowledge.

We also heard that leaders and teachers who like the ANZ Histories find it is easier to teach it.

“When you're passionate about something, when you love the topic, you're really invested in it, it's quite easy to teach it.” (Teacher)

Figure 27: Teacher enjoyment teaching ANZ Histories content

Figure 27 is a graph showing teachers’ enjoyment of teaching ANZ Histories content. 41% of teachers strongly agree that they enjoy teaching ANZ Histories. 48% of teachers agree that they enjoy teaching ANZ Histories. 6% of teachers disagree that they enjoy teaching ANZ Histories. 2% of teachers strongly disagree that they enjoy teaching ANZ Histories. 3% of teachers are not sure.

Māori teachers are enjoying teaching ANZ Histories more than non-Māori teachers.

Māori teachers enjoy the ANZ Histories content. They told us that the big ideas reflect their experiences and understandings, which is validating. Māori teachers also told us that ANZ Histories is providing opportunities for them to share their knowledge and culture with other staff and students.

“[We have had the] opportunity to work in partnership with our communities and to share stories previously unheard by our staff, students and their whānau.” (Māori school leader)

Figure 28: Teacher enjoyment in teaching ANZ Histories content - Māori compared to non-Māori teachers

Figure 28 is a graph showing Māori and non-Māori teachers’ enjoyment of teaching ANZ Histories.  96% of Māori teachers agree that they enjoy teaching ANZ Histories. 4% are not sure. 88% of non-Māori teachers agree that they enjoy teaching ANZ Histories. 9% of non-Māori teachers disagree that they enjoy teaching ANZ Histories. 3% are not sure.

Three-quarters (76 percent) of leaders report their teachers are feeling positive about the changes.

Figure 29: Leaders' responses on whether their teachers are feeling positive about making changes to their teaching for ANZ Histories

Figure 29 is a graph showing whether leaders think their teachers are feeling positive about making changes to their teaching for ANZ Histories 15% of leaders strongly agree that their teachers are feeling positive about making changes to their teaching for ANZ Histories. 61% of leaders agree that their teachers are feeling positive about making changes to their teaching for ANZ Histories. 14% of leaders disagree that their teachers are feeling positive about making changes to their teaching for ANZ Histories. 3% of leaders strongly disagree that their teachers are feeling positive about making changes to their teaching for ANZ Histories. 7% of leaders are not sure.

Leaders told us that the Refreshed Curriculum is much clearer about why they are teaching content, and teachers are empowered by this. However, leaders told us that some teachers can be resistant to making the changes. For example, if they have learnt a different version of history during their own schooling.

We heard similar things from teachers themselves, including that the ANZ Histories content presents events with a particular perspective that they did not always agree with.

“It [the ANZ Histories content] is all written in the negative slant. We have turned this around to show all perspectives but the negative wording in the document is awful.” (School leader)

b) Capability to implement ANZ Histories

One in four (25 percent) leaders and teachers don’t confidently understand the ANZ Histories content.

This means three in four (75 percent) do understand the ANZ Histories content. Four in five (79 percent) leaders and teachers also agree the ANZ Histories curriculum content is clear, and almost three in four (73 percent) find it easy to use.

Figure 30: Leader and teacher responses on their overall understanding of ANZ Histories

Figure 30 is a graph showing leader and teacher confidence in their understanding of the ANZ Histories content. 26% of leaders and teachers are very confident in their understanding of the ANZ Histories content. 49% of leaders and teachers are confident in their understanding of the ANZ Histories content. 23% of leaders and teachers are a little confident in their understanding of the ANZ Histories content. 2% of leaders and teachers are not at all confident in their understanding of the ANZ Histories content.

Figure 31: Leaders and teachers on how they find ANZ Histories content

Figure 31 is a graph showing leader and teacher agreement that ANZ Histories content is easy to use, and is clear and understandable. 73% of leaders and teachers agree that the ANZ Histories content is easy to use. 21% of leaders and teachers disagree that the ANZ Histories content is easy to use. 6% of leaders and teachers are not sure. 79% of leaders and teachers agree that the ANZ Histories content is clear and understandable. 17% of leaders and teachers disagree that the ANZ Histories content is clear and understandable. 4% of leaders and teachers are not sure.

Teachers consistently told us that by using the new curriculum content, they are better able to reflect the diversity of histories and make learning relevant to students. However, we also heard there is a lack of criteria or exemplars of student work and how other schools are implementing ANZ Histories curriculum content in the classroom. This made it difficult for them to self-assess their teaching.

Leaders are significantly more likely than teachers to be confident in their understanding of ANZ Histories curriculum content.

Four in five (84 percent) leaders are confident or very confident in their understanding of the ANZ Histories content, compared to just three in five (63 percent) teachers. This means one in three (37 percent) teachers are not yet secure in their teaching of ANZ Histories content, which is a concern for classroom implementation.

Figure 32: Confidence in understanding of ANZ Histories content - leaders compared to teachers

Figure 32 is a graph comparing leaders’ and teachers’ confidence in their understanding of the ANZ Histories content. 20% of teachers are very confident in their understanding of the ANZ Histories content. 43% of teachers are confident in their understanding of the ANZ Histories content. 34% of teachers are a little confident in their understanding of the ANZ Histories content. 3% of teachers are not at all confident in their understanding of the ANZ Histories content. 31% of leaders are very confident in their understanding of the ANZ Histories content. 53% of leaders are confident in their understanding of the ANZ Histories content. 15% of leaders are a little confident in their understanding of the ANZ Histories content. 2% of leaders are not at all confident in their understanding of the ANZ Histories content.

Leaders report that the Refreshed Curriculum is much clearer about why they are teaching content, which makes teachers more confident and empowered.

I like the new one [curriculum] because it’s specific. It showed I didn't have to reduce everything. I just saw the main points, the key questions, and I just went with that, took it away and then gave my own feel to it.” (Teacher)

Teachers see that collaborating with hapū and iwi is important for the implementation of ANZ Histories, but they don’t always have the cultural capability.

We consistently heard that leaders and teachers are wanting to build their own knowledge of local histories before they can plan for teaching ANZ Histories, and that they are wanting the support of local hapū and iwi to help with this. This aligns with the Ministry’s guidance which refers to the importance of developing partnerships with hapū and iwi to understand and plan for ANZ Histories, especially for the big idea ‘Māori history is the foundational and continuous history of Aotearoa New Zealand’.(22)

We've been told that we can't dive into teaching the history until we get upskilled in it ... And so we've continued since then to try and build relationships with iwi.” (School leader)

However, so far, half of schools (50 percent) have had limited or no engagement with hapū, iwi, or other local Māori on the refreshed Social Sciences, including ANZ Histories, and just two in five (40 percent) report input of a moderate to great extent.

We heard that teachers are not always confident to engage with hapū and iwi because they do not understand the processes (tikanga). This creates a difficult situation where hapū and iwi can help teachers to build their knowledge to implement ANZ Histories, but teachers require a certain level of cultural capability to engage with hapū and iwi.

“I would really like support making the Māori connections. You don't want to offend them, and while I want to make the connections, as someone entirely new to this area and white and with no connections to make in-roads, it's a little daunting.” (Teacher)

c) Confidence to teach ANZ Histories

More than two in five leaders (43 percent) reported teachers are not fully confident to teach ANZ Histories.

Figure 33: Leaders' confidence in their teachers to teach ANZ Histories

Figure 33 is a graph showing whether leaders think their teachers are confident to teach ANZ Histories 7% of leaders report that teachers are very confident to teach ANZ Histories. 47% of leaders report that teachers are confident to teach ANZ Histories. 38% of leaders report that teachers are a little confident to teach ANZ Histories. 5% of leaders report that teachers are not at all confident to teach ANZ Histories. 2% of leaders are not sure.

Leaders and teachers told us that there is a difference between what individuals know and what they are confident to teach. This is concerning as teacher confidence is associated with better student outcomes.(23) A teacher’s belief in their abilities supports resilience, and this can help them to overcome challenges and be more ambitious.

Leaders told us that teacher confidence was about where they expected it to be at this stage of implementing the new curriculum content. This is because the content is entirely new for some. Leaders also told us that these teachers need to grow their cultural capabilities before they can be confident to teach ANZ Histories, especially Māori histories.

Where students were responding well to the learning, teachers found this to be supportive of their confidence and they were more able to try new things.

“When the kids are engaged and motivated to learn about it, it just makes our job a lot easier.” (Teacher)  

Teachers told us they are not always sure if they are teaching the ANZ Histories content well.

A common concern for teachers was related to their ability to teach challenging topics without negatively impacting students. This was of particular concern in areas with contested or potentially divisive local histories.

Some of the topics seem really heavy and are hard to resource i.e. teaching about the Waitangi Tribunal. We don't necessarily know what they have covered and understood up to Year 8. The content is very North Island heavy.” (Teacher)

Teachers’ personal characteristics and connections affect their confidence to teach ANZ Histories.

Teachers reported being more confident to teach ANZ Histories if they are from, or well-connected to, the local area. This is due to the priority given to the histories of the local area and because teachers who are locally connected have a greater knowledge-base and know where or who to go to in order to seek out further knowledge. We heard that teachers who are newer to the area can be helped by having a ‘buddy’ teacher with local connections.

Māori teachers who are locally connected are especially confident. This was also in part due to the priority given by schools to local Māori histories in the implementation of ANZ Histories.

Teachers told us they do not always feel comfortable teaching histories outside their culture. This is particularly true for non-Māori teachers teaching Māori histories.

Teachers’ demographics affect their confidence to teach ANZ Histories. Māori teachers expressed greater confidence. Non-Māori teachers told us they feel they may not be the ‘right people’ to share Māori histories. Parents and whānau reported their own concerns about teachers representing the histories of people outside their own culture, in case they don’t know how to represent them sensitively.

Teachers told us they are more confident to teach when curriculum content for ANZ Histories has been approved by the local hapū or iwi.

However, we heard from leaders and teachers that collaboration requires both cultural capability, and time. Schools consistently told us that getting approval to share local histories was necessary to build and maintain relationships with hapū and iwi, who can regard local histories as precious (taonga). Teachers described that hapū and iwi want reassurance about how their histories will be used.

So we have been gifted [with] the local history. ... I've been given permission to share the contents page, but I can't show anybody the content of it, which is their decision, ... until we form a high trust relationship and get an agreed version of what happened in our local area.” (Primary school leader)

Most leaders and teachers (70 percent) report they have been supported at least moderately by the school leadership team to implement the changes for ANZ Histories.

Having the support of school leaders is important for confidence. Teachers described varying levels of comfort with being able to try things, and possibly make mistakes, within their school or classroom environment, due to their level of leadership support.

Figure 34: How much leaders and teachers have been supported by the school leadership team to implement the changes for ANZ Histories

Figure 34 shows how much leaders and teachers have been supported by the school leadership team to implement the changes for ANZ Histories.  35% of leaders and teachers have been supported by the school leadership team to a great extent. 35% of leaders and teachers have been supported by the school leadership team to a moderate extent. 23% of leaders and teachers have been supported by the school leadership team to a small extent. 5% of leaders and teachers have not been supported by the school leadership team at all. 2% of leaders and teachers are not sure.

d) Capacity to implement changes to ANZ Histories

Teachers report being overwhelmed by the scale of change.

Many teachers we spoke to are feeling able to make the necessary changes but need time and space to plan and implement them. Other teachers are concerned about the scale of the changes required. The scale of the changes helps explain why schools may not be planning to have fully implemented until 2024 (or later).

Despite there being more specificity in the Refreshed Curriculum content for ANZ Histories, teachers told us there is still a lot of scope to deliver the content in different ways, and they are unsure about how to start or what to move on to next in their teaching.

Please tell me what to teach, I am so sick and tired of being left to figure it all out for myself.” (Teacher)

Leaders told us they are overwhelmed by the volume of communications about the curriculum refresh from the Ministry, which they have been receiving through a range of channels.

The curriculum changes are also happening in the context of other changes affecting schools, which are competing priorities. Leaders and teachers told us they are running out of energy after making their initial changes, and leaders said they are deliberately implementing the changes in phases to avoid overwhelming teachers.

Leaders and teachers say that backward mapping the ANZ Histories curriculum content against what they previously taught is making the changes more manageable.

Leaders and teachers told us that curriculum planning was typically on a multi-year cycle, and this made it challenging to implement new curriculum content immediately. This meant some were looking at ways to modify what they were already teaching to align to the Refreshed Curriculum content. Leaders told us that the new ANZ Histories content simply validated or reinforced what they were already doing. Other leaders were needing to do significant re-writes of their school curriculum.

Conclusion

Nearly all teachers are enjoying teaching ANZ Histories because they can make learning more meaningful and relevant to their students. Māori teachers are most likely to be enjoying it. However, one in four teachers do not confidently understand the ANZ Histories content and some may not feel comfortable teaching histories outside their own culture. This is particularly true for non-Māori teachers teaching Māori histories. Leaders think teachers are largely positive about making the changes, but we consistently heard that the scale of the changes is overwhelming. Teachers need to grow their own knowledge of ANZ Histories before they can plan content and teach it. Confidence to teach ANZ Histories increases when the school curriculum content is developed together with the local hapū or iwi, and when teachers are supported by their leadership team. However, teachers don’t always know how to engage with hapū and iwi.

Part 4: What is the impact of ANZ Histories on parents and whānau?

Many parents and whānau are unaware of the changes to the curriculum. Those who are aware, have often not been told by their child’s school. Parents and whānau who know about the changes taking place in their child’s class are pleased and want to be involved.

Parents and whānau think ANZ Histories is important. However, not all parents think it is inclusive. They want more diverse histories to be covered, including more global histories. There also want content to be taught sensitively to avoid disengaging students.

What we looked at

ERO wanted to know if parents and whānau are aware of the curriculum refresh, particularly for the Social Sciences learning area, including ANZ Histories. We also wanted to know if they were aware of changes to teaching in their child’s classroom, and if they had been involved in planning for these changes. Parents and whānau who were aware of changes in their child’s classroom were asked further questions about the impacts on their child. This section covers:

  • what parents and whānau know about the changes to the curriculum, including the Social Sciences and ANZ Histories
  • how they are involved in the curriculum changes at their child’s school
  • what they think is important about ANZ Histories
  • what impacts parents and whānau are seeing, so far, for their child.

How we gathered this information

The findings in this section are based on:

  • surveys of parents and whānau
  • interviews with parents and whānau.

We collected our data in late term 3 and early term 4 of 2023.

We did not get many survey responses from Middle Eastern, Latin American, African (MELAA) parents and whānau and so the findings for this group are indicative.

What we found: An overview

Many parents and whānau are unaware of the changes to the curriculum, and most have not been told about, nor involved in, the changes to ANZ Histories by their child’s school. Parents and whānau that know something about the changes are getting their information from a range of sources. Often their information is not from schools.

Two-thirds (66 percent) of parents and whānau think ANZ Histories is useful for their child’s future. ANZ Histories fits their expectations for what schools ‘should’ offer. They like that their child is learning about diversity, and they see the importance of ANZ Histories for teaching research skills and critical thinking abilities. We heard that some parents and whānau want a greater range of histories to be covered, including more global histories.

Māori and Pacific parents and whānau are most likely, and NZ European parents and whānau least likely, to agree ANZ Histories is useful for their child’s future. Māori parents and whānau report that ANZ Histories has the potential to repair some of the disconnect felt by Māori and gives a sense of the history back to those for whom it was lost.

Only three in five (62 percent) parents and whānau think their child sees themselves represented in their learning for ANZ Histories. Pacific, Māori, and Asian parents and whānau are more likely, and NZ European parents and whānau least, likely to say this. 

Parents and whānau think ‘how’ curriculum content is delivered is as, or more, important than the material itself. They acknowledge that histories can be contentious and need to be taught sensitively to avoid disengaging students.

In the following section we set out these findings in more detail on

  1. what parents and whānau know about the changes to the curriculum, including the Social Sciences and ANZ Histories
  2. how they are involved in the curriculum changes at their child’s school
  3. what they think is important about ANZ Histories
  4. what impacts parents and whānau are seeing, so far, for their child.

a) What parents and whānau know about the curriculum changes

More than half (52 percent) of parents and whānau are unaware of the changes being made to the NZ national curriculum.

Similarly, half of parents and whānau (50 percent) do not know about the changes to the Social Sciences learning area which includes ANZ Histories.

Figure 35 : Parents and whānau awareness of the changes being made to NZ national curriculum

Figure 35 shows parent and whānau awareness of the changes being made to the NZ national curriculum. 48% of parents and whānau are aware of the changes being made to the NZ national curriculum. 52% of parents and whānau are unaware of the changes being made to the NZ national curriculum.

Figure 36: Parents and whānau awareness of the changes to Social Sciences learning area, including ANZ Histories

Figure 36 is a graph showing parent and whānau awareness of the changes to the Social Sciences learning area, including ANZ Histories. 50% of parents and whānau are aware of the changes to the Social Sciences learning area, including ANZ Histories. 50% of parents and whānau are unaware of the changes to the Social Sciences learning area, including ANZ Histories.

Most parents and whānau are not hearing about the changes from their school.

Of the parents and whānau who are aware of the changes to the Social Sciences learning area, only two in five (40 percent) heard about the changes from their child’s school. Slightly more (46 percent) heard about the changes from the mainstream media (e.g. TV news, news websites, radio, newspaper). Parents and whānau also heard about the changes from social media (28 percent) and through their communities (26 percent).

Figure 37: How parents and whānau heard about the changes to Social Sciences learning area, including ANZ Histories

Figure 37 is a graph showing how parents and whānau heard about the changes to Social Sciences learning area, including ANZ Histories. 46% of parents and whānau heard about the changes to Social Sciences learning area, including ANZ Histories, through the media. 40% of parents and whānau heard about the changes to Social Sciences learning area, including ANZ Histories, through their child’s school. 28% of parents and whānau heard about the changes to Social Sciences learning area, including ANZ Histories, through social media. 26% of parents and whānau heard about the changes to Social Sciences learning area, including ANZ Histories, through people in the community. 8% of parents and whānau heard about the changes to Social Sciences learning area, including ANZ Histories, through other sources.

Parents and whānau told us they had looked for more information about the changes themselves because they wanted to know more. They were seeking information by:

  • using the Ministry of Education website and engaging with the content there, including watching the videos
  • proactively asking the school.

I don't know when I saw it, but I saw something on the news and I thought about bloody time. But as for having any communication from my school, no. I do know that this year they did a project on making Marae, but that is the only thing that I'm aware of.” (Parent)

Most parents and whānau are unaware of any changes to teaching in their child’s class.

