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Charles The Chef Passes – Ministry Fails

Sunday 8 July 2001

“A complaint has been forwarded to the Ministry of Education and the Advertising Standards Complaints Board about the Charles the Chef TV and newspaper ads that they mislead the public about how Charles ‘failed’ at school, “ Concerned Teachers spokesperson Peter Calvert stated today. “The ad misrepresents changes that have occurred in the fifth, sixth and seventh form at schools over the last decade.”

“The fact is that Charles could not fail the fifth form twice and then fail sixth form, as the ad alleges. There is no such thing. To fail the fifth form was something that disappeared in the 1970s. Up till then a pass mark of 200 in your best four subjects was required to pass your School certificate. But even the idea of ‘pass/fail’ marks of 50% had gone by the time Charles went to secondary school. Students simply get the mark they earn and the school decides whether the student can progress. Failing the Sixth Form stopped in 1984 when UE went. The Sixth Form Certificate does not even have marks to pass. There are grades from 1 (highest) to 9 (lowest) but there is no pass grade,” said Mr Calvert.

“It si therefore wrong to say he didn’t pass a single subject at High School. The Ministry pretends not to realise that ‘multilevel’ study has come in so that students like Charles will be doing subjects at Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Form level in the same year. It is highly likely that is what he did yet the ad implies he did a course at Fifth Form level for two years, followed by one at Sixth Form level for a year then a Seventh Form course for two years – failing them all. Most readers would wonder how he won promotion to the next level if he kept failing,” said Mr Calvert.

“Such advertising by the Ministry of Education is quite misleading and gives the impression that Charles time at school was a total waste of time. The fact that he stayed till he was 19 shows he must have felt he was succeeding at something!” said Mr Calvert.

“The ad misleads parents about how the senior school now operates and has done for a long time. We want the ad changed to tell the truth. If this part of the ad is so untruthful and misleading why would the rest of it be true? Given it coincides with NZQA ads about senior qualifications (NCEA) Charles’ mistruths are even more surprising. The million dollars plus spent on the ads so far would have been better spent helping teachers with the new courses,” said Mr Calvert.
Ends

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