Where have you been all my life?

What an exciting time ahead for education in New Zealand!

Last week, the Minister of Education announced plans to mandate Structured Literacy in all state primary schools starting with Years 1-3 from 2025, covering all pupils up to Year 6 by 2027. Our team at Learning MATTERS is incredibly proud that this announcement was made at one of the exceptional schools who have trusted in us and partnered with us to support their implementation of Structured Literacy. Congratulations to Kogie, Deb, and their team at Manurewa West School.  

Reaching this milestone, where the Minister has fulfilled a promise backed by years of research, is truly a reason to celebrate. I extend my warmest congratulations and heartfelt thanks to every classroom teacher, school leader, parent, and advocate who has consistently contributed to this field. Your dedication to learning, practicing, refining instruction, and sharing your insights through various channels has been instrumental. You are a crucial part of the community that has brought us to where we are today in Aotearoa. You have shown commitment to evidence-based instruction for everyone, and for that, you should be proud. 

Our team would like to give a special shout-out to all the schools who have trusted in us and partnered with us, and all the iDeaL users who have supported us in our work to achieve what we have at this scale. Thank you all so much.  

But here comes the 'but'! 

While we are proud, we remain cautious.  

The phrase 'where have you been all my life' resonates with me as I come across an overwhelming amount of information on Structured Literacy offerings from providers and companies via various platforms and sent to my email. Some of which, I am a little surprised that I hadn't known about the extent of expertise and dedication in this area. 

For teachers and leaders new to this field, you are starting from a strong foundation built by those who came before you. This is a true grassroots movement! Likewise, professional learning and development facilitators and providers are also benefiting from a robust groundwork laid by pioneers in the field. However, as the Ministry of Education now begins to release support for teachers and PLD options are expanding—previously overlooked by many providers—it's understandable to see new facilitators and providers emerging. While no single provider can or should manage this rollout alone, and while I believe in cultivating a sector of experts, I must admit I feel a bit apprehensive. 

Although New Zealand has made significant progress over the past decade, it's clear that the journey for many into Structured Literacy is just beginning. It's crucial that our enthusiasm doesn't cloud our judgement. While I might enjoy the occasional spontaneous purchase—a trait my husband can certainly attest to—now is the time for careful consideration and thoughtfulness. We must all take a moment to pause, listen, read, and thoughtfully consider our next steps. The responsibility is great, as the decisions we make now will impact not only our current practices but also the futures of many generations. By maintaining our integrity, committing to thorough research, and carefully planning our actions, we can profoundly influence their educational outcomes and our own professional legacy. 

Where have we been? We’ve been right here all along, alongside our dedicated team at Learning MATTERS, working tirelessly to shape, motivate, and facilitate outstanding literacy education through the implementation of Structured Literacy. We understand the challenges of implementing Structured Literacy with integrity and fidelity, and we recognise the expertise required. 

We're always here and eager to connect—just reach out to us. 


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