Almost three in five (56 percent) parents and whānau do not know if their child’s class has covered the new content for ANZ Histories.

Figure 38: Parents and whānau responses on whether they are aware that ANZ Histories has been covered in their child’s class

Figure 38 is a graph showing parent and whānau awareness of whether their child’s class has covered ANZ Histories content. 44% of parent and whānau are aware that their child’s class has covered ANZ Histories content. 56% of parent and whānau are unaware if their child’s class has covered ANZ Histories content

Schools routinely communicate with parents and whānau, but they are not commonly communicating with parents and whānau about the refresh of the curriculum.

I've had very little input, to be honest. I mean, we do communicate with the school about enrolments and bills and other things. But as far as what's actually happening in the classroom? I have very little of what they're doing at high school.” (Secondary school parent)

 

ERO asked some additional questions of parents and whānau who were aware that their child’s class had covered ANZ Histories or Social Sciences. The following findings in this part of the report are for this smaller group of parents and whānau.

Of the parents and whānau who are aware that their child’s class had covered ANZ Histories, their level of awareness of what their child is learning about is limited.

A third (34 percent) of these parents and whānau are moderately or extremely aware, and about half (54 percent) are slightly or somewhat aware of what their child is learning about in ANZ Histories.

Figure 39: Parent and whānau awareness of what their child is learning in ANZ Histories

Figure 39 is a graph showing how aware parents and whānau are about what their child is learning in ANZ Histories. 34% of parents and whānau are moderately or extremely aware of what their child is learning in ANZ Histories. 54% of parents and whānau are slightly or somewhat aware of what their child is learning in ANZ Histories. 12% of parents and whānau are not at all aware of what their child is learning in ANZ Histories.

Parents and whānau know things are changing but don’t know much about what the changes are. What they are noticing, is a greater emphasis on the teaching of Māori histories. Parents and whānau are less aware of the changes happening to Social Sciences more broadly. This may be due to the sequencing of the Curriculum Refresh, which started with the roll-out of ANZ Histories.

Parents and whānau are becoming aware of the ANZ Histories curriculum from the work their child is bringing home, especially projects that parents and whānau are helping their child with. Some of the new content has been generating discussions in the home.

I don't think that their communication is lacking … I love seeing my kids work come up on the app and them showing us at school, but [I want to know] from the teacher's point of view what they're actually teaching.” (Parent)

b) How parents are whānau are involved in the curriculum changes at their child’s school

ANZ Histories provides opportunities for schools to engage parents and whānau, but only a third (36 percent) of parents have been involved.

Schools have been encouraged to involve the wider school community, including parents and whānau, in the development of their curriculum for Social Sciences, including ANZ Histories. However, of the parents and whānau who know their child’s class has covered the new content, only a third (36 percent) agree the school has involved them with developing the ANZ Histories content.

Figure 40: Parent and whānau responses on whether their child’s school involved them in developing the content for ANZ Histories

Figure 40 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the content for ANZ Histories. 11% of parents and whānau strongly agree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the content for ANZ Histories.  25% of parents and whānau agree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the content for ANZ Histories.  37% of parents and whānau disagree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the content for ANZ Histories. 16% of parents and whānau strongly disagree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the content for ANZ Histories. 11% are not sure.

Pacific and Asian parents have had greater involvement in developing content for ANZ Histories.

About half of Pacific (49 percent) and Asian (47 percent) parents and whānau have been involved in developing their school’s curriculum for ANZ Histories. Less than a third of NZ European (29 percent) and MELAA (27 percent) parents and whānau have been involved.

Figure 41: Parent and whānau responses on whether their child’s school involved them in developing the content for ANZ Histories, by ethnicity

Figure 41 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the content for ANZ Histories, for different ethnicities. For NZ European parents and whānau, 29% agree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the content for ANZ Histories. 62% of NZ European parents and whānau disagree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the content for ANZ Histories. 8% are not sure. For Māori parents and whānau, 42% agree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the content for ANZ Histories. 49% of Māori parents and whānau disagree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the content for ANZ Histories. 8% are not sure. For Asian parents and whānau, 47% agree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the content for ANZ Histories. 35% of Asian parents and whānau disagree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the content for ANZ Histories. 18% are not sure. For Pacific parents and whānau, 49% agree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the content for ANZ Histories. 43% of Pacific parents and whānau disagree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the content for ANZ Histories. 8% are not sure. For MELAA parents and whānau, 27% agree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the content for ANZ Histories. 67% of MELAA parents and whānau disagree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the content for ANZ Histories. 7% are not sure.

Parents and whānau want to be involved in helping the school to implement ANZ Histories.

We heard parents are involved in developing the ANZ Histories content at some schools, and even helping to teach the content to students. This is most likely to be where school engagement with parents is already high.

“It might be because we're a smaller school, but the teachers are very open to having parents in their classroom, too, and contribute to the classroom rather than being, oh, just come and watch, sit in the back... It's the view of the school that it's the community that actually raises the kids..” (Parent, rural school)

We heard at other schools, that engagement with parents and whānau was specifically prompted by the implementation of ANZ Histories, which was resulting in improved relationships. However, we consistently heard that parents and whānau are not involved or want to be more involved.

“I don't come with like letters after my name and I can only tell you the stories that I know, but I'm happy to share what I know ... we were a brave people and I don't want that to be forgotten. But yeah, the likelihood that someone's gonna ask us for help, I think, is quite slim. I'm ready to help.” (Parent)

Three in five (62 percent) parents and whānau report that the school finds out about their culture to support the teaching of ANZ Histories.

While many parents and whānau may not be helping the school to develop curriculum content, three in five (62 percent) say the school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support the teaching of ANZ Histories.

Figure 42: Parent and whānau responses on whether their child's school finds about the culture of their whānau to support teaching ANZ Histories

Figure 42 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching ANZ Histories. 14% of parents and whānau strongly agree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching ANZ Histories.  48% of parents and whānau agree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching ANZ Histories.  20% of parents and whānau disagree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching ANZ Histories. 7% of parents and whānau strongly disagree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching ANZ Histories. 10% are not sure.

Māori parents and whānau are most likely (70 percent), and NZ European parents and whānau least likely (60 percent), to agree that the school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support the teaching of ANZ Histories.

Figure 43: Parent and whānau responses on whether their child's school finds about the culture of their whānau to support teaching ANZ Histories, by ethnicity

Figure 43 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching ANZ Histories, for different ethnicities. For NZ European parents and whānau, 60% agree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching ANZ Histories. 30% of NZ European parents and whānau disagree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching ANZ Histories. 10% are not sure. For Māori parents and whānau, 70% agree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching ANZ Histories. 24% of Māori parents and whānau disagree their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching ANZ Histories. 6% are not sure. For Asian parents and whānau, 66% agree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching ANZ Histories. 21% of Asian parents and whānau disagree their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching ANZ Histories. 12% are not sure. For Pacific parents and whānau, 63% agree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching ANZ Histories. 18% of Pacific parents and whānau disagree their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching ANZ Histories. 18% are not sure. For MELAA parents and whānau, 67% agree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching ANZ Histories. 27% of MELAA parents and whānau disagree their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching ANZ Histories. 7% are not sure.

We heard schools are trying hard to seek input to ANZ Histories. Teachers told us they encourage parents and whānau to share their expert knowledge but find it a challenge to engage them for a variety of reasons. For example, sometimes the community is very transient, working parents are often too busy, and sometimes the school has been prioritising engagement with parents and whānau on other things, including other changes happening in the school.

c) What parents and whānau think is important about ANZ Histories

Two-thirds (66 percent) of parents and whānau report that ANZ Histories is useful for their child’s future.

Parents and whānau told us that schools are becoming more aware of the different cultures in the room, and they like that their children are learning about diversity. They thought this learning could help address racism and other forms of discrimination. 

I think that's part of what's good about this curriculum - if it's done well - to give us a language for having respectful conversations, and an understanding that people's experiences of the same thing can be quite different. You know? Makes me feel hopeful for the future.” (Secondary school parent)

Parents and whānau also see the importance of ANZ Histories for teaching research skills and critical thinking abilities, to help their children filter through the masses of information they can access through social media everyday.

It's about developing other skills that they get, not just necessarily the information. I mean, we can google information until we’re blue in the face, but we need to be able to sort that information into what's actually relevant to us. And I think that's probably the more important skill than what we're teaching the kids.” (Secondary school parent)

Figure 44: Parent and whānau responses on whether the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are useful for their future

Figure 44 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are useful for their future.  21% of parents and whānau strongly agree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are useful for their future.  45% of parents and whānau agree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are useful for their future.  11% of parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are useful for their future. 5% of parents and whānau strongly disagree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are useful for their future. 17% are not sure.

Māori and Pacific parents and whānau are most likely, and NZ European parents and whānau least likely, to agree ANZ Histories is useful for their child’s future.

Three-quarters (74 percent) of Māori and Pacific parents and whānau agree ANZ Histories is useful for their child’s future, compared to three in five (59 percent) NZ European parents and whānau, who are also most likely to disagree it is useful – almost a quarter (23 percent) disagree.

Figure 45: Parent and whānau responses on whether the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are useful for their future, by ethnicity

Figure 45 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are useful for their future, for different ethnicities.  For NZ European parents and whānau, 59% agree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are useful for their future. 23% of NZ European parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are useful for their future. 18% are not sure. For Māori parents and whānau, 74% agree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are useful for their future. 10% of Māori parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are useful for their future. 16% are not sure. For Asian parents and whānau, 71% agree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are useful for their future. 8% of Asian parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are useful for their future. 19% are not sure. For Pacific parents and whānau, 74% agree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are useful for their future. 11% of Pacific parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are useful for their future. 15% are not sure. For MELAA parents and whānau, 67% agree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are useful for their future. 20% of MELAA parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are useful for their future. 13% are not sure.

Māori parents and whānau report that the ANZ Histories content has the potential to repair some of the disconnect felt by Māori, especially urban Māori. They say that building stories and identity (including through connecting to their whakapapa) gives a sense of the history back to those for whom it was lost.

I just think it'd be great …. for happier children. For more well-balanced adults going forward to know their whakapapa. It makes a better human.” (Māori parent)

Most parents and whānau think that ANZ Histories is relevant to their community.

Almost seven in 10 (67 percent) parents and whānau think that the things their child is learning about in ANZ Histories are relevant to their community. Almost another two in 10 (17 percent) parents and whānau are unsure.

Figure 46: Parent and whānau responses on whether the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are relevant to their community

Figure 46 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are relevant to their community.  18% of parents and whānau strongly agree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are relevant to their community.  49% of parents and whānau agree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are relevant to their community.  11% of parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are relevant to their community. 5% of parents and whānau strongly disagree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are relevant to their community. 17% are not sure.

Parents consider their child’s learning about ANZ Histories to be relevant to their community because of the focus on the histories of the immediate area around the school and where they live.

However, as discussed earlier in this report, only half (47 percent) of students agree their teacher helps them connect their learning in ANZ Histories to their family and whānau and community.

Asian parents and whānau are most likely, and NZ European parents and whānau least likely, to agree the things their child is learning in ANZ Histories are relevant to their community.

Almost three-quarters (74 percent) of Asian parents whānau agree, compared to less than two-thirds (63 percent) of NZ European parents and whānau.

Figure 47: Parent and whānau responses on whether the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are relevant to their community, by ethnicity

Figure 47 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are relevant to their community, for different ethnicities.  For NZ European parents and whānau, 63% agree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are relevant to their community. 19% of NZ European parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are relevant to their community. 18% are not sure. For Māori parents and whānau, 70% agree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are relevant to their community. 13% of Māori parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are relevant to their community. 16% are not sure. For Asian parents and whānau, 74% agree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are relevant to their community. 13% of Asian parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are relevant to their community. 13% are not sure. For Pacific parents and whānau, 68% agree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are relevant to their community. 14% of Pacific parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are relevant to their community. 18% are not sure. For MELAA parents and whānau, 73% agree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are relevant to their community. 20% of MELAA parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are relevant to their community. 7% are not sure.

Parents and whānau say that the ANZ Histories is helping their child to know where they come from and this is helping them to develop pride in their identity. This was particularly strong with Māori parents and whānau, who say knowing where you come from is important and are pleased about the recognition of Māori perspectives in ANZ Histories.

We heard that some schools are making an effort to include the local histories of Chinese people, which may help explain the high proportion of Asian parents and whānau who think ANZ Histories is relevant to their community.

Parents and whānau think ‘how’ ANZ Histories is taught is as, or more important, than the material itself.

Parents and whānau acknowledge that histories can be contentious and need to be taught sensitively to avoid disengaging students. We heard concerns about whether their child will be taught the ‘right’ histories:

“I agree with the [ANZ] history and teaching, just as long as it's told like the right way and, actual factual history, where it's not just someone’s opinion.” (Māori parent)

Parents and whānau raised the concern that if not taught well, ANZ Histories can promote ‘negative perceptions’ of histories. This was raised by a range of parents, but most often by NZ European parents and whānau. A few parents told us that the presentation of some of the ANZ Histories content was disengaging for their child, who felt ‘to blame’ for past events.

We heard that some histories may be too sensitive to be taught at all, or should be taught only when children are old enough to understand the complexities. For example, one Māori parent told us that teaching about the Treaty (Te Tiriti o Waitangi) should wait until secondary school:

“I don't know that I'd really want them to focus on the Treaty because there's so much thought and feelings and difference of opinions behind it. I think that's more of a college thing than a primary school thing … I feel like I will tell her what I want her to know, based on what my father told me.” (Māori parent)

An example: Parents and whānau engaging in their child’s learning about ANZ Histories

A parent shared how their school used a range of strategies to connect with families around the teaching and learning of ANZ Histories.

ERO heard that most parents and whānau receive their information about ANZ Histories from news media and social media, rather than their child’s school. However, we heard from one parent of an intermediate school student who was informed about this area of learning through the school’s community newsletter. The newsletter shared the topics the school was planning to include in their ANZ Histories learning that year – the ‘big categories and all the sub-categories' – to give parents and whānau some idea of what to expect.

This parent deepened their understanding of the ANZ Histories content through involvement in homework activities and projects that their child brought home. For example, their child was asked to do their own research in order to create a diorama (a three-dimensional scene) as well as some writing. This student also talked to their parent about a group discussion they had participated in with their class, which was facilitated to support critical thinking.

The parent encouraged their child to continue apply critical thinking to their diorama project, asking the questions about why events had taken place and what the reasons were behind them, getting them to think about the context back then: “What happened back then and why- what’s the sequence of events?”

This parent also supported their child to connect their learning about ANZ Histories to their own family and community. This parent shared that their child is a ‘kiwi’ whose parents had migrated to New Zealand from North Africa and Asia. Their parents were able to provide some global context and help to draw connections between what she was learning about ANZ Histories and the histories of her ancestors, for example, through the focus on colonisation within the ‘big ideas’.

Because some of this work needed to happen outside of class, this parent had opportunities to support and enrich their child’s learning. We heard that parents are generally interested in learning about ANZ Histories themselves and like the focus on critical thinking. This particular parent emphasised their view of the importance of ANZ Histories through the words of their child: “We have to learn about the past, to avoid committing the same mistakes in our present and also to progress in the future.”

We heard that parents and whānau want a range of histories to be covered, including more global histories.

Parents and whānau also spoke about the importance of covering a range of histories and telling positive histories. The don’t want the focus of ANZ Histories to be entirely on negative events. For example:

“... I don't know. I've never heard my daughter talk about like when Sir Edmund Hillary climbed Mount Everest. Like I've never heard her speak about that. ... maybe that's not a social science thing, but it's part of our history. ... maybe we need to find some great people like him and, like, you know, flesh out what happened during those times.” (Parent)

Aligning with what teachers and students have said, parents consistently told us that they want more global histories. This is because their children are globally connected through social media, and this makes them, naturally, interested in global events. They also say that Aotearoa New Zealand shouldn’t be seen in a vacuum. This point of view was especially common among the migrant parents we spoke to.  

“[M]y kids come home from school, and they say “why are we learning all this? It's only relevant in New Zealand”. … A lot of their friends are from all corners of the earth, and they have such a global perspective now, a lot more than we did when we were growing up. And so they wonder “how is this going to help me in future learning Māori and New Zealand history? How is this going to help me if I go and work in Europe or the US or Australia?”” NZ European parent

d) What impacts parents and whānau are seeing for their child

Seven in 10 (72 percent) parents and whānau told us their child feels included when they are learning about ANZ Histories.

A further two in 10 (19 percent) parents and whānau aren’t sure if their child feels included. Pacific parents and family are most likely (82 percent), and NZ European parents and whānau the least likely (68 percent), to agree that their child feels included.

Figure 48: Parent and whānau responses on whether their child feels included when they're learning about ANZ Histories

Figure 48 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether their child feels included when they're learning about ANZ Histories. 17% of parents and whānau strongly agree that their child feels included when they're learning about ANZ Histories.  55% of parents and whānau agree that their child feels included when they're learning about ANZ Histories.  6% of parents and whānau disagree that their child feels included when they're learning about ANZ Histories. 3% of parents and whānau strongly disagree that their child feels included when they're learning about ANZ Histories. 19% are not sure.

Figure 49: Parent and whānau responses on whether their child feels included when they're learning about ANZ Histories, by ethnicity

Figure 49 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether their child feels included when they're learning about ANZ Histories, for different ethnicities. For NZ European parents and whānau, 68% agree that their child feels included when they're learning about ANZ Histories. 9% of NZ European parents and whānau disagree that their child feels included when they're learning about ANZ Histories. 23% are not sure. For Māori parents and whānau, 70% agree that their child feels included when they're learning about ANZ Histories. 9% of Māori parents and whānau disagree that their child feels included when they're learning about ANZ Histories. 21% are not sure. For Asian parents and whānau, 79% agree that their child feels included when they're learning about ANZ Histories. 9% of Asian parents and whānau disagree that their child feels included when they're learning about ANZ Histories. 12% are not sure. For Pacific parents and whānau, 82% agree that their child feels included when they're learning about ANZ Histories. 6% of Pacific parents and whānau disagree that their child feels included when they're learning about ANZ Histories. 11% are not sure. For MELAA parents and whānau, 80% agree that their child feels included when they're learning about ANZ Histories. 7% of MELAA parents and whānau disagree that their child feels included when they're learning about ANZ Histories. 13% are not sure.

