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Integrated schools: another Mallard back down

Hon Bill English

National Education Spokesman

5 May 2004

Integrated schools: another Mallard back down

Trevor Mallard has been forced to back down on his plans to bring integrated schools under full government control, says National's Education spokesman, Bill English.

He is responding to answers to Parliamentary questions saying that the review will now be confined to administration issues and that those surrounding integration will not be touched. This confirms a public statement made by the proprietors of integrated schools.

"This is another defeat for a Minister and a Government hell-bent on reducing parent choice and running all schools from Wellington," says Mr English.

"The threat of parental action has seen both the network reviews and the review of integrated schools rolled back.

Labour produced a discussion document late last year detailing plans to remove the independence of integrated schools. This would see integrated schools become the victims of Labour's strict zoning regulations, it's plans for large-scale closures, and changes to school property rules that will see popular schools prevented from expanding.

"Labour's loathing of integrated schools is no great secret. Growing enrolments in these schools, across the board, makes it harder for the Minister to control the whole education system but it certainly hasn't stopped him from trying.

"Trevor Mallard has lost touch with ordinary New Zealanders who want increased choice in the education system, not less," says Mr English.

ENDS


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