Students are learning more about New Zealand’s histories but are learning less about global events

New research from the Education Review Office (ERO) has found that the new Aotearoa New Zealand’s Histories Curriculum is being taught in all schools, but not all of the content is being taught. 

Teaching New Zealand’s histories became a requirement for students in Years 1-10 at the start of last year and schools have been working hard to implement it.

Parents welcome this, with two-thirds of parents seeing learning about New Zealand’s histories as being useful for their child’s future.

At the end of last year, we found that three-quarters of schools are teaching it at all year levels and just over half of students enjoy learning about New Zealand’s histories.

However, we also found that not all of the content is being taught yet. Many schools are prioritising local histories rather than national events, and schools are also teaching less about how New Zealand’s histories link with global contexts.

It is important that histories are linked to global contexts and ERO found that students are more than twice as likely to enjoy ANZ Histories when they are learning about New Zealand’s place in the world. 

ERO also found that so far schools have been focusing on teaching the new content rather than teaching key skills.

It is important that studying histories teaches all students key skills, such as critical thinking, as these skills are important for their futures.

Although teachers are enjoying teaching about New Zealand’s histories, they are overwhelmed by the scale of the changes needed. Schools are finding developing their curriculum challenging and time-consuming, often struggling to understand what is required and not having the key skills needed. 

We welcome the work schools are doing to teach New Zealand’s histories but recommend that clearer expectations are provided about what needs to be covered to ensure all areas of the curriculum are taught.

Teachers and schools also need a more explicit curriculum and more “off the shelf” content that they can use.

The report can be read on ERO's evidence and insights website: Teaching Histories - Implementation of Aotearoa New Zealand’s Histories and the refreshed Social Sciences learning area (