Parents and whānau told us it was important that the learning was inclusive of everyone’s histories:

“I feel like we're on the right track, talking about the Dawn raids and Kate Shepherd and stuff. I think [we] just [need to be] continuing with that, being inclusive of everyone's history.” (Parent)

Three in five (62 percent) parents and whānau think their child sees themselves represented in their learning for ANZ Histories.

A further one in five (23 percent) are unsure if their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning about ANZ Histories. Pacific parents and whānau are most likely (77 percent), and NZ European parents and whānau least likely (55 percent), to say their child can see themselves represented in their learning about ANZ Histories.

Figure 50: Parent and whānau responses on whether they think their child can see themselves represented in things they are learning about in ANZ Histories

Figure 50 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning about in ANZ Histories. 15% of parents and whānau strongly agree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning about in ANZ Histories.  47% of parents and whānau agree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning about in ANZ Histories.  12% of parents and whānau disagree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning about in ANZ Histories. 3% of parents and whānau strongly disagree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning about in ANZ Histories. 23% are not sure.

Figure 51: Parent and whānau responses on whether their child can see themselves represented in things they are learning about ANZ Histories, by ethnicity

Figure 51 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning about in ANZ Histories, for different ethnicities. For NZ European parents and whānau, 55% agree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning about in ANZ Histories. 17% of NZ European parents and whānau disagree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning about in ANZ Histories. 28% are not sure. For Māori parents and whānau, 69% agree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning about in ANZ Histories. 10% of Māori parents and whānau disagree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning about in ANZ Histories. 21% are not sure. For Asian parents and whānau, 69% agree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning about in ANZ Histories. 10% of Asian parents and whānau disagree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning about in ANZ Histories. 21% are not sure. For Pacific parents and whānau, 77% agree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning about in ANZ Histories. 8% of Pacific parents and whānau disagree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning about in ANZ Histories. 14% are not sure. For MELAA parents and whānau, 67% agree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning about in ANZ Histories. 33% of MELAA parents and whānau disagree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning about in ANZ Histories.

As we heard in earlier in this report, Pacific students are enjoying the increased focus on Pacific histories within the ANZ Histories content. Their parents and whānau are aware of this and tell us it is helping their child build a sense of belonging and pride in their identity.

I feel like it's given [my daughter] that sense of ‘I belong here’. And also I'm proud to be from this country’.” (Pacific parent)

Seven in 10 (69 percent) parents and whānau think that what is being taught is at the right level for their child.

However, two in 10 (21 percent) are unsure and one in 10 (11 percent) parents and whānau disagree the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are at the right level for them.

Figure 52: Parent and whānau responses on whether the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are at the right level for them

Figure 52 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are at the right level for them. 15% of parents and whānau strongly agree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are at the right level for them.  54% of parents and whānau agree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are at the right level for them.  7% of parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are at the right level for them. 4% of parents and whānau strongly disagree that the things their child is learning about ANZ Histories are at the right level for them. 21% are not sure.

We sometimes heard that parents and whānau don’t think their child is challenged enough – that the level is too easy – and they can be pushed a bit more. We heard from a migrant parent that the Aotearoa New Zealand education system, generally, is too easy on the children. They wanted students to have more stimulation and challenges to help them learn how to think (critically).

Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of parents and whānau are happy with their child’s progress in ANZ Histories, even if only half (51 percent) say the school informs them about their child’s progress in ANZ Histories.

Figure 53: Parent and whānau responses on whether they are happy with their child's progress in ANZ Histories

Figure 53 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether they are happy with their child's progress in ANZ Histories. 16% of parents and whānau strongly agree that they are happy with their child's progress in ANZ Histories.  47% of parents and whānau agree that they are happy with their child's progress in ANZ Histories.  9% of parents and whānau disagree that they are happy with their child's progress in ANZ Histories. 4% of parents and whānau strongly disagree that they are happy with their child's progress in ANZ Histories. 23% are not sure.

Figure 54: Parent and whānau responses on whether their child's school informs them about their child's progress in ANZ Histories

Figure 54 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether their child's school informs them about their child's progress in ANZ Histories. 14% of parents and whānau strongly agree that their child's school informs them about their child's progress in ANZ Histories.  37% of parents and whānau agree that their child's school informs them about their child's progress in ANZ Histories.  26% of parents and whānau disagree that their child's school informs them about their child's progress in ANZ Histories. 9% of parents and whānau strongly disagree that their child's school informs them about their child's progress in ANZ Histories. 13% are not sure.

Almost a third (32 percent) of parents and whānau report they don’t have the information they need to support their child’s learning ANZ Histories.

Parents and whānau consistently told us that they want to know how their child is progressing, so they know if and how to help them at home.

Figure 55: Parent and whānau responses on whether they have the information they need to support their child's learning about ANZ Histories

Figure 55 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether they have the information they need to support their child's learning about ANZ Histories. 13% of parents and whānau strongly agree that they have the information they need to support their child's learning about ANZ Histories.  44% of parents and whānau agree that they have the information they need to support their child's learning about ANZ Histories.  24% of parents and whānau disagree that they have the information they need to support their child's learning about ANZ Histories. 8% of parents and whānau strongly disagree that they have the information they need to support their child's learning about ANZ Histories. 11% are not sure.

Conclusion

Many parents and whānau are unaware of the changes to the curriculum. Of those who are aware, most think ANZ Histories is useful for their child’s future. They like that their child is learning about diversity and developing critical thinking skills. However, they want a greater range of histories to be covered including more global histories. Māori and Pacific parents and whānau are most likely, and NZ European parents and whānau least likely, to agree ANZ Histories is useful for their child’s future. Pacific, Māori, and Asian parents and whānau are more likely, and NZ European parents and whānau least likely to think their child sees themselves represented in their learning for ANZ Histories. Parents and whānau think ‘how’ curriculum content is delivered is as, or more, important than the material itself. They acknowledge that histories can be contentious and needs to be taught sensitively to avoid disengaging students.

 

Part 5: What is the impact of the refreshed Social Sciences learning area?

Schools are focused on implementing ANZ Histories, rather than the wider refreshed Social Sciences learning area. Leaders and teachers are less confident in their understanding of the refreshed Social Sciences compared to their understanding of ANZ Histories. However, three-quarters of teachers are positive about making the required changes.

So far, half of students enjoy learning and like to participate when they are learning about Social Sciences. However, some students feel more included and connected to who they are, and to their whānau and community, when learning Social Sciences, than others. Parents and whānau have limited awareness of changes to the Social Sciences learning area. Of those who are aware, seven in 10 think it’s useful for their child’s future and two-thirds are happy with their child’s progress, even if they are not always informed of progress by the school.

What we looked at

ERO wanted to know what impact the refreshed Social Science learning area is having so far, beyond the ANZ Histories content. The Social Sciences, sometimes referred to as Social Studies in primary schools, is the study of how societies work, both now, in the past, and in the future. It includes subject areas like history, geography, economics, psychology, sociology, and media studies. Students can specialise in these subjects, typically at senior secondary school.

We wanted to know about the impact of the refreshed Social Sciences learning area on students, teachers, and parents and whānau. In this section we share what we found. This section covers:

  • impact on student engagement
  • impact on student belonging
  • leaders’ and teachers’ capability and confidence to teach the refreshed Social Science learning area
  • parent and whānau awareness of, and involvement in, the changes to the refreshed Social Science learning area
  • what parents and whānau think is important about Social Sciences
  • what impacts parents and whānau are seeing for their child.

How we gathered this information

The findings in this section are based on:

  • surveys with students
  • surveys and interviews with school leaders and teachers
  • surveys and interviews with parents and whānau
  • interviews with experts in curriculum and/or relevant subject matter.

We collected our data in late Term 3 and early Term 4 of 2023.

When we sent our surveys to schools, we asked them to share the student survey with classes that had covered the refreshed Social Sciences. We did not get many survey responses from Middle Eastern, Latin American, African (MELAA) parents and whānau and so the findings for this group are indicative.

What we found: An overview

Schools are focused on implementing ANZ Histories more than the broader Social Sciences. We commonly heard that schools have made limited or no changes to their broader Social Sciences teaching. Schools are focused on implementing ANZ Histories and staging implementation to avoid teachers being overwhelmed. This means the findings are only indicative, as they may reflect some teaching of the previous Social Sciences content and things may change as implementation of the refreshed content progresses.

More than half of students enjoy learning (56 percent) and like to participate (57 percent) in learning about Social Sciences. Asian and NZ European students are enjoying Social Sciences the most, and MELAA and Māori students the least. This is different to ANZ Histories, which Māori and Pacific students enjoy the most and MELAA students the least.

Pacific students are most likely to feel included and connected to who they are, and their whānau and community, when learning about Social Sciences.

NZ European students are least likely to feel connected to their whānau and community when learning either about Social Sciences or ANZ Histories.

Leaders and teachers are less confident in their understanding of the refreshed Social Sciences compared to their understanding of ANZ Histories. So far, 61 percent are confident in their understanding of the Social Sciences, compared to 75 percent who are confident in their understanding of the ANZ Histories content. However, three-quarters (75 percent) of teachers are still positive about making the necessary changes to their teaching for Social Sciences.

Almost seven in 10 (68 percent) parents and whānau agree that the things their child is learning in Social Sciences are useful for their future. Asian and MELAA parents and whānau are most likely, and NZ European parents and whānau least likely, to agree.

In the following section we set out these findings in more detail on:

  1. student engagement
  2. student belonging
  3. leaders and teachers’ capability
  4. parent and whānau awareness of, and involvement in, the changes
  5. what parents and whānau think is important about Social Sciences
  6. what impacts parents and whānau are seeing for their child.

a) Student engagement

More than half of students enjoy, and like to participate in class, when learning about Social Sciences (56 percent and 57 percent respectively).

This is similar to the proportion of students who enjoy, and like to participate, when learning ANZ Histories (54 percent and 56 percent respectively). Of concern is that one in five don’t enjoy, or like to participate, when learning Social Sciences (20 percent and 17 percent respectively).

Figure 56: Student responses on enjoyment and participation when learning Social Sciences

Figure 56 is a graph showing students’ agreement that they enjoy learning about Social Sciences and like to participate in class when learning about Social Sciences.  56% of students agree that they enjoy learning about Social Sciences. 20% disagree that they enjoy learning Social Sciences. 21% are not sure. 57% of students agree that they like to participate in class when learning about Social Sciences. 17% disagree that they like to participate in class when learning about Social Sciences. 22% are not sure.

Students engage in learning when they enjoy the material, and when they think they are good at it. Students told us that they enjoy the opportunities to learn about a range of Social Science subject areas, such as geography, politics, or economics.

“I very much enjoyed learning about inventors in the past, and how the past changed the future. I'm also quite intrigued in New Zealand's politics and businesses.” (Primary school student)

We heard that secondary school students enjoy learning about current social issues that could help them have a real-world impact.

“I've noticed since we learned about fair trade, I've started looking at chocolate - like the packaging [to] see if it's fair trade. [Teacher] brought in, a whole bunch of chocolate wrappers and we looked at the different packaging and then the fair trade symbol.” (Secondary school student)

Some students have ambitions to travel and welcomed the opportunity to learn about a wide range of people. They told us they enjoy Social Sciences because it feels useful to develop an understanding of the world.

Students told us they liked having a variety of ways to engage with Social Sciences.

I enjoyed the lesson the way [it was delivered], like, he [teacher] had quite a big variety of different things that we would do on different days. So it wasn't just; you go in to class and you sit down and do the work. You actually … want to get involved. (Student)

Asian and NZ European students are enjoying Social Sciences the most, and MELAA and Māori students the least.

The overall level of enjoyment is similar to ANZ Histories but the pattern of who enjoys it is different. Pacific and Māori students are enjoying ANZ Histories the most and NZ European and MELAA students the least.

Figure 57: Student responses on whether they enjoy learning about Social Sciences, by ethnicity

Figure 57 is a graph showing students’ agreement that they enjoy learning about Social Sciences, for different ethnicities.  For NZ European students, 58% agree that they enjoy learning about Social Sciences. 22% of NZ European students disagree that they enjoy learning about Social Sciences. 19% are not sure. For Māori students, 48% agree that they enjoy learning about Social Sciences. 22% of Māori students disagree that they enjoy learning about Social Sciences. 27% are not sure. For Asian students, 59% agree that they enjoy learning about Social Sciences. 20% of Asian students disagree that they enjoy learning about Social Sciences. 19% are not sure. For Pacific students, 51% agree that they enjoy learning about Social Sciences. 15% of Pacific students disagree that they enjoy learning about Social Sciences. 32% are not sure. For MELAA students, 49% agree that they enjoy learning about Social Sciences. 18% of MELAA students disagree that they enjoy learning about Social Sciences. 31% are not sure.

Students told us that they enjoyed the connections Social Sciences could make with their culture:

“I enjoyed celebrating my own culture that I come from, for example it was fun learning about Chinese culture because I am Chinese.” (Asian student)

We also heard from MELAA students who had enjoyed learning about the Black civil rights movement in Social Sciences.

More than half of teachers (57 percent) see positive impacts on students due to the refreshed Social Sciences learning area.

Possibly because of the limited implementation of the refreshed Social Sciences learning area so far, a third (33 percent) of teachers aren’t sure about the impacts on students.

Figure 58: Teacher responses on whether they see positive impacts on students due to the refreshed Social Sciences learning area

Figure 58 is a graph showing teacher agreement about whether they see positive impacts on students due to the refreshed Social Sciences learning area. 13% of teachers strongly agree that they see positive impacts on students due to the refreshed Social Sciences learning area. 44% of teachers agree that they see positive impacts on students due to the refreshed Social Sciences learning area. 9% of teachers disagree that they see positive impacts on students due to the refreshed Social Sciences learning area. 1% of teachers strongly disagree that they see positive impacts on students due to the refreshed Social Sciences learning area. 33% are not sure.

b) Student belonging

Two-thirds (65 percent) of students agree they feel included when they are learning about Social Sciences.

This is similar to the proportion of students who feel included for ANZ Histories (68 percent). Feeling included is important for engagement because we found that students who agree their teacher makes them feel included are two-and-a-half times more likely to enjoy learning about Social Sciences (than students who don’t feel included).

Figure 59: Student responses on whether their teacher makes them feel included when learning about Social Sciences

Figure 59 is a graph showing students’ agreement that their teacher makes them feel included when learning about Social Sciences.  14% of students strongly agree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning about Social Sciences. 51% of students agree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning about Social Sciences. 7% of students disagree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning about Social Sciences. 4% of students strongly disagree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning about Social Sciences. 21% of students are not sure.

Pacific and NZ European students are most likely, and MELAA students least likely, to feel included when learning Social Sciences.

About two-thirds of Pacific students (67 percent), NZ European students (65 percent), and Asian students (63 percent) feel included, compared to just over half (53 percent) of MELAA students. This is consistent with ANZ Histories where MELAA students also feel less included.

Figure 60: Student responses on whether their teacher makes them feel included when learning Social Sciences, by ethnicity

Figure 60 is a graph showing students’ agreement that their teacher makes them feel included when learning Social Sciences, for different ethnicities.  For NZ European students, 65% agree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning Social Sciences. 12% of NZ European students disagree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning Social Sciences. 22% are not sure. For Māori students, 60% agree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning Social Sciences. 11% of Māori students disagree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning Social Sciences. 26% are not sure. For Asian students, 63% agree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning Social Sciences. 15% of Asian students disagree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning Social Sciences. 17% are not sure. For Pacific students, 67% agree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning Social Sciences. 7% of Pacific students disagree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning Social Sciences. 23% are not sure. For MELAA students, 53% agree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning Social Sciences. 11% of MELAA students disagree that their teacher makes them feel included when learning Social Sciences. 33% are not sure.

Less than half of students agree their teacher helps them to connect to their whānau and community (45 percent), and to who they are (47 percent), when learning Social Sciences.

These are similar to the proportions for ANZ Histories (51 percent and 47 percent respectively). This may reflect a consistent challenge for teachers in connecting learning to students’ lives.

Figure 61: Student responses to whether their teacher helps them connect learning to their whānau and community, and to who they are, when learning Social Sciences

Figure 61 is a graph showing students’ agreement that their teacher connects what they are learning to their whānau and community, and to who they are, when learning Social Sciences.  45% of students agree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning Social Sciences. 21% of students disagree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning Social Sciences. 30% are not sure. 47% of students agree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to who they are, when learning Social Sciences. 21% of students disagree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to who they are, when learning Social Sciences. 29% are not sure

Pacific students feel most connected to the Social Sciences learning area and NZ European students the least.

Three in five (60 percent) Pacific students agree their teacher helps them connect to their whānau and community when learning Social Sciences, compared to just two in five (40 percent) NZ European students.

NZ European students report being least connected – a quarter (25 percent). This is similar to what NZ European students said about ANZ Histories and may indicate a broader issue of how well the Social Science learning area, including ANZ Histories is connecting with NZ European students.

Figure 62: Student responses on whether their teacher helps them connect what they learn to their whānau and community when learning Social Sciences, by ethnicity

Figure 62 is a graph showing students’ agreement that their teacher connects what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning Social Sciences, for different ethnicities. For NZ European students, 40% agree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning Social Sciences. 25% of NZ European students disagree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning Social Sciences. 33% are not sure. For Māori students, 43% agree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning Social Sciences. 22% of Māori students disagree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning Social Sciences. 33% are not sure. For Asian students, 47% agree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning Social Sciences. 21% of Asian students disagree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning Social Sciences. 26% are not sure. For Pacific students, 60% agree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning Social Sciences. 12% of Pacific students disagree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning Social Sciences. 24% are not sure. For MELAA students, 42% agree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning Social Sciences. 18% of MELAA students disagree that their teacher helps them connect what they are learning to their whānau and community, when learning Social Sciences. 36% are not sure.

c) Leaders’ and teachers’ capability and confidence

Three-quarters (75 percent) of teachers are feeling positive about making changes to their teaching for the Social Sciences learning area.

This is the same proportion as for leaders, with three-quarters of leaders (75 percent) reporting that their teachers are feeling positive about making changes to their teaching for the Social Sciences learning area.

