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Disadvantaged Students Have Most To Lose



Auckland Grammar School Headmaster John Morris today told MPs that disadvantaged students have the most to lose from the introduction of tighter enrolment provisions. John Morris appeared as Acting Chairman of the Education Forum before the Education and Science Select Committee, which was in Auckland today hearing submissions on the Education Amendment Act.

"The government argues that zoning is fairer for schools but it ignores the fact that it is often unfair for individual students. Despite all the talk about the 'right of students to attend their local school', tighter zoning will primarily affect out-of-zone enrolments because most schools already give priority to local students. And it is the least well-off students, including Maori and Pacific Islanders, who have benefited most from out-of-zone opportunities. The legislation will have the opposite effect to that intended, by disadvantaging the already disadvantaged.

"Zoning legislation cannot cater for the personal and educational circumstances facing parents and children. For example, the child who should go to a different school from a sibling or the child who should not go to the local school because a parent is a teacher there. Principals can address these situations on an individual basis, but legislation is too blunt a weapon. It may address some instances of unfairness but it creates many more.

"The reintroduction of balloting is also a major concern because it will change the incentives for students applying for admission to an out-of-zone school. Balloting means there will be no point in working hard to gain admission because selection will be entirely random."

Copies of the written submission of the Education Forum on the Education Amendment Act are available on request.


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