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Reviews will destabilise secondary schools

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Media Release

17 August 2003

Reviews will destabilise secondary schools

Secondary schools battling assessment reform and struggling to attract enough teachers should be spared the disruption that the new round of school reviews will inevitably create, PPTA president Phil Smith said today.

Mr Smith said many of the secondary schools in the projected reviews had stable rolls and had enough on their plates with assessment reforms and recruitment and retention difficulties. Some areas had already experienced difficult restructurings.

“We have to ask why the Minister has dragged secondary schools into the latest round of school reviews.

“There may be the need for some tweaking but there is no evidence of the need for reviews that include secondary schools with stable rolls.”

Mr Smith questioned the figures on spare classroom capacity in secondary schools that the Education Ministry was using to justify the reviews.

“None of the principals we’ve spoken to believe their schools have any spare capacity. They need all the space they have got to deliver a quality curriculum. They are also concerned at the uncertainty the reviews will create for teacher recruitment and retention, regardless of their final outcome.”

He said the Ministry’s own capacity to conduct the reviews in the timeframe allocated was debatable given past experience with school reviews.

“How can we trust that this process will be beneficial for schools?

“Can the Minister confidently say there won’t be the same shambles that has happened in past reviews such as that in Invercargill in the mid 1990s?

“Can he say that he will honour the consultation process with affected schools and communities so that their wishes are reflected in the final outcomes?

“Restructuring that gets more money into education is a good thing but our experience of school restructuring is that it divides and destroys communities. The end result doesn’t warrant the disruption.”

Ends.

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