Figure 63: Teachers' responses on whether they feel positive about making changes to their teaching for the Social Sciences learning area

Figure 63 is a graph showing teacher agreement about whether they feel positive about making changes to their teaching for the Social Sciences learning area. 19% of teachers strongly agree that they feel positive about making changes to their teaching for the Social Sciences learning area. 56% of teachers agree that they feel positive about making changes to their teaching for the Social Sciences learning area. 6% of teachers disagree that they feel positive about making changes to their teaching for the Social Sciences learning area. 1% of teachers strongly disagree that they feel positive about making changes to their teaching for the Social Sciences learning area. 18% are not sure.

Figure 64: Leaders' responses on whether their teachers are feeling positive about making changes to their teaching for the Social Sciences learning area

Figure 64 is a graph showing whether leaders think their teachers are feeling positive about making changes to their teaching for the Social Sciences learning area. 11% of leaders strongly agree that their teachers are feeling positive about making changes to their teaching for the Social Sciences learning area. 64% of leaders agree that their teachers are feeling positive about making changes to their teaching for the Social Sciences learning area. 14% of leaders disagree that their teachers are feeling positive about making changes to their teaching for the Social Sciences learning area. 3% of leaders strongly disagree that their teachers are feeling positive about making changes to their teaching for the Social Sciences learning area. 8% of leaders are not sure.

Leaders told us they are actively managing stress and workloads to help make the curriculum changes manageable. We heard that teachers are “overwhelmed” by the amount of change they are facing. In response, some leaders are taking a whole school approach and sharing the tasks across staff, rather than leaving it up to teachers alone.

Other leaders talked about ‘chunking’ the changes, based on what their priorities are. Schools are often choosing to tackle ANZ Histories first, setting a clear expectation that teachers did not have to engage with the refreshed Social Sciences until the school was ready.

“I think we've got to be realistic about workloads and, you know, dealing with urgent [things first]. I think we've got a lot coming down the pipeline soon and I'm really hopeful that thought will be given to face to face workshopping and cross‑school activity. … it's always good to be able to sit and converse with people from other schools as well to get other perspectives. So you're not carrying [it alone], you're not caught too much in a bubble. I think that's really valuable.” (School leader)

Leaders and teachers are less confident in their understanding of the refreshed Social Sciences curriculum content than of the ANZ Histories content.

So far, three in five (61 percent) leaders and teachers are confident or very confident in their understanding of the refreshed Social Sciences. This compares to three-quarters (75 percent) who are confident or very confident in their understanding of the ANZ Histories content.

Figure 65: Leader and teacher confidence in their overall understanding of ANZ Histories and Social Sciences

Figure 65 is a graph showing leader and teacher confidence in their overall understanding of the refreshed Social Sciences learning area and their overall understanding of the ANZ Histories content. For Social Sciences, 61% of leaders and teachers are confident in their understanding. 35% of leaders and teachers are not confident in their understanding. 4% are not sure. For ANZ Histories, 75% of leaders and teachers are confident in their understanding. 25% of leaders and teachers are not confident in their understanding.

The lower level of understanding of the Social Sciences learning area compared to the ANZ Histories content is unsurprising, as leaders and teachers told us they are focused on implementing ANZ Histories first and holding back on Social Sciences for now.

Experts also told us that there were fewer resources to support the implementation of the refreshed Social Sciences learning area, compared to ANZ Histories.

“[An] issue of concern is around resources. [I] know the Ministry has done its best, but [it’s a] huge project, [and they] can’t come [up] with everything immediately. I think this is less of a problem in secondary, but for primary this is the main cause of anxiety… Teachers are saying they need more support [and] resources.” (Expert)

Schools also told us that the Ministry Curriculum Leads were focused on supporting them with their implementation of the new ANZ Histories, and not Social Sciences, for now.

There are early signs of changes. Leaders indicated to us that some of their Social Sciences content had changed because of how they had built ANZ Histories into their curriculum. However, Social Sciences were still being taught through the themes in the 2007 National Curriculum. Some schools told us they are planning to look at the Social Sciences themes next, to start actively refreshing their Social Sciences learning area.

Three-quarters (75 percent) of leaders and teachers say they find the Social Sciences learning area clear and understandable, and seven in 10 (70 percent) say it is easy to use.

Leaders and teachers reported similarly for the ANZ Histories content (79 percent and 73 percent respectively), suggesting that the refreshed Social Sciences learning area is clear, even if teachers are not yet confident in teaching it.

Figure 66: Leaders and teachers on how they find the Social Sciences learning area

Figure 66 is a graph showing leader and teacher agreement that the refreshed Social Sciences learning area is easy to use, and is clear and understandable. 70% of leaders and teachers agree the refreshed Social Sciences learning area is easy to use. 17% of leaders and teachers disagree that the refreshed Social Sciences learning area is easy to use. 13% of leaders and teachers are not sure. 75% of leaders and teachers agree that the refreshed Social Sciences learning area is clear and understandable. 13% of leaders and teachers disagree that the refreshed Social Sciences learning area is clear and understandable. 12% of leaders and teachers are not sure.

Leaders and teachers like the Understand, Know, Do framework as a way of engaging with Social Sciences. While they do not always agree on how much detail should be prescribed in Understand, Know, Do, many agree the framework helps them think about what to include in their teaching. Teachers’ familiarity with the framework from ANZ Histories may help explain why they think it’s clear and easy to use.

Some primary school teachers are already thinking about framing their teaching across the whole curriculum in terms of Understand, Know, Do. However, teachers note that because learning is integrated across all subjects in primary years, having learning areas come out piecemeal can make it hard to plan.

“I particularly really like to run an integrated program. So, it'd be good to see how we can fit [Social Sciences] in ... [and] how I could maybe bring in the other new parts of the curriculum to join in with that too. … Even though it would be very overwhelming, having everything chucked at you, it's easier for a planner… we can just spit it into the right unit plan and then make it happen somehow in the classroom. I would have preferred that … [to] bringing it out in dribs and drabs.” (Primary Teacher)

Three in five (62 percent) leaders and teachers agree they have been supported by the school leadership team to implement the changes for Social Sciences.

This is lower than for ANZ Histories (70 percent). Again, this is unsurprising given the later stage of implementation for Social Sciences compared to ANZ Histories.

Figure 67: How much leaders and teachers have been supported by the school leadership team to implement the changes for the Social Sciences learning area

Figure 67 shows how much leaders and teachers have been supported by the school leadership team to implement the changes for the Social Sciences learning area.  20% of leaders and teachers have been supported by the school leadership team to a great extent. 42% of leaders and teachers have been supported by the school leadership team to a moderate extent. 24% of leaders and teachers have been supported by the school leadership team to a small extent. 10% of leaders and teachers have not been supported by the school leadership team at all. 4% of leaders and teachers are not sure.

d) Parents and whānau awareness of, and involvement in, the changes

Parents and whānau have limited awareness of changes to the Social Sciences learning area, beyond the implementation of ANZ Histories.

As discussed in Part 4, only half (50 percent) of parents and whānau are aware of the changes to the Social Sciences learning area (including ANZ Histories). Of those aware of the changes to the Social Sciences learning area, only two in five (40 percent) were informed by their child’s school.

Almost three in five (57 percent) parents and whānau don’t know if their child’s class has covered the refreshed Social Sciences content, which is similar to their awareness about whether ANZ Histories has been covered.

Figure 68: Parent and whānau responses on whether they are aware if Social Sciences content has been covered in their child’s class

Figure 68 is a graph showing parent and whānau awareness of whether Social Sciences content has been covered in their child’s class. 43% of parents and whānau are aware that Social Sciences content has been covered in their child’s class. 57% of parents and whānau are unaware if Social Sciences content has been covered in their child’s class.

Parents and whānau told us they are more aware of changes to teaching for ANZ Histories than the broader Social Sciences learning area.

ERO asked some additional questions of parents and whānau who were aware that their child’s class had covered ANZ Histories or Social Sciences. The following findings in this part of the report are for this smaller group of parents and whānau.

Parents and whānau have limited awareness of what their child has covered in class for the refreshed Social Sciences, and few have been involved in developing the curriculum.

Only a quarter (26 percent) of parents and whānau are moderately or extremely aware of what their child is learning about in Social Sciences. This compares to a third (34 percent) who are moderately or extremely aware of what their child is learning about in ANZ Histories.

Less than two in five (37 percent) parents and whānau are involved in developing the school curriculum for the teaching of Social Sciences.

This indicates that parents and whānau are less aware of what their child is learning for the Social Sciences than ANZ Histories, but their involvement in the changes is similar for both.

Asian and Pacific parents and whānau are most likely, and NZ European and MELAA parents and whānau least likely, to be involved in developing the school curriculum for Social Sciences.

About half of Asian (52 percent) and Pacific (51 percent) parents and whānau say they are involved in developing the school curriculum for Social Sciences, compared to less than half of Māori (43 percent) parents and whānau, and about a third of NZ European (30 percent) and MELAA (33 percent) parents and whānau.

Figure 69: Parent and whānau responses on whether their child’s school involved them in developing the content for the Social Sciences curriculum, by ethnicity

Figure 69 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the curriculum content for the Social Sciences, for different ethnicities. For NZ European parents and whānau, 30% agree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the curriculum content for the Social Sciences. 58% of NZ European parents and whānau disagree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the curriculum content for the Social Sciences. 12% are not sure. For Māori parents and whānau, 43% agree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the curriculum content for the Social Sciences. 48% of Māori parents and whānau disagree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the curriculum content for the Social Sciences. 9% are not sure. For Asian parents and whānau, 52% agree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the curriculum content for the Social Sciences. 31% of Asian parents and whānau disagree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the curriculum content for the Social Sciences. 17% are not sure. For Pacific parents and whānau, 51% agree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the curriculum content for the Social Sciences. 38% of Pacific parents and whānau disagree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the curriculum content for the Social Sciences. 9% are not sure. For MELAA parents and whānau, 33% agree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the curriculum content for the Social Sciences. 60% of MELAA parents and whānau disagree that they have been involved by their child’s school in developing the curriculum content for the Social Sciences. 7% are not sure.

Three in five (60 percent) parents and whānau agree the school or teacher finds out about the culture of their whānau to support their teaching of Social Sciences.

This is similar to the level of parent and whānau involvement for ANZ Histories (62 percent) and suggests schools are engaging parents and whānau on their culture outside of the curriculum changes, and using this broader engagement to inform their teaching. This is encouraging.

Figure 70: Parent and whānau responses on whether their child's school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching Social Sciences

Figure 70 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching of Social Sciences. 16% of parents and whānau strongly agree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching Social Sciences.  44% of parents and whānau agree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching Social Sciences.  22% of parents and whānau disagree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching Social Sciences. 6% of parents and whānau strongly disagree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching Social Sciences. 12% of parents and whānau are not sure.

Pacific and Asian parents and whānau are most likely, and NZ European parents and whānau least likely, to agree that the school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching Social Sciences.

Seven in 10 (69 percent) Pacific and Asian parents and whānau agree, compared to less than six in 10 (56 percent) NZ European parents and whānau.

This is slightly different compared to ANZ Histories. Māori parents and whānau are most likely to agree (70 percent) the school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support the teaching of ANZ Histories. However, NZ European parents and whānau are the least likely to agree for ANZ Histories (60 percent) and for Social Sciences.

Figure 71: Parent and whānau responses on whether their child's school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching Social Sciences, by ethnicity

Figure 71 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching of Social Sciences, for different ethnicities. For NZ European parents and whānau, 56% agree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching Social Sciences. 31% of NZ European parents and whānau disagree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching Social Sciences. 13% are not sure. For Māori parents and whānau, 64% agree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching Social Sciences. 26% of Māori parents and whānau disagree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching Social Sciences. 10% are not sure. For Asian parents and whānau, 69% agree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching Social Sciences. 18% of Asian parents and whānau disagree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching Social Sciences. 13% are not sure. For Pacific parents and whānau, 69% agree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching Social Sciences. 15% of Pacific parents and whānau disagree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching Social Sciences. 15% are not sure. For MELAA parents and whānau, 60% agree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching Social Sciences. 27% of MELAA parents and whānau disagree that their child’s school finds out about the culture of their whānau to support teaching Social Sciences. 13% are not sure.

e) What parents and whānau think is important about Social Sciences

Almost seven in 10 (68 percent) parents and whānau say the things their child is learning in Social Sciences are useful for their future, which is similar to what they say about ANZ Histories.

We heard less about the Social Sciences in our interviews with parents and whānau than ANZ Histories. When parents and whānau did talk about the Social Sciences, they told us it was important. We heard that although histories and the Social Sciences overlap, they needed to be taught separately “like tracks of the railroad” [MELAA parent]. 

Parents and whānau told us that Social Sciences is important because it helps young people learn about different societies. They also talked about the importance of learning about the people that have impacted New Zealand’s society. Some identified how there are different ways that these topics can be addressed through Social Sciences. They wanted a focus on positive contributions to New Zealand society, and not only negative.

It's so multifaceted. There's so much that can be drawn out of the migration stories. There's the science as to how did they actually get here, reading the stars and reading the water and all those types of things. … And then there's the strength and the courage to actually endure all that. That makes them like super, super people. You know, … all those positive traits that you kind of want your young people to have. (Parent)

Parents and whānau told us that Social Sciences topics can have positive impacts on students, in both local and global contexts.

If they [students] get a chance down the track to learn about other countries … that could make the whole generation a lot closer to the other people around the world. … So I think it's very, very important that this [learning area] is expanded. So they learn about other cultures as well, and the histories of other countries. (Parent)

 Figure 72: Parent and whānau response to whether the things their child is learning about in Social Sciences are useful for their future

Figure 72 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether the things their child is learning about in Social Sciences are useful for their future.  22% of parents and whānau strongly agree that the things their child is learning about in Social Sciences are useful for their future.  46% of parents and whānau agree that the things their child is learning about in Social Sciences are useful for their future.  7% of parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about in Social Sciences are useful for their future. 2% of parents and whānau strongly disagree that the things their child is learning about in Social Sciences are useful for their future. 23% are not sure.

Asian and MELAA parents and whānau are most likely, and NZ European parents and whānau least likely, to agree the things their child is learning in Social Sciences are useful for their future.

Nine in 10 (93 percent) MELAA and eight in 10 (79 percent) Asian parents and whānau agree their learning in Social Sciences is useful, compared to six in 10 (61 percent) NZ European parents and whānau.

This is different to what parents and whānau told us for ANZ Histories. Māori and Pacific parents are most likely to think ANZ Histories is useful. MELAA parents and whānau are more likely to see the relevance of the Social Sciences than ANZ Histories for their child’s future. NZ European parents are least likely to see the relevance of either ANZ Histories or Social Sciences compared to other ethnic groups.

Figure 73: Parent and whānau responses on whether the things their child is learning about Social Sciences are useful for their future, by ethnicity

Figure 73 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether the things their child is learning about in Social Sciences are useful for their future, for different ethnicities.  For NZ European parents and whānau, 61% agree that the things their child is learning about in Social Sciences are useful for their future. 10% of NZ European parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about in Social Sciences are useful for their future. 28% are not sure. For Māori parents and whānau, 64% agree that the things their child is learning about in Social Sciences are useful for their future. 8% of Māori parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about in Social Sciences are useful for their future. 27% are not sure. For Asian parents and whānau, 79% agree that the things their child is learning about in Social Sciences are useful for their future. 6% of Asian parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about in Social Sciences are useful for their future. 13% are not sure. For Pacific parents and whānau, 68% agree that the things their child is learning about in Social Sciences are useful for their future. 8% of Pacific parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about in Social Sciences are useful for their future. 25% are not sure. For MELAA parents and whānau, 93% agree that the things their child is learning about in Social Sciences are useful for their future. 7% are not sure.

Asian parents and whānau are most likely, and Māori parents and whānau least likely, to see the relevance of Social Sciences to their community. 

Almost eight in 10 (78 percent) Asian parents and whānau agree Social Sciences is relevant to their community, compared to six in 10 (61 percent) Māori parents and whānau. Māori parents and whānau are more likely to see the relevance of ANZ Histories to their community (70 percent agree ANZ Histories is relevant) than Social Sciences.

Figure 74: Parents and whānau responses on whether the things their child is learning about Social Sciences are relevant to their communities, by ethnicity

Figure 74 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether the things their child is learning about Social Sciences are relevant to their community, for different ethnicities.  For NZ European parents and whānau, 65% agree that the things their child is learning about Social Sciences are relevant to their community. 10% of NZ European parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about Social Sciences are relevant to their community. 25% are not sure. For Māori parents and whānau, 61% agree that the things their child is learning about Social Sciences are relevant to their community. 12% of Māori parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about Social Sciences are relevant to their community. 27% are not sure. For Asian parents and whānau, 78% agree that the things their child is learning about Social Sciences are relevant to their community. 6% of Asian parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about Social Sciences are relevant to their community. 14% are not sure. For Pacific parents and whānau, 71% agree that the things their child is learning about Social Sciences are relevant to their community. 11% of Pacific parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about Social Sciences are relevant to their community. 17% are not sure. For MELAA parents and whānau, 67% agree that the things their child is learning about Social Sciences are relevant to their community. 20% of MELAA parents and whānau disagree that the things their child is learning about Social Sciences are relevant to their community. 13% are not sure.

f) What impacts parents and whānau are seeing for their child

Seven in 10 (69 percent) parents and whānau agree their child feels included when they are learning about Social Sciences - Pacific parents and whānau are most likely, and MELAA parents and whānau least likely, to think their child feels included.

Four in five (80 percent) Pacific parents and whānau agree their child feels included, compared to three in five (60 percent) MELAA parents. Pacific parents and whānau are also more likely to agree their child feels included when learning ANZ Histories (82 percent).

Figure 75: Parent and whānau responses on whether their child feels included when they're learning Social Sciences

Figure 75 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether their child feels included when they're learning about Social Sciences. 17% of parents and whānau strongly agree that their child feels included when they're learning about Social Sciences.  52% of parents and whānau agree that their child feels included when they're learning about Social Sciences.  7% of parents and whānau disagree that their child feels included when they're learning about Social Sciences. 3% of parents and whānau strongly disagree that their child feels included when they're learning about Social Sciences. 20% are not sure.

