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Govt Should Reduce Class Sizes Not Close Schools

Gold Plated Opportunity for Smaller Class Sizes Instead of Closing Schools

John Minto - National Chairperson

QPEC is appealing to the Minister of Education Trevor Mallard to use the projected reduction in student numbers to reduce class sizes rather than close schools.

It is a bone of contention for every parent and every teacher that class sizes throughout our public education system are too high. We all know that children get a better deal in a smaller class where the teacher has more time to interact with individuals and much more opportunity to meet their learning needs.

This is even more a priority now that children with special education needs are for the most part mainstreamed (or “maindumped” where resources are so poorly targeted the support just isn’t there) and where the so-called “inclusive” classroom demands that all teachers become “super teachers” – able to meet the learning needs of 30 – 35 diverse individuals.

Instead the government is proposing the closure of 300 schools as student numbers drop by a projected 70,000 over the next 15 years.

The cost of this reduction in class sizes would be relatively small. The teachers are already employed, the classrooms are already there and the resource levels already set! Never in our lifetimes has such an opportunity presented itself for a relatively cheap, painless reduction in class sizes.

More creative, more interactive, less stressful teaching would all be positive outcomes and the rise in student achievement is inevitable. New Zealand could make huge progress in meeting both the key education goals the government has set namely –

* Preparing all our children for life opportunities in the 21st century and

* Improving the educational outcomes of the one third of our children living in our poorest communities whose educational statistics are appalling.

We appreciate there will be expenses where some parts of the country continue to grow and where new classrooms will need to be built or relocated but overall the cost would be relatively small.

It seems to us it would be an educational crime to miss this heaven sent opportunity.

© Scoop Media

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