Figure 76: Parent and whānau responses on whether their child feels included when they're learning Social Sciences, by ethnicity

Figure 76 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether their child feels included when they're learning about Social Sciences, for different ethnicities. For NZ European parents and whānau, 65% agree that their child feels included when they're learning about Social Sciences. 10% of NZ European parents and whānau disagree that their child feels included when they're learning about Social Sciences. 25% are not sure. For Māori parents and whānau, 66% agree that their child feels included when they're learning about Social Sciences. 10% of NZ European parents and whānau disagree that their child feels included when they're learning about Social Sciences. 24% are not sure. For Asian parents and whānau, 75% agree that their child feels included when they're learning about Social Sciences. 10% of Asian parents and whānau disagree that their child feels included when they're learning about Social Sciences. 13% are not sure. For Pacific parents and whānau, 80% agree that their child feels included when they're learning about Social Sciences. 5% of Pacific parents and whānau disagree that their child feels included when they're learning about Social Sciences. 14% are not sure. For MELAA parents and whānau, 60% agree that their child feels included when they're learning about Social Sciences. 27% of MELAA parents and whānau disagree that their child feels included when they're learning about Social Sciences. 13% are not sure.

Three in five (61 percent) parents and whānau agree their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning for Social Sciences.

Overall, a similar proportion of parents and whānau (62 percent) agree their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning for ANZ Histories, but this varies by ethnicity.

Asian (78 percent) and MELAA (73 percent) parents and whānau are most likely, and NZ European parents and whānau (55 percent) least likely, to agree their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning for Social Sciences. For ANZ Histories, Pacific and Māori parents and whānau are most likely to say their child can see themselves in their learning.

Figure 77: Parent and whānau responses on whether their child can see themselves represented in things they are learning in Social Sciences, by ethnicity

Figure 77 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning in Social Sciences, for different ethnicities. For NZ European parents and whānau, 55% agree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning in Social Sciences. 11% of NZ European parents and whānau disagree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning in Social Sciences. 34% are not sure. For Māori parents and whānau, 56% agree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning in Social Sciences. 11% of Māori parents and whānau disagree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning in Social Sciences. 32% are not sure. For Asian parents and whānau, 78% agree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning in Social Sciences. 9% of Asian parents and whānau disagree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning in Social Sciences. 12% are not sure. For Pacific parents and whānau, 71% agree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning in Social Sciences. 8% of Pacific parents and whānau disagree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning in Social Sciences. 20% are not sure. For MELAA parents and whānau, 73% agree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning in Social Sciences. 13% of MELAA parents and whānau disagree that their child can see themselves represented in the things they are learning in Social Sciences. 13% are not sure.

Two-thirds of parents and whānau think that what their child is learning in Social Sciences is at the right level for them, and are happy with the progress they have made (67 percent and 66 percent respectively).

Very few parents and whānau (7 percent) think the things their child is learning in Social Sciences are not the right level for them or that progress is not made (10 percent). This is similar to ANZ Histories (11 percent and 13 percent respectively).

Figure 78: Parent and whānau responses on whether they are happy with their child's progress in Social Sciences

Figure 78 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether they are happy with their child's learning progress in Social Sciences. 15% of parents and whānau strongly agree that they are happy with their child's progress in Social Sciences.  51% of parents and whānau agree that they are happy with their child's progress in Social Sciences. 7% of parents and whānau disagree that they are happy with their child's progress in Social Sciences. 3% of parents and whānau strongly disagree that they are happy with their child's progress in Social Sciences. 23% are not sure.

More parents and whānau feel informed about their child’s progress in Social Science than ANZ Histories.

Six in 10 (61 percent) parents and whānau agree they are informed about their child’s progress, which is higher than for ANZ Histories. Only half (51 percent) of parents and whānau agree they are informed of their child’s progress for ANZ Histories. Given the stronger focus schools have on ANZ Histories, this is to be expected.

Figure 79: Parent and whānau responses on whether their child’s school informs them about their child’s progress in Social Sciences

Figure 79 is a graph showing parent and whānau agreement about whether their child's school informs them about their child's progress in Social Sciences. 14% of parents and whānau strongly agree that their child's school informs them about their child's progress in Social Sciences.  47% of parents and whānau agree that their child's school informs them about their child's progress in Social Sciences.  18% of parents and whānau disagree that their child's school informs them about their child's progress in Social Sciences. 7% of parents and whānau strongly disagree that their child's school informs them about their child's progress in Social Sciences. 14% are not sure.

Conclusion

Schools are at the early stages of implementing the refreshed Social Sciences. So far, more than half of students enjoy, and like to participate in, learning about Social Sciences. Asian and NZ European students are enjoying Social Sciences the most, and MELAA and Māori students the least. However, less than half of students say their teacher helps them to connect learning to who they are, or to their whānau and community, when learning Social Sciences.

Almost seven in 10 parents and whānau agree the things their child is learning in Social Sciences are useful for their future, and two-thirds of parents and whānau are happy with their child’s progress, even if they are not always informed by the school about progress.

Leaders and teachers are less confident and less supported in their understanding of the refreshed Social Sciences compared to their understanding of ANZ Histories, reflecting the greater focus to date on implementing ANZ Histories.

Part 6: What has worked and hasn’t worked in implementing ANZ Histories?

Schools have been helped to implement ANZ Histories by accessing resources and supports provided by the Ministry of Education and by collaborating with others. However, schools don’t know when new supports are available or where to find them.

Schools report being overwhelmed by the scale of the change required and don’t always have the capacity and capability for re-designing their local curriculum. Teachers want more clarity and detail on what to teach across year levels and how to assess this.

Implementation is going better when schools have worked together, and are drawing on the knowledge and skills of hapū and iwi. However, schools don’t always have the capacity and capability for collaboration and, schools tell us, hapū and iwi don’t always have the capacity either.

What we looked at

We wanted to know what has helped schools the most in implementing ANZ Histories and what have been the biggest the barriers. We asked leaders and teachers about their use of the Ministry’s resources and supports for ANZ Histories, and the wider curriculum refresh, as well asking open questions about what has worked well and what hasn’t.   

As the refreshed Social Sciences learning area is not yet mandatory and has been less implemented by schools, we have focused on ANZ Histories implementation.

How we gathered this information

The findings in this section are based on:

  • surveys of school leaders and teachers
  • interviews with school leaders and teachers
  • interviews with experts in curriculum and/or relevant subject matter
  • an interview with one kaumātua of a hapū.

We collected our data in late Term 3 and early Term 4 of 2023.

What we found: An overview

Schools are mostly engaging with teacher only days (67 percent), the Refreshed Curriculum draft document (55 percent), and teaching resources located on the ANZ Histories website (51 percent). Leaders and teachers who have accessed support from the Ministry’s Curriculum Leads have found this particularly useful for implementing ANZ Histories. However, many don’t know about this support or have experienced delays accessing it.

When schools access the supports provided by the Ministry, they are useful, but many don’t. Schools often don’t know when new supports are available or where to find them. One in five are not aware of the ANZ Histories website by the Ministry’s Curriculum Centre (Te Poutāhū). Schools that have accessed the teaching guidance on the ANZ Histories website are almost six times as likely to have planned to roll out to all years by the end of 2023.

While teachers may be good subject teachers, they do not necessarily have the capacity and capability to design a new curriculum for their school. Collaborating with other schools (in their Kāhui Ako or other school cluster), and with hapū and iwi has helped them understand and develop their curriculum content for ANZ Histories.

However, half of schools (50 percent) have had limited or no engagement with local hapū or iwi, so far, on the refreshed Social Sciences learning area, including ANZ Histories. Leaders and teachers tell us they don’t always have the capacity and capability to engage with hapū and iwi, and tell us that hapū and iwi don’t always have the capacity to work with them.

Leaders and teachers want more specificity to reduce the scale of curriculum design, and greater clarity on the progressions to help them assess how students are doing. Teachers want more guidance and exemplars to help them put the progressions into practice and so they know how to report to parents and whānau on their child’s achievement.

In the following section we set out these findings in more detail on:

what has worked in implementing ANZ Histories

  1. resources and supports
  2. collaboration

what has worked in implementing ANZ Histories

  1. lack of awareness and engagement with the Ministry’s supports and resources
  2. schools face challenges collaborating with hapū and iwi
  3. lack of detail and clarity in the curriculum content.

a) What has worked in implementing ANZ Histories?

i) Resources and supports

Schools are most likely to be engaging with teacher only days (67 percent), the Refreshed Curriculum draft document (55 percent), and teaching resources located on the ANZ Histories website (51 percent).

The Ministry has provided a range of resources and supports to help schools implement ANZ Histories. These include general guidance on the Refreshed Curriculum, online teaching resources (24) (e.g., media gallery of videos), physical resources for schools (e.g., books for school libraries, school journals and the connected series), and regionally allocated professional learning and development (e.g., teacher only days). Schools can also apply for face-to-face (kanohi ki te kanohi) support from the Ministry’s Curriculum Leads.

Figure 80: Schools' engagement with resources and supports

Figure 80 is a graph showing schools’ engagement with different resources and supports for the implementation of ANZ Histories. For teacher only days, 67% of schools are engaging with this support. 25% of schools are aware of, but not engaging with this support. 8% are unaware of this support. For Te Mātaiaho, the Refreshed Curriculum draft document, 55% of schools are engaging with this resource. 42% of schools are aware of, but not engaging with this resource. 3% are unaware of this resource. For teaching resources located on the ANZ Histories website, 51% of schools are engaging with this resource. 34% of schools are aware of, but not engaging with this resource. 15% are unaware of this resource. For the Leading Local Curriculum Guide, 50% of schools are engaging with this resource. 36% of schools are aware of, but not engaging with this resource. 14% are unaware of this resource. For Teaching guidance located on the ANZ Histories website, 44% of schools are engaging with this support. 39% of schools are aware of, but not engaging with this support. 17% are unaware of this support. For Histories books from school libraries, 42% of schools are engaging with this support. 40% of schools are aware of, but not engaging with this support. 18% are unaware of this support. For face-to-face (kanohi ki te kanohi) support, 33% of schools are engaging with this support. 33% of schools are aware of, but not engaging with this support. 34% are unaware of this support. For Implementing Te Mātaiaho, the Refreshed Curriculum support pack, 33% of schools are engaging with this resource. 44% of schools are aware of, but not engaging with this resource. 23% are unaware of this resource.

Leaders and teachers tell us that teacher only days help them prepare for ANZ Histories. They are an opportunity to develop their understanding of the new curriculum, and they would like more.

… Although our kaiako [teachers] are amazing and work tirelessly to get this sorted and teach it well, more professional learning would be appreciated…. Time to unpack content, understand it, grasp it, and develop confidence to deliver, is fundamental to the successful teaching and learning of this mahi [work]. (Māori teacher)

The Ministry’s Curriculum Leads are particularly helpful.

Leaders and teachers who have accessed the support from the Ministry’s Curriculum Leads have found this particularly helpful for understanding what is expected and how to go implementing ANZ Histories. Curriculum Leads have led workshops for schools and helped them to work through the guidance in a way that makes sense and helps them to put it into practice.

We were able to contextualise it [ANZ Histories] much better and discuss it and problem solve. And that actually worked. That was really good. (School leader)

Māori leaders and teachers are significantly more likely to be engaging with the Ministry’s resources and supports.

Māori leaders and teachers are more likely to be accessing most of the Ministry’s resources and supports, but especially the face-to-face (kanohi ki te kanohi) supports, which includes the Ministry’s Curriculum leads. Two in three (65 percent) Māori teachers and leaders are working with this kind of support, compared to less than one in three (29 percent) non-Māori leaders and teachers.

Figure 81: Māori and non-Māori teacher engagement with resources and supports

Figure 81 is a graph showing Māori and non-Māori teachers’ engagement with different resources and supports for the implementation of ANZ Histories. For teacher only days, 67% of non-Māori teachers and 71% of Māori teachers are engaging with this support. For Te Mātaiaho, the Refreshed Curriculum draft document, 53% of non-Māori teachers and 66% of Māori teachers are engaging with this resource.  For teaching resources located on the ANZ Histories website, 50% of non-Māori and 59% of Māori teachers are engaging with this resource. For the Leading Local Curriculum Guide, 47% of non-Māori and 68% of Māori teachers are engaging with this resource. For Teaching guidance located on the ANZ Histories website, 42% of non-Māori teachers and 54% of Māori teachers are engaging with this support. For Histories books from school libraries, 40% of non-Māori teachers and 53% of Māori teachers are engaging with this support. For face-to-face (kanohi ki te kanohi) support, 29% of non-Māori teachers and 65% of Māori teachers are engaging with this support. For Implementing Te Mātaiaho, the Refreshed Curriculum support pack, 30% of non-Māori teachers and 50% of Māori teachers are engaging with this resource.

The engagement of Māori leaders and teachers with the available resources and supports may indicate their commitment to the implementation of ANZ Histories. As discussed earlier in this report, Māori leaders and teachers told us that the ANZ Histories content reflects their experiences and understandings, which is validating, and teaching the content provides opportunities to share their knowledge and culture.

Schools that are engaging with the teaching guidance on the ANZ Histories website are six times more likely to have planned to roll out ANZ Histories to all year levels by the end of 2023.

We heard that the ANZ Histories website has been an important resource for schools. It provides access to a range of resources, including background information on the Understand, Know, Do model and learning progressions, and how ANZ Histories fits into Social Sciences. It also includes links to teaching resources and guidance for how to use them.

Teachers told us that curriculum resources that have also been particularly helpful for implementation include:

  • the Leading Local Curriculum Guide series: two documents that give guidance to school leaders about how to implement ANZ Histories
  • ANZ Histories curriculum content cards: a set of cards that each describe a big idea (Understand), context statement (Know) or practice (Do). Teachers can use these to develop their school curriculum, by mapping out how the context statements and practices develop across different year levels
  • ‘Tūhura - Our Changing identities’: an online learning resource that explores some selected events in Aotearoa New Zealand history and provides discussion questions for each.

In addition to the Ministry’s resources and supports, leaders and teachers tell us they have been helped to implement ANZ Histories by a range of others.

Leaders and teachers particularly mentioned these resources as being helpful for developing lesson planning and content:

  • the New Zealand History Teachers’ Association information and resources, including the materials provided at the national conference
  • the National Library and local museums
  • historians or experts in their local area
  • podcasts about ANZ history
  • ‘Something happened here’ teaching resource from ‘School Kit’(25)
  • online histories resources, such as ‘Te Ara Taiao’, provided through a collaboration between the Department of Conservation, Sustainable Taranaki, and others.(26)

ii) Collaboration

Schools have been collaborating with other schools and with local hapū and iwi, which has given them access to knowledge and skills to help them implement ANZ Histories.

Collaboration with hapū or iwi has helped schools to implement ANZ Histories.

As discussed earlier in this report, schools have been starting their implementation of ANZ Histories by engaging with hapū and iwi. They are following the Ministry’s guidance, which refers to the importance of developing partnerships with hapū and iwi to understand and plan for ANZ Histories, especially for the big idea ‘Māori history is the foundational and continuous history of Aotearoa New Zealand’.(27)

Schools also see the importance of this as a first step because it helps build teachers’ knowledge of local Māori histories, and hapū and iwi have also been helping to develop resources for teachers to use in their classrooms. 

Schools want to be able to teach Māori histories from across Aotearoa New Zealand. So even if they are building relationships locally, they want to be able to access the resources created by hapū and iwi further away. This is why schools have been especially pleased when hapū and iwi have created resources for them to access independently, for example, via a website.

Working with other schools (for example in Kāhui Ako) has helped schools to share the task of unpacking the Refreshed Curriculum and making changes.

Some Kāhui Ako are drawing in experts to help them. We heard these experts are helping leaders and teachers to understand the how and why behind the refresh, and how to go about teaching it. Kāhui Ako are also bringing in curriculum design experts, which is helpful for leaders and teachers who are not typically trained in curriculum design. 

Leaders told us that working in clusters was also making it easier to engage with hapū and iwi, which leaders and teachers saw as critical for establishing localised histories. Engagement through the Kāhui Ako meant leaders and teachers could draw on the contacts and cultural capabilities of other schools in their cluster.

An example: School-hapū collaboration helping to implement ANZ Histories

We heard from a kaumātua (respected Māori elder) about a collaboration between an area school and the local community to help implement ANZ Histories. The school was socio-economically diverse, and a third of the students were Māori. Many of the Māori students had family connections (whakapapa) to the local hapū and to several marae nearby, but the relationship with the school only began with the arrival of a new principal who invested in relationships. 

The kaumātua explained that the principal’s first focus when he arrived at the school was on building relationships with the students, as well as raising achievement, especially for Māori. The principal then brought parents and whānau into the school through a ‘whānau hui’ (family meeting) that was hosted by the students. Whānau spoke about the hui on their marae, which grew trust across the hapū. The kaumātua told us the principal “brought us to him.”

The principal further developed relationships by offering to help the marae, particularly with organising events. For example, the principal and a group of students would help gather firewood or set tables at local marae. The kaumātua told us “He would ring and ask, ‘how can we help?’.” It was in this way that access was initially gained to the narratives of local Māori about histories.

Supporting the implementation of ANZ Histories, staff development was provided on the marae, where kaumātua and Māori experts in mātauranga (Māori forms of knowledge) gave presentations. Teacher only days were also used to share knowledge. As well, another kaumātua from the neighbouring marae wrote a book for the school to support the learning of both staff and students.

The kaumātua has seen that the ANZ Histories content that he has helped develop is being embedded in the earlier year levels, and in ‘pockets’ elsewhere in the school. He also commented on the critical thinking skills that students have developed from this learning. The kaumātua told us that the teachers having a good working knowledge of marae and local histories was an important part of this.

The kaumātua is excited that the whole school community has been brought into the learning for ANZ Histories, citing the successful Puanga Tau Hau celebrations.* His concerns are about the sustainability of the model. He told us that it has been just one or two people driving the change and investing in the relationships and “it needs to be bigger than that.”

* Puanga (part of the Orion constellation) signals the start of the New Year (Tau Hau) for some iwi in New Zealand

Primary schools, in particular, are benefiting from working with secondary schools, as this gives them access to subject specialists for the Social Sciences and Histories.

This is because primary school teachers are typically generalists who teach across all curriculum areas, whereas secondary school teachers often have one or more specialist subject areas. Histories specialists based in secondary schools have helped them with unpacking the ANZ Histories guidance, as well as planning and developing the content for students.

[P]rimary and Intermediate School teachers aren't historians. So, they don't necessarily have the skill set around concepts like push-pull, factors, the things you teach. So, I won't go into it in too much detail, but the end result after one day was that they had taken the topic of migration and they had planned it from year one to 10 with the knowledge concept, the knowledge that they wanted taught in each year, the concepts and the skills. (Secondary school leader)

b) What hasn’t worked in implementing ANZ Histories?

i) Lack of awareness and engagement with the Ministry’s resources and supports

Schools often don’t know when new resources and supports are available or where to find them.

Almost one in five (17 percent) are not aware of the teaching guidance on the ANZ Histories website by the Ministry’s Curriculum Centre (Te Poutāhū). This matters because, as described above, schools that have accessed the teaching guidance on the ANZ Histories website are six times more likely to have planned to roll out ANZ Histories to all year levels by the end of 2023.

Figure 82: Schools and their awareness of resources and supports – unaware of

Figure 82 is a graph showing schools’ awareness of supports for the implementation of ANZ Histories. For teacher only days, 8% of schools are unaware of this support. For Te Mātaiaho, the Refreshed Curriculum draft document, 3% of schools are unaware of this resource. For teaching resources located on the ANZ Histories website, 15% of schools are unaware of this resource. For the Leading Local Curriculum Guide, 14% of schools are unaware of this resource. For Teaching guidance located on the ANZ Histories website, 17% of schools are unaware of this support. For Histories books from school libraries, 18% of schools are unaware of this support. For face-to-face (kanohi ki te kanohi) support, 34% of schools are unaware of this support. For Implementing Te Mātaiaho, the Refreshed Curriculum support pack, 23% of schools are unaware of this resource.

Leaders and teachers have the least awareness of face-to-face (kanohi ki te kanohi) support.

One in three (34 percent) leaders and teachers are unaware of the face-to-face support provided by the Ministry. This includes the Curriculum Leads, which schools have found particularly useful. We heard that the support of Curriculum Leads for the implementation of ANZ Histories was not advertised to them - schools came across it ‘by chance’.

[W]e only engaged with the Curriculum Leads because I'd contacted them about the new Health Initiative, or something that came out. And then she said, “Oh, well, we also do Aotearoa New Zealand History.” So, I was like, “Wow, okay then”. … they weren't advertised to us as, as being able to help with the Aotearoa New Zealand histories. (School leader)

One in four (23 percent) leaders and teachers are also unaware of the Implementing the Refreshed Curriculum support pack, and about one in five are unaware of the histories books for school libraries resource, and teaching guidance on the ANZ Histories website (18 percent and 17 percent respectively). 

Leaders and teachers are least likely to be engaging with the Implementing The Refreshed Curriculum support pack.

Even if leaders and teachers are aware of resources, they are not always using them. More than one in four (44 percent) leaders and teachers who know about the Implementing the Refreshed Curriculum support pack and the Refreshed Curriculum draft document aren’t using them (44 percent and 42 percent respectively). This means schools may not be integrating the wider aspects of the curriculum refresh into the implementation of ANZ Histories.

We found that one in three (33 percent) leaders and teachers who know about the face-to-face (kanohi ki te kanohi) support aren’t accessing it. However, this is not necessarily because schools don’t want to access it. Schools tell us they are having to wait to access Curriculum Lead support due to their lack of capacity. One school told us that they had wanted to get started on ANZ Histories in Term 1 of 2023 and reached out to get support from the Curriculum Leads, but were told this would not be possible in Term 1. 

Leaders told us that it has taken considerable time for resources to become available.

Leaders told us that resources have been ‘drip-fed’ and without a notification system for letting schools know when a new resource is available. This means teachers and leaders need to be continually checking the relevant websites. The lack of timely resources means that teachers are having to make a lot of their own.

Resources are also hard to locate. Teachers talked about ‘stumbling upon’ useful resources. They would prefer to have resources all in one place and more clearly linked.

Leaders noted that there is now a better range of resources available than when ANZ Histories was first introduced, but that more student-friendly resources were still needed. Teachers identified a lack of appropriate resources for Year 4 to 6 students.

ii) Schools face challenges collaborating with hapū and iwi

Schools are encouraged to partner with hapū and iwi to develop their ANZ Histories curriculum content. While schools were generally on board with this, we repeatedly heard that schools faced challenges that slowed down their implementation.

Collaboration with hapū and iwi takes time.

Leaders told us that it can take considerable time to build relationships with hapū and iwi. Schools know that they can’t rush the process of engagement – they need to follow the processes that work for the hapū or iwi (i.e., to follow their tikanga). For this reason, and as discussed earlier in this report, pre-existing relationships with hapū and iwi have been an advantage for implementing ANZ Histories.

Our [local iwi] are adamant, strong people that are like “Well hang on a minute, we’ll give you this, but what can you give us? Don’t be take, take, take from us”. It’s about building a relationship and you can’t build a relationship with iwi in six months. That’s years’ worth of work, and there’s been no support from the Ministry to do that. (School leader)

Leaders and teachers also told us about logistical challenges with hapū and iwi. For example, where the nearest marae was over an hour’s travel away.

Localised, Māori-focused resources are challenging for schools to curate on their own and they want to collaborate with hapū or iwi to develop them.

As many as three in five (59 percent) leaders report their school has had limited or no input from hapū and iwi when planning their overall curriculum for the refreshed Social Sciences learning area, including ANZ Histories. This low level of engagement does not reflect the importance that schools placed on collaboration with hapū and iwi. We consistently heard that schools wanted to work with hapū and iwi to help build their knowledge of local histories, especially Māori histories, and to develop content and resources.

Figure 83: The extent to which schools had input from hapū, iwi, or Māori when planning the overall curriculum

Figure 83 is a graph showing the extent to which schools had input from hapū, iwi, or Māori, when planning the overall curriculum for the refreshed Social Sciences learning area. 13% of schools had input to a great extent from hapū, iwi or Māori when planning for the refreshed Social Sciences learning area. 27% of schools had input to a moderate extent from hapū, iwi or Māori when planning for the refreshed Social Sciences learning area. 35% had input to a limited extent from hapū, iwi or Māori when planning for the refreshed Social Sciences learning area. 15% had no input at all from hapū, iwi or Māori when planning for the refreshed Social Sciences learning area. 9% of schools were not sure.

As we heard earlier in the report, schools are worried about getting things wrong or of cultural appropriation if they make their own content and resources about Māori histories. We heard from a teacher who had pulled information from a general history website and the local community had disagreed with how events were portrayed.

Having worked with hapū and iwi gives teachers confidence to teach. However, even where schools are partnering with hapū or iwi to develop resources, additional work is often needed to transform or incorporate an iwi’s vision into the school curriculum.

Schools don’t always know how to engage hapū and iwi.

Where schools did not have pre-existing relationships with local hapū and iwi, we heard that schools didn’t always know where to begin. Leaders and teachers did not always feel confident to reach out to the local hapū and iwi for the first time, as they were still building their cultural capability to do this. For example, they didn’t know the rules (tikanga) for approaching a marae. As well, we heard that it wasn’t always clear which hapū or iwi to approach when there are multiple nearby.

“Then along came this … Aotearoa New Zealand Histories curriculum. And at a similar time, [the local iwi] had just had a treaty settlement in the area. ... and so we engaged with the people that we could at the time.” School Leader

Maintaining relationships with hapū and iwi has its own complexities.

Leaders told us that it can be a challenge to maintain relationships with hapū and iwi over time. Often the key relationship is between the school leader and a key person in the hapū or iwi, for example a kaumatua (an elder) or an iwi education lead. We heard examples where the kaumatua had passed away, or the education lead is no longer in that role. This meant the school had to re-start the relationship with a new iwi contact. Similarly, a school’s relationship with hapū or iwi could be through an individual teacher. If those teachers left, the school would need to find someone else with the cultural capability to establish a new relationship with the hapū or iwi.

Schools are concerned about the capacity of hapū and iwi to help all the schools in their area (rohe).

Schools are wary about overloading hapū and iwi with requests for help, especially given the number of schools in their area (rohe). Schools often worked with a single kaumatua, and they only have so much time available to talk with students and take them out on field trips – these were common supports provided by local hapū and iwi.

I would like to see more support put in place to help those experts [iwi and hapū] who are so overwhelmed with requests by schools at the moment, [so] to achieve this ANZ Histories content for all our kura (schools). (School leader)

Schools that were not part of Kāhui Ako told us they were less able to access the support of their local hapū or iwi if the hapū or iwi had undertaken to only engage with schools through the Kāhui Ako. They understood the reason for this. Working through the Kāhui Ako reduced the touch points for hapū or iwi.

iii) Lack of detail and clarity in the curriculum content

Schools want more clarity on some things, to help them understand what is required and how to implement the necessary changes for ANZ Histories. Schools also want more resources to help them with implementation, especially exemplars so they can see what they are working towards. We heard from the Ministry that the ANZ Histories content is written as conceptual, rather than describing specific events or people. This contributes to the significant challenge of the lack of specificity in the national curriculum, making it not merely a task of ‘implementation’ but of curriculum design too.

Resources provided by the Ministry require additional localisation, which requires leaders and teachers to have the capacity and capability.

We heard that requiring schools to tailor curriculum resources is time-consuming and not all teachers have the ability and local knowledge to do this, nor the passion. Teachers want more ‘off the shelf’ resources to help them start teaching the new curriculum content for ANZ Histories more quickly. This is especially important for schools that are still in the early stages of collaborating with hapū or iwi and do not yet have localised history resources.

…I’ve looked on the Ministry sites every so often but, they’re [resources] very slow to come on... They’re not … local – not localised type things [that I can use] – so I’ve really focussed on [getting] as much localised content as I can. I have contacts with the local museum [here], so I do talks with them on local history. (School leader)

In relation to other resources provided by the Ministry, leaders told us that they are not always pitched at the right level for all students, especially because students may have not yet had the prior learning described in the progressions. Leaders said that this impacted teachers’ confidence to teach. Teachers we spoke to confirmed this.

I don't think there has been much development or guidance in how to pitch correctly to students, as it is a very difficult space. (Teacher)

Progressions are clearer in the Refreshed Curriculum, but not clear enough.

Generally, teachers find the new learning progressions clearer than the achievement objectives and curriculum levels in the 2007 NZ Curriculum. However, leaders told us that understanding what the learning progressions look like in practice is challenging for many teachers. Teachers want more exemplars of student work at different levels of progression, and examples of how other schools are doing things.

Even more prescription and more specific indicators for key understandings and skills for the different year levels… make it clearer what should be taught at Year 8 and Year 9 so we don't teach the same thing. (Teacher)

Teachers identified a disconnect between the Years 1 to 3 and Years 4 to 6 progressions. Teachers told us there is a big jump between them, and they need to work out how to bridge the gap for students.

Leaders told us that the progressions are going to require alignment across schools within the same area, for example, to make sure schools know what students have learnt in their earlier schooling (i.e. at feeder schools). Leaders also told us that the progression phases don’t always align with school year level groupings. For example, a combined Year 3 and 4 class would require a teacher to be teaching across two different progressions/phases of learning.

Teachers acknowledged that the progressions were meant to prevent repetition of learning, but they had already experienced some pushback from students who had covered content before in earlier years. Teachers saw that it was going to take some time for the progressions to bed in. In the meantime, teachers will need to ‘backfill’ some teaching.

Teachers aren’t sure how to report progress to parents and whānau using the new progressions.

Teachers are not clear on how to report progress to parents and whānau. This is partly due to a lack of clarity around how to assess student work against the progressions. Additionally, teachers are aware that the progressions are unfamiliar to parents and whānau, as they are new with the implementation of the Social Sciences learning area – the first in the phased roll-out of the Refreshed Curriculum. Schools are opting to report against the 2007 NZ Curriculum levels for now.

Too much curriculum design is being asked of teachers.

The lack of detail in the 2007 NZ Curriculum has meant some students have been missing out on important learning. The Refreshed Curriculum is meant to address this problem by being clearer on the learning that matters, but still flexible enough so that each school can develop its own school curriculum.

However, leaders told us they are struggling to develop their own understanding of the new curriculum content and leading others through the process of redesigning a school curriculum was described as a ‘tall order’. As well, we consistently heard that it is a big workload for teachers.

[T]he ambition to allow a teacher to invent what they're doing because of the students in front of them, or talking to local iwi, it's too loose still in my opinion for a national system and it just brings straight back that massive workload that our teachers are having to do. (Expert)

The international evidence confirms it is a ‘tall order’ for schools to have to develop their own curriculum. Not all countries take this approach. Many countries have a more prescriptive national curriculum. With less curriculum design to do, teachers can focus on ‘how’ to teach the content in a way that is responsive to their students.(28)

Teachers are not well supported for re-designing their school curriculum, which not only takes time but requires specific skills.

In this evaluation, we heard that while New Zealand may have good teachers, they do not necessarily have the skills for curriculum design. We heard from experts in curriculum design that curriculum design involves a specific ‘method’ and teacher training does not prepare them for it. Although workshops on curriculum design are being held for leaders and teachers to help with the implementation of ANZ Histories, these are typically half day workshops, which may take a long time to reach all schools.

Leaders and teachers expressed a willingness to develop their school curriculum, but wanted time and training to make sure it is done well. Others simply wanted a more prescriptive national curriculum.

It [the ANZ Histories content] should have been far more prescribed in terms of unit plans to eliminate differences across schools. (Teacher)

There are also challenges around introducing a new curriculum area when teaching programmes are planned to cover multi-year cycles, which need to take students’ prior learning into account.

Conclusion

When schools access the resources and supports provided by the Ministry of Education, these supports are useful. But many schools don’t access these. Schools often don’t know when new supports are available or where to find them and teachers don’t necessarily have the capacity and capability for re-designing their school curriculum. Collaboration with hapū and iwi is seen to be critical in helping the school develop their curriculum content for ANZ Histories, but this can be challenging for them due to lack of leader and teacher capacity and capability. Implementation is going better when schools have worked together within their Kāhui Ako (or other school cluster), as this helps them to draw on the knowledge and skills of other schools, and access curriculum design experts.

Part 7: Key findings and lessons

The five questions we asked for this evaluation have led to 20 key findings across four areas. Based on these findings, we have identified seven lessons for ensuring a balanced ANZ Histories curriculum, and for supporting the successful implementation of curriculum changes in other learning areas. This section sets out our key findings and lessons.

In this evaluation of the implementation of the refreshed Social Sciences learning area, including Aotearoa New Zealand’s Histories (ANZ Histories), we set out to answer five key questions.

  1. What is being taught for ANZ Histories?
  2. What has been the impact of ANZ Histories on students, teachers, and communities?
  3. What has been working well and less well in making the changes to ANZ Histories?
  4. What is being taught for the refreshed Social Sciences learning area more broadly, and what impact is it having?
  5. What are the lessons for ANZ Histories and for implementing other curriculum areas?

Answering these questions, we have identified key findings across the following four areas:

  1. what is being taught
  2. impact on students
  3. impact for teachers
  4. impact on parents and whānau.

Key Findings

Our findings focus on ANZ Histories because this is required to be taught and is where most of the change is happening. We found limited change for the wider refreshed Social Sciences. We identified key findings across four areas.

Area 1: What is being taught?

It has been compulsory for less than a year and not all year levels are yet being taught ANZ Histories, and not all of the content is being taught. Schools are prioritising local and Māori histories, and teaching ANZ Histories over Social Sciences.

Finding 1: ANZ Histories became compulsory at the start of 2023. Three-quarters of schools are teaching it at all year levels. Primary schools are more likely to be teaching it. Schools are prioritising implementing ANZ Histories, to avoid overwhelming teachers, and this is crowding out other areas of Social Sciences.

  • In Term 3 2023, all schools were teaching some ANZ Histories curriculum content, and to most years, but only three-quarters (77 percent) of schools were teaching it at all year levels (up to Year 10).
  • Only six in 10 (60 percent) schools plan to have implemented ANZ Histories across all school years by the end of 2023. This increases to nine in 10 by the end of 2024.
  • Four in five (81 percent) primary schools are teaching at least some ANZ Histories at all year levels and almost three-quarters (74 percent) of secondary schools are teaching some ANZ Histories to Years 9 and 10.

Finding 2: Of the four ‘Understands’ (big ideas), schools are prioritising teaching Māori history (64 percent teaching this) and colonisation (61 percent) more than relationships across boundaries and people (53 percent), and the use of power (41 percent). In terms of the ‘Know’ (contexts), schools have had a much stronger focus on teaching about culture and identity (77 percent), and place and environment (71 percent), than about government and organization (45 percent), and economic activity (30 percent).

  • Four in five (81 percent) teachers have included at least two of the big ideas in their teaching for ANZ Histories, but less than a third (29 percent) have included all four (at the time of ERO’s data collection).
  • Leaders told us that they hadn’t really changed the contexts they are teaching but are working to incorporate local examples into existing contexts or themes.

Finding 3: The curriculum statements are being interpreted by schools so that they are focusing on local histories rather than national events, and local is sometimes interpreted as only Māori histories. Schools are also teaching less about global contexts.

  • Schools are focusing on local histories, and much less on national histories.
  • Schools are prioritising local Māori histories over the histories of other local people.
  • Secondary schools told us they have shifted away from teaching global events more broadly, to focus on Aotearoa New Zealand’s role within them.

Finding 4: Teachers need to weave Understand, Know, and Do together but are not yet able to do that and are mainly focusing on the Know. Both primary and secondary schools told us that the Do inquiry practices are not yet a focus in their teaching of ANZ Histories. This matters because the inquiry practices help students to be critical thinkers.

  • This is in part because teachers see the Know element as the biggest shift in the Refreshed Curriculum.
  • Do is less of a focus in the teaching of ANZ Histories so far.
  • Teachers are concerned with ‘how’ to teach the big ideas.

Area 2: Impact on students

Half of students enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. Students enjoy ANZ Histories more when it includes global contexts and when they are learning about people similar to them. The focus on Māori and Pacific history means Māori and Pacific students are enjoying ANZ Histories more than NZ European, Asian, and MELAA students

Finding 5: Teaching ANZ Histories has been compulsory for less than a year. At this stage, just over half of students enjoy learning about ANZ Histories. Two-thirds of teachers have seen positive impacts on student participation.

  • Just over half of students enjoy learning (54 percent) and like to participate in ANZ Histories classes (56 percent).
  • Two-thirds (65 percent) of teachers report positive impacts on student participation.
  • Almost seven in 10 (68 percent) of students agree they feel included when they are learning ANZ Histories.

Finding 6: It’s important to retain a link to global contexts and events. Students are more than twice as likely to enjoy ANZ Histories when they are learning about New Zealand’s place in the world.

  • Students who agree their teacher helps them to understand Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world are two-and-a-half times more likely to enjoy ANZ Histories.

Finding 7: Students are twice as likely to enjoy ANZ Histories when their learning is connecting them to their whānau and community, and when they are learning about people similar to them. Half of Māori and Pacific students (51 percent) report learning about people similar to them in ANZ Histories, but only two-fifths of Asian (43 percent) and NZ European (39 percent) students, and only a quarter (23 percent) of MELAA students do.

  • Only half of students agree their teacher helps them connect to their family and whānau and community (47 percent), or to themselves (51 percent), when learning ANZ Histories.

Finding 8: Enjoyment of learning ANZ Histories is not the same for all ethnicities. While almost two-thirds of Pacific students enjoy ANZ Histories (63 percent) and the majority of Māori students are also enjoying it (61 percent), fewer Asian students (55 percent), only half of NZ European students (50 percent), and less than half of MELAA students (42 percent) enjoy it.

  • Primary school students, Māori students, and Pacific students, are enjoying ANZ Histories the most.
  • NZ European and Middle Eastern, Latin American, African (MELAA) students are enjoying ANZ Histories the least.

Finding 9: It is too early to measure the progress students are making in their learning in ANZ Histories. But nearly two in five students either aren’t sure or don’t think they are making progress in ANZ Histories. Some teachers are unclear on how to track progress.

  • Māori students (62 percent) and Asian students (62 percent) are most likely to agree they are making progress when learning ANZ Histories, and MELAA students (41 percent) least likely.

Finding 10: Similar to ANZ Histories, more than half of students enjoy learning (56 percent) and like to participate (57 percent) in learning about Social Sciences. Asian and NZ European students are enjoying Social Sciences the most, and MELAA and Māori students the least, which is different to ANZ Histories.

  • Six in 10 Asian (59 percent) and NZ European (58 percent) students enjoy learning in Social Sciences, compared to five in 10 Pacific (51 percent), MELAA (49 percent), and Māori (48 percent) students.
  • Two-thirds (65 percent) of students agree they feel included when they are learning about Social Sciences.

Area 3: Impact on school leaders and teachers

Teachers like teaching ANZ Histories, but some are overwhelmed by the scale of change and they don’t have the skills or time needed to develop a local curriculum.

Finding 11: Three-quarters (75 percent) of leaders and teachers are confident in their understanding of the ANZ Histories content and nine in 10 teachers enjoy teaching it. We heard this is because teachers could make the learning more meaningful and relevant to their students.

  • Leaders (84 percent) are significantly more likely than teachers (63 percent) to be confident in their understanding of ANZ Histories curriculum content.
  • More than two in five leaders (43 percent) told us that they have little or no confidence in teachers to teach ANZ Histories.
  • Māori teachers are enjoying teaching ANZ Histories more than non-Māori teachers.
  • Three-quarters (76 percent) of leaders report their teachers are feeling positive about the changes.

Finding 12: Some teachers are overwhelmed by the scale of changes. Teachers describe the challenge, firstly, of growing their local histories knowledge, and then sharing that knowledge with their students. Half of schools had limited or no engagement with local hapū or iwi on the curriculum. And some teachers do not feel safe teaching histories outside their culture, especially non-Māori teachers teaching Māori history.

  • Teachers see that collaborating with hapū and iwi is important for the implementation of ANZ Histories, but they don’t always have the cultural capability.
  • Teachers told us they are more confident to teach when curriculum content for ANZ Histories has been approved by the local hapū or iwi.
  • Only two in five (40 percent) leaders and teachers report having had input of moderate to great extent from hapū, iwi, or other local Māori.

Finding 13: In introducing ANZ Histories, the support teachers have found most helpful are teacher only days, in-person support from Ministry of Education's regionally based Curriculum Leads, and collaboration with other schools.

  • Māori leaders and teachers are significantly more likely to be engaging with the Ministry’s resources and supports.
  • Schools that are engaging with the teaching guidance on the ANZ Histories website are six times more likely to have planned to roll out ANZ Histories to all year levels by the end of 2023.

Finding 14: Schools find developing a local curriculum challenging. They don’t understand what is required, they don’t have the skills to develop a curriculum, and it takes a lot of time to access resources.

  • Resources provided by the Ministry require additional localisation, which requires leaders and teachers to have the capacity and capability.
  • Progressions are clearer in the Refreshed Curriculum, but not clear enough.

Finding 15: Leaders and teachers are less confident in their understanding of the refreshed Social Sciences compared to ANZ Histories. So far just six in 10 (61 percent) are confident or very confident. Only six in 10 leaders and teachers say they have been supported by the school leadership team to implement the changes for Social Sciences, compared to seven in 10 for ANZ Histories.

  • Three in five (61 percent) leaders and teachers are confident or very confident in their understanding of the refreshed Social Sciences. This is less than the three-quarters (75 percent) who are confident or very confident in their understanding of the ANZ Histories content.

Area 4: Impact on parents and whānau

Parents and whānau want their children to learn ANZ Histories. They want more global context included and say how ANZ Histories is taught is as important as what is taught.

Finding 16: Many parents and whānau are unaware of the changes to the curriculum, and most have not been told about, nor involved in, the changes to ANZ Histories or the Social Sciences by their child’s school.

  • More than half (52 percent) of parents and whānau are unaware of the changes being made to the NZ national curriculum.
  • Half of parents and whānau (50 percent) do not know about the changes to the Social Sciences learning area which includes ANZ Histories.
  • Of the parents and whānau who are aware of the changes to the Social Sciences learning area, only two in five (40 percent) heard about the changes from their child’s school.
  • ANZ Histories provides opportunities for schools to engage parents and whānau, but only a third (36 percent) of parents have been involved.

Finding 17: Two-thirds (66 percent) of parents and whānau think ANZ Histories is useful for their child’s future. Most parents and whānau we spoke to are pleased that ANZ Histories is being implemented in schools, expressing that learning about ANZ Histories fits their expectations for what school should offer.

  • Three-quarters (74 percent) of Māori and Pacific parents and whānau agree ANZ Histories is useful for their child’s future, compared to three in five (59 percent) NZ European parents and whānau, who are also most likely to disagree it is useful – almost a quarter (23 percent) disagree.
  • Almost seven in 10 (67 percent) parents and whānau think that the things their child is learning about in ANZ Histories are relevant to their community. Almost another two in 10 (17 percent) parents and whānau are unsure.

Finding 18: Only three in five (62 percent) parents and whānau think their child sees themselves represented in their learning for ANZ Histories. Some want the learning to include more national events and global histories, as their children are interested in global events and New Zealand should not be seen in a vacuum.

  • Pacific parents and whānau are most likely (77 percent), and NZ European parents and whānau least likely (55 percent), to say their child can see themselves represented in their learning about ANZ Histories.
  • We heard that parents and whānau want a range of histories to be covered, including more global histories.

Finding 19: Parents and whānau think ‘how’ curriculum content is delivered is as, or more important, than the material itself. They say that histories can be contentious and need to be taught sensitively to avoid disengaging students.

  • Parents and whānau raised the concern that if not taught well, ANZ Histories can promote ‘negative perceptions’ of histories.
  • We heard that some histories may be too sensitive to be taught at all, or should be taught only when children are old enough to understand the complexities.

Finding 20: Similar to ANZ Histories, just over two-thirds (68 percent) of parents and whānau think Social Sciences is useful for their child’s future, and three in five (61 percent) think their child sees themselves represented in their learning. Different to ANZ Histories, Asian and MELAA parents and whānau are most likely to say their child can see themselves in their learning for the Social Sciences. NZ European parents and whānau are the least likely to say their child can see themselves represented for both ANZ Histories and the Social Sciences.

  • Two-thirds (67 percent) of parents and whānau agree the things their child is learning in Social Sciences are relevant to their community.
  • Asian parents and whānau are most likely, and Māori parents and whānau least likely, to see the relevance of Social Sciences to their community.
  • Seven in 10 (69 percent) parents and whānau agree that their child feels included when they are learning about Social Sciences.

Lessons learnt

Lesson 1: Keep making ANZ Histories engaging, by teaching about people, places, and events that students can relate to, and history relevant to them and their communities.

Students are enjoying ANZ Histories. It has engaged a wide range of students, in particular Māori students. Teachers report positive impacts on student participation, and students (from all backgrounds) report learning in ANZ Histories helps them connect to ‘being a New Zealander’. Students, especially Māori and Pacific students, enjoy learning ANZ Histories, and teachers and parents and whānau see students are engaged in their learning. It is important that this engagement and enjoyment is not lost, as implementation continues.

Lesson 2: Provide clearer expectations about what needs to be covered to make sure all areas of ANZ Histories are taught, including the national and global context.

Teachers are often interpreting ANZ Histories as the history of their immediate area, and Māori history. This has led to a lack of focus on the history of Aotearoa New Zealand more broadly, and the histories of all people who call it home. Teachers would benefit from guidance around how much attention to give:

  • Knowledge of history and the Social Science skills involved
  • Māori history
  • The histories of other people who call/have called New Zealand home
  • The history of their immediate area
  • The history of Aotearoa New Zealand more broadly
  • Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world
  • Global relationships and connections.

Lesson 3: Have a more explicit curriculum and provide more ‘can be used off the shelf’ content and exemplars.

Schools are struggling to develop their ANZ Histories content because their teachers are not experts in curriculum design. Developing a school curriculum is a big ask of schools and they would benefit from more explicit guidance around curriculum design, or a more prescriptive curriculum. Local hapū and iwi can support development of content but cannot alone support the framing of events from multiple perspectives.

Lesson 4: Be realistic about the capacity of both schools and hapū and iwi to engage on changes to the curriculum.

Schools are expected to engage with local hapū and iwi to develop their ANZ Histories curriculum content, but this often isn’t happening. Half of schools have limited or no engagement with local hapū and iwi on Social Sciences, including ANZ Histories. Some schools are facing challenges due to lack of capacity and capability to engage with hapū and iwi. We also heard from schools that hapū or iwi don’t have the capacity to work with all the schools in their area (rohe). Schools would benefit from ‘off the shelf’ teaching and learning resources about Māori histories to fill the gap, until schools are able to develop those relationships. Hapū and iwi would benefit from resourcing or support so they can provide schools with the help they need.

Lesson 5: Provide further guidance and tools for assessing student progress.

While teachers appreciate the clarity of the Phases of Learning (learning progressions), they are unsure how to measure and track how well students are learning and progressing in ANZ Histories, or Social Sciences more broadly. Teachers would benefit from greater guidance on measuring and tracking progress, as well as easy-to-use assessment tools that align with the Phases of Learning and the skills students are expected to develop.

Lesson 6: Keep providing supports and resources (including Curriculum Leads who work with schools), but make sure they are available to schools for the start of implementation and are well signposted.

The most useful and impactful supports for the implementation of ANZ Histories have been teacher only days, in-person support from Curriculum Leads, and collaboration with other schools that are part of a cluster, such as Kāhui Ako. It is important that these supports are in place – and accessible to all schools – for the roll out of new curriculum areas. The Ministry’s resources have also provided critical support for implementation, but teachers often don’t know when new supports are available or where to find them. Schools stand a better chance of accessing the curriculum resources they need if they are made available for the start of implementation, and accessible from a single website that is well-publicised.

Lesson 7: Better, more targeted support, tailored for schools at the different stages of implementation.

We found that schools are at different stages of implementation. Each stage of implementation has different support needs. Therefore, schools would benefit from targeted support to help them towards fully embedding changes.

Conclusion

ANZ Histories content is being taught in all schools, but only three-quarters of schools were teaching it at all year levels in September 2023. Schools are prioritising local and Māori histories, and teaching ANZ Histories over the broader Social Sciences. Māori and Pacific students are enjoying ANZ Histories more than NZ European, Asian, and MELAA students. This is because students are twice as likely to enjoy ANZ Histories when learning is connecting them to their family and community, and when they are learning about people similar to them.

Teachers like teaching ANZ Histories but are overwhelmed by the scale of the changes. They need time to build their own understanding of the content and don’t have the specialist skills to develop a curriculum. Schools can be better supported by making the national curriculum more explicit and providing more ‘can be used off the shelf’ content. They also need supports and resources to be accessible, including clear guidance and tools for assessing student progress. Parents and whānau want their children to learn ANZ Histories but want content to be taught sensitively and for more global context to be included.

Appendix 1: Methodology

ERO used a mixed method approach of surveys, site visits, and interviews. Key experts, including curriculum specialists, were interviewed early on so that we could adapt our methods based on those discussions. This report primarily draws on the voices of school curriculum leaders, teachers, students, and their parents and whānau. Through these voices, we unpack what schools are doing to implement the refreshed curriculum content, in particular ANZ Histories, and the impact this is having.

Our evaluation questions

This evaluation of the implementation of Aoteaora New Zealand’s Histories (ANZ Histories) and Te Ao Tangata | the refreshed Social Sciences learning area (Social Sciences) set out to answer the following questions:

  1. What is being taught for ANZ Histories?
  2. What has been the impact of ANZ Histories on students, teachers, and communities?
  3. What has been working well and less well in making the changes to include ANZ Histories?
  4. What is being taught for the refreshed Social Sciences learning area more broadly, and what impact is it having?
  5. What are the lessons for ANZ Histories and for implementing other curriculum areas?

Mixed methods design

The evaluation used a complementary mix of qualitative and quantitative data to ensure depth and breadth. The target population was a representative picture of all English-medium state and integrated schools in Aotearoa New Zealand. Data were collected through:

  • surveys – designed to capture breadth through a wide range of voices, leveraging a representative sample to comment on the wider school context
  • administrative data on enrolments for NCEA Level 1 History
  • interviews – designed to capture depth, including voices from key demographics
  • site visits – designed to uncover what things look like ‘on the ground’.

We partnered with the Ministry of Education to design our survey and interview tools to make sure we accurately represented the changes taking place as part of the curriculum refresh. We also adjusted our data collection tools in response to early findings from our interviews with key experts, and from our site visits.

Using our mixed methods approach, we collected the following data:

  • site visits at 11 schools
  • surveys of 447 school leaders and teachers
  • surveys of 918 students
  • surveys of 1016 parents and whānau
  • interviews with 37 school leaders and 52 teachers
  • interviews with 96 students
  • interviews with 22 parents and whānau
  • interviews with six experts in curriculum and/or relevant subject matter
  • interview with one hapū representative.

Data analysis

Quantitative analysis

Quantitative data were statistically analysed using STATA, SPSS and Excel software. Data were collected across surveys of school leaders, teachers, students, and parents and whānau. Differences between groups were identified through non-parametric statistical tests. Where we report differences for groups these are significant at p < 0.05. Non-responses were excluded from analysis. ‘Not sure’, and ‘prefer not to say’ responses were retained in our analysis when these represented meaningful responses to the questions asked and added to our understanding. However, 'prefer not to say' responses are not shown in the graphs.

Our analysis assumes that teachers’ self-efficacy (how positive or how confident they feel) is strongly correlate with competence, and this is reflected in our reporting. This correlation is established across an array of research into a range of roles. The OECD reports that a number of studies have demonstrated positive associations between teachers’ sense of self-efficacy and higher levels of student achievement and motivation, teachers’ job satisfaction and teaching behaviour.(29) Our analysis also assumes that students’ enjoyment of learning and their feelings of belonging strongly correlate with participation and achievement, which is established by the international evidence.(30) The approach taken in this report is consistent with those findings.

Logistic regression analysis

To determine the factors that had the biggest impact on students’ enjoyment of ANZ Histories and Social Sciences, we used logistic regression analyses. Enjoyment was measured on a 6-point ordinal scale, but for the purpose of the regression analysis, it was made binary. We tested multiple models and have reported those that provided a ‘best fit’ for the data. We looked at the ability of the following independent variables to predict students’ enjoyment of ANZ Histories and Social Sciences. Independent variables were measured on a range of answer-types but made binary for the regression analysis. The questions were as follows:

  • My teacher helps me connect what I am learning to my family/whānau and community
    • Strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree, not sure, prefer not to say
  • My teacher helps me connect what I am learning to who I am
    • Strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree, not sure, prefer not to say
  • My teacher makes me feel included when we learn about (Aotearoa New Zealand's Histories / Social Science/Social studies)
    • Strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree, not sure, prefer not to say
  • My teacher helps me understand Aotearoa New Zealand's place in the world
    • Strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree, not sure, prefer not to say
  • My teacher encourages me to share my culture with the class
    • Strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree, not sure, prefer not to say
  • I am learning about people who are similar to me
    • Strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree, not sure, prefer not to say
  • Are you
    • Female, male, gender diverse, prefer not to say
  • School type (gathered using school data)
    • Primary, secondary
  • Do you identify as disabled
    • Yes, no, not sure, prefer not to say

 

The significant predictors for enjoyment of ANZ Histories were (p< 0.05):

  • Teacher helping student connect learning to their family/whānau and community (Odds ratio: 1.84)
  • Teacher making student feel included when learning about ANZ Histories (1.5)
  • Teacher helping student understand Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world (2.63)
  • Learning about people who are similar to them (2.16)
  • Being of Māori ethnicity (1.69)

The significant (p< 0.05) predictors for enjoyment of Social Sciences were:

  • Teacher making student feel included when learning about Social Sciences (2.64)
  • Learning about people who are similar to them (2.20)
  • Not being of Māori ethnicity (0.56)
  • Not being of Pacific ethnicity (0.47)
  • Being a secondary school student (0.43)

We also used logistic regression analyses to determine the factors that had the biggest impact on schools rolling out ANZ Histories to all year levels by the end of 2023. ANZ Histories roll out was measured using six categories but for the regression analysis, it was made binary. We tested multiple models and have reported the model that provided a ‘best fit’ for the data. We looked at the following independent variables, which were measured on a range of answer-types but made binary for the regression analysis. The questions were as follows:

  • How well has your school leadership team communicated the expectations for change in relation to the refreshed social science learning area
    • Very clearly, quite clearly, not very clearly, not at all clearly, not sure
  • To what extent have you been supported to implement these changes in your school
    • To a great extent, to a moderate extent, to a small extent, not at all, not sure
  • Teaching resources located on the ANZ Histories website
    • I heavily rely on this for classroom teaching, I regularly engage with this support for classroom teaching, I occasionally engage with this support for classroom teaching, I have had a look, but I haven't engaged with this support for classroom teaching, I’m aware, but I haven’t engaged with this at all, I am not aware of this resource or support
  • Te Mātaiaho | the Refreshed Curriculum draft document
    • I heavily rely on this for classroom teaching, I regularly engage with this support for classroom teaching, I occasionally engage with this support for classroom teaching, I have had a look, but I haven't engaged with this support for classroom teaching, I’m aware, but I haven’t engaged with this at all, I am not aware of this resource or support
  • Implementing Te Mātaiaho | the Refreshed Curriculum support pack
    • I heavily rely on this for classroom teaching, I regularly engage with this support for classroom teaching, I occasionally engage with this support for classroom teaching, I have had a look, but I haven't engaged with this support for classroom teaching, I’m aware, but I haven’t engaged with this at all, I am not aware of this resource or support
  • Leading Local Curriculum Guide
    • I heavily rely on this for classroom teaching, I regularly engage with this support for classroom teaching, I occasionally engage with this support for classroom teaching, I have had a look, but I haven't engaged with this support for classroom teaching, I’m aware, but I haven’t engaged with this at all, I am not aware of this resource or support
  • Teaching guidance located on the ANZ Histories website
    • I heavily rely on this for classroom teaching, I regularly engage with this support for classroom teaching, I occasionally engage with this support for classroom teaching, I have had a look, but I haven't engaged with this support for classroom teaching, I’m aware, but I haven’t engaged with this at all, I am not aware of this resource or support
  • Teacher only days
    • I heavily rely on this for classroom teaching, I regularly engage with this support for classroom teaching, I occasionally engage with this support for classroom teaching, I have had a look, but I haven't engaged with this support for classroom teaching, I’m aware, but I haven’t engaged with this at all, I am not aware of this resource or support
  • Face-to-face (kanohi ki te kanohi) support
    • I heavily rely on this for classroom teaching, I regularly engage with this support for classroom teaching, I occasionally engage with this support for classroom teaching, I have had a look, but I haven't engaged with this support for classroom teaching, I’m aware, but I haven’t engaged with this at all, I am not aware of this resource or support
  • Histories books from school libraries
    • I heavily rely on this for classroom teaching, I regularly engage with this support for classroom teaching, I occasionally engage with this support for classroom teaching, I have had a look, but I haven't engaged with this support for classroom teaching, I’m aware, but I haven’t engaged with this at all, I am not aware of this resource or support
  • My overall understanding of ANZ Histories content
    • Very confident, confident, a little confident, not at all confident, not sure
  • My overall understanding of the refreshed Social Science learning area
    • Very confident, confident, a little confident, not at all confident, not sure
  • School type (gathered using school data)
    • Primary, secondary

The significant (p< 0.05) predictors for ANZ Histories roll out by the end of 2023 were:

  • Leaders and teachers who have been supported by their leadership to implement the changes in relation to ANZ Histories (Odds ratio: 4.0)
  • Leaders and teachers who have been engaging with teaching guidance located on the ANZ Histories website (5.89)
  • Being a primary school teacher (8.65)

Qualitative analysis

Qualitative data were thematically analysed by an experienced team.

Where possible, interviews were recorded, and extensive notes were taken. A debrief session was held after each interview, to discuss and identify key themes. Regular analysis workshops were undertaken after the data collection period. Open-ended comments from surveys were also analysed and coded to identify themes.

The qualitative data were analysed in two main ways:

  1. A semi-inductive approach was initially taken, whereby the interviewer notation was coded into previously established themes, organised within the key evaluation questions. Cross-interview themes were established during workshops comprising the qualitative analysis team.
  2. Following substantive analysis of both the qualitative and quantitative data, a deductive approach was taken to establish exemplars that illustrated those analyses with real-world experiences.

All quotes were gathered from verbatim records and open-ended survey responses.

The research team held workshops to discuss the survey data and the interview data to identity cross-cutting themes. This also made sure that members of the research team were analysing and interpreting the data consistently, and additional investigation could be undertaken to address gaps or inconsistencies. A sample of these workshops were attended by a peer reviewer, external to the research team, to further ensure the quality of the analysis.

Sense-making

Following analysis of the data from the surveys and interviews, sense-making discussions were conducted to test interpretation of the results, findings, and areas for action with:

  • ERO specialists in reviewing school practice
  • a group of key individuals with curriculum expertise
  • the project’s Expert Advisory Group, made up of sector experts
  • the project’s Steering Group, made up of ERO and Ministry of Education representatives.

We then tested and refined the findings and lessons with the following groups to ensure they were useful and practical:

  • representatives from the Ministry of Education
  • the project Steering Group.

Surveys

Teacher and leader surveys

ERO conducted the teacher and leader surveys using Survey Monkey. Participants were invited on the following criteria:

  • teachers who had responsibility for delivering Social Science and ANZ Histories content for students in Years 0-10.
  • school leaders who had responsibility for leading the school curriculum, particularly with respect to ANZ Histories, and Social Science.

The teacher and leader surveys were in the field from early September 2023 to mid‑October 2023 (spanning parts of Term 3, the term break and Term 4).

Initially, a representative sample of 997 schools was selected and sent the surveys. After a short time in the field, in order to expand the respondent pool, the survey was sent to all state run and integrated English medium schools, excluding Kaupapa Māori, Special schools, Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu | The Correspondence school, and private schools. School offices were sent the survey links in an email and requested to make these available to staff. Both ERO and The Ministry of Education undertook communication activities to promote and support participation.

There are regularly around 2500 schools in Aotearoa New Zealand, and we had a total of 447 leader and teacher respondents.

Below is a breakdown of the teacher and leader participants. The population percentage was obtained from teachers headcount data 2022 from Education Counts.

 

Demographic

Number

Percentage of participants

Population percentage

NZ European

290

65%

72%

Māori

56

12%

12%

Asian

14

3%

5%

Pacific

17

4%

4%

MELAA

5

1%

1%

Gender diverse

1

0%

-

Prefer not to say

14

4%

0% (Gender unknown)

Primary (school)

214

61%

57%

Secondary (school)

135

39%

43%

Main urban area (school)

247

64%

71%

Secondary urban area (school)

33

8%

7%

Minor urban area (school)

50

14%

12%

Rural area (school)

204

13%

10%

Teachers

191

43%

-

Leaders

255

57%

-

 

Student survey

ERO conducted the student surveys using Survey Monkey. Participants were invited on the following criteria:

  • students who have been experiencing some of the changes the school is making in this learning area.

The student surveys were in the field from early September 2023 to mid-October 2023 (spanning parts of Term 3, the term break and Term 4).

Initially, a representative sample of 997 schools was selected and sent the surveys. After a short time in the field, the survey was boosted to all state run and integrated English medium schools, excluding Kaupapa Māori, Special schools, Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu | The Correspondence school, and private schools. Teachers were asked to support their students to participate.

There are regularly around 2500 schools in Aotearoa New Zealand and we had a total of 918 student respondents.

Below is a breakdown of the student participants:

Demographic

Number

Percent

Population percentage

NZ European

473

52%

58%

Māori

165

18%

25%

Asian

146

16%

18%

Pacific

184

20%

13%

MELAA

54

6%

3%

Female

440

50%

44%

Male

397

45%

49%

Gender diverse

18

2%

-

Prefer not to say

26

3%

0% (Gender unknown)

Main urban area

725

87%

-

Minor urban area

40

5%

-

Secondary urban area

31

4%

-

Rural area

33

4%

-

Primary

387

47%

63%

Secondary

442

53%

37%

Parent and whānau survey

ERO drafted the parent and whānau survey and commissioned a panel company to deliver it. The company was directed to obtain a representative sample of participants, with target proportions provided by ERO. This survey was in the field from 21 September 2023 to 17 October 2023. We received 1039 survey responses.

The table below describes the breakdown of parent and whānau participants. 

Demographic

Number

Percent

Very Small (school)

6

1%

Small (school)

48

6%

Medium (school)

192

24%

Large (school)

309

39%

Very large (school)

247

31%

Primary (school)

582

72%

Secondary (school)

221

28%

Main urban area

611

76%

Secondary urban area

65

7%

Minor urban area

56

8%

Rural area

75

9%

NZ European

607

60%

Māori

264

26%

Asian

136

13%

Pacific

101

10%

MELAA

28

3%

Site visits and interviews 

ERO talked to six key experts, 89 leaders and teachers, 96 students, and 22 parents and whānau throughout this project. These were held in person, on Zoom, on the phone, and face-to-face. Interviews ranged from one participant through to small groups of up to 10 participants. All interviews and site visits were conducted between August 2023 and December 2023, which is school Terms 3 and 4.

Interviews were run as flexible, semi-structured discussions. Different combinations of team members conducted interviews, using topic guides that were tailored for each participant group. This means we designed different topics guides for school leaders, teachers, students, parents and whānau, and experts. Interviews were, generally, carried out with two members of the research team.

Site visits

The research team visited 11 schools from across the country. Schools were selected as part of a purposive sample, developed from a list of recommended schools. The research team then approached schools to offer the opportunity to participate. We selected our sample to cover a range of school characteristics, including:

  • type – primary or secondary
  • size
  • location – across different regions of the North and South Islands
  • rurality
  • roll composition – high Māori and Pacific students.

Each school was visited by at least two members of the research team. Site visits occurred over one day, and included discussions with school leaders, teachers, and groups of students. Where possible, researchers observed classroom practices or observed documentation such as lesson planning or assessment information (that reflected the refreshed Social Science curriculum or Aotearoa New Zealand Histories). ERO expects to return to the same group of schools for any further evaluation of this curriculum implementation, where possible.

Experts

Interviews with key informants included a range of experts in curriculum design, as well as representatives from key groups with interests in the Aotearoa New Zealand curriculum (for example, disabled people). These interviews focussed on the areas of the curriculum refresh that the participant had the most expertise in.

Māori kaumatua

ERO’s kaupapa Māori research team undertook one interview with a Māori kaumatua, who had been involved on behalf of his hapū with a participating school. This relationship had supported the school to develop their curriculum to reflect local histories, and we sought to establish the perspective of the hapū on the successes and challenges that had come from this developing relationship.

We intended to interview more hapū and iwi representatives to understand how the hapū or iwi has been involved with schools in relation to ANZ Histories and what had worked well and less well. However, we faced a number of challenges in this phase of the evaluation. ERO will make sure hapū and iwi voices are prioritised in later phases of evaluating the curriculum refresh.

Leaders and teachers

Interviews were undertaken in separate groups of leaders and teachers. Interviews with leaders and teachers covered a range of contexts. Rather than looking for representativity of the teaching population, we sought to ensure the inclusion of varied voices, and intentionally covered schools from a range of geographical locations and equity index. Particular attention was paid to ensuring all school types and sizes were covered, and that Māori and Pacific voices were included. Participants came from site visit schools, and from registering interest in the leader and teacher surveys.

Students

Interviews with students were undertaken in groups, of up to 10 participants. Students were generally grouped among classroom peers. As with leaders and teachers, we sought to ensure the inclusion of varied voices, and intentionally covered schools from a range of geographical locations and equity index. All interviews were conducted as part of site visits, which meant that all (with one exception) took place in person. Interviewers used a range of techniques to ensure that all children had an opportunity to share their experiences, including key discussion points that could be responded to through gestures.

Parents and whānau

Interviews with parents and whānau took place online. Participants were sourced from the parent survey. The survey screened respondents by their awareness of the changes to the curriculum to ensure that interviewees could fairly engage in discussion. Respondents to the parent survey who were aware of changes being made at their child’s school were offered an opportunity to indicate their interest in taking part in small group interviews with ERO. After registering their interest, they were contacted by members of the research team to confirm their availability, and supply additional information (including consent, see below). Once a suitable time could be established, ERO contacted participants with an invitation to the session and a link to join online.

Where possible, interviews aimed to include small groups of parents and whānau with key characteristics. For example, a group of parents of primary-aged children. All participants were provided with a koha through the survey panel company.

Information and consent

All participants were informed of the purpose of the evaluation before they agreed to participate in an interview. Participants were informed that:

  • participation was voluntary and could be withdrawn at any time
  • their words may be included in reporting, but no identifying details would be shared
  • permission to use their information could be withdrawn at any time
  • interviews were not an evaluation of their school, and their school would not be identified in the resulting national report
  • their information was confidential and would be kept securely subject to the provisions of the Official Information Act 1982, Privacy Act 1993, and the Public Records Act 2005 on the release and retention of information.

Interviewees consented to take part in an interview via email, or by submitting a written consent form to ERO. Their verbal consent was also sought to record their online interviews, and participants were given opportunities to query the evaluation team if they needed further information about the consent process.

Data security

Data collected from interviews and surveys will be stored digitally for a period of six months after the full completion of the evaluation of the implementation of the refresh of the NZ Curriculum has been concluded.  During this time, all data will be password-protected and have limited accessibility.

Limitations

As with all research, there are some limitations to our methodology and methods.

In terms of scope, this research:

  • does not make comment on the quality or design of the refreshed curriculum itself
  • does not seek to evaluate the quality or feasibility of the Ministry of Education’s delivery and support of the curriculum refresh
  • does not make judgements about individual schools or the quality of their implementation.

In terms of the data collection:

  • Teacher and leader survey: Since participation was voluntary, it is possible that there was a non-response bias that skewed the sample towards fast adopters. To address this risk, we sent the survey to all schools (in scope) in the national directory to ensure maximum reach, and we held the survey open for an extended duration. Targeted communications were undertaken by both the Ministry of Education and the Education Review Office to encourage participation, and to assure schools that responses from any stage of implementation were welcomed. Note that analysis of results in combination with expert perspectives suggest that mitigations are likely to have been successful.
  • Student survey: The Social Sciences, including ANZ Histories, is a complex learning area. Additionally, because primary schools generally deliver a blended curriculum, students may not be able to identify when they have been learning in a particular curriculum area. To mitigate this, we asked schools to only provide the survey to students who had been learning the refreshed curriculum content. To support students’ understanding of the questions, we provided a description of what might be included in the Social Science learning area wherever this was relevant. We also guided students to check with their teacher if they needed further support to identify relevant topics.
  • Parent and whānau survey: Since the parent and whānau survey was delivered by a panel company, it is possible that participants may have attempted to select perceived desirable responses, in order to obtain compensatory benefits for participation. To mitigate this, screening questions were framed non-preferentially so that participants were not guided to respond in any particular way.
  • Interviews: Since participation in our interviews was voluntary, it relied on participants having time to engage with our research team, which may have resulted in some biases in our sample. To mitigate this, we ensured that the sample reflected a wide range of settings and demographics. The research team offered a flexible approach to interviewing, enabling participants to take part when it was most suitable to their schedule. Additionally, it is also possible participants provided socially desirable responses in the interviews. We mitigated this risk by assuring participants that this evaluation would not make judgements about individual schools, all data would be treated confidentially, and no identifiable information would be disclosed.
  • Site visits: Since participation was voluntary, and the research team were coming to observe what the school had done in response to mandated curriculum, it is possible that only schools at a certain stage of implementation would allow us to visit. To mitigate this, we selected a wide range of schools to ensure we had observations of a range of contexts. The research team took care to communicate with candidate schools that this was intended to capture ‘where they’re at’ and the research team did not impose any expectations. As with interviews, all participants were assured that this evaluation would not make judgements about individual schools, all data would be treated confidentially, and no identifiable information would be disclosed.

In terms of data presentation:

Survey data is sometimes simplified for readability. In our survey analysis we use all levels of the ordinal responses to draw conclusions about statistically significant differences. In some cases, we have, for simplicity, presented percentages in text or in graphs for the compressed scale responses, for example, by aggregating the top two and bottom two response options. This is to highlight the impacts we have observed amongst different respondent groups; but the differences we comment on are always a reflection of statistically significant differences in how they responded across the whole ordinal Likert scale.

Māori participation in the research

Impacts for Māori was a key focus of this research. They made up 12 percent of teacher and leader survey respondents, 18 percent of student participants, and 26 percent of parent survey respondents. Interviews also actively sought Māori participation. Māori researchers were key partners with the research team and supported the interview process, directly helping to facilitate with Māori kaumatua. Māori education sector experts supported our design and sense-making and held positions on the Steering Group. 

Appendix 2: Ministry of Education guidance on the Understand, Know, Do framework for ANZ Histories

The Ministry has provided schools with a series of documents related to ANZ Histories and the Refreshed Curriculum, including the refreshed Social Sciences learning area. This section summarises key differences between these documents in relation to the Understand, Know, Do framework.

Timeline

The ANZ Histories document, referred to as the ‘purple book’ by many schools, was released in March 2022 and the content was required to be taught from the start of 2023.

The draft refreshed Social Sciences learning area, in which ANZ Histories curriculum content sits, was published in November 2022. Teaching the content for the wider refreshed Social Sciences is currently planned to be required from the start of 2027.

Understand, Know, Do in the different curriculum documents

The following tables show variations between the Understand (big ideas), the Know (contexts), and the Do (inquiry practices) as they appear in ANZ Histories and in the draft refreshed Social Sciences learning area. This is because ANZH Histories curriculum content was developed first, before being integrated within the refreshed Social Sciences learning area. While a number of the big ideas, contexts, and inquiry practices are shared or similar, there are also differences, reflecting the broader teaching and learning expected within Social Sciences.

Statements from the different versions of these documents provided by the Ministry of Education (the Ministry) are shown side by side.

Comparing the big ideas (Understand)

ANZ Histories document

Refreshed Social Sciences learning area (including ANZ Histories)

Māori history is the foundational and continuous history of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Māori history is the foundational and continuous history of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Colonisation and settlement have been central to Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories for the past 200 years.

Colonisation and settlement have been central to Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories for the past 200 years.

The course of Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories has been shaped by the use of power.

People’s lived experiences have been shaped by the use and misuse of power.

Relationships and connections between people and across boundaries have shaped the course of Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories.

Interactions change societies and environments.

 

People participate in communities by acting on their beliefs and through the roles they hold.

 

People hold different perspectives on the world depending on their values, traditions, and experiences.

 

Comparing the contexts (Know)

ANZ Histories document

Refreshed Social Sciences learning area (including ANZ Histories)

Culture and identity

Culture and collective identity

Government and organisation

Sovereignty, organisation, and government

Place and environment

Place and environment

Economic activity

Economic activity

Comparing the inquiry practices (Do)

ANZ Histories document

Refreshed Social Sciences learning area (including ANZ Histories)

Identifying and exploring historical relationships

Thinking critically about the past

Identifying sources and perspectives

Interpreting past experiences, decisions, and actions

 

Asking rich questions to guide worthy investigations

 

Thinking conceptually

 

Collecting, analysing, and using sources

 

Identifying values and perspectives

 

Communicating arguments and ideas using social science conventions

 

Analysing decisions and taking social action

References

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