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Cambridge - sad reflection on competitive model

13 August 2004

Cambridge High case a sad reflection on competitive model

The state of affairs at Cambridge High School is a sad reflection on a Tomorrow’s Schools model that pressures schools to succeed at all costs, PPTA president Phil Smith said today.

He said it seemed that Cambridge had developed a managerial culture focused on enhancing its reputation in order to attract more students rather than ensuring all students received relevant and quality learning programmes.

“This is a hangover from the days of bulk-funded competitive schools and an accountability regime which constantly pressures schools to demonstrate that they are succeeding across a narrow range of measures.

“While schools should always seek to get the best results for their students, that should not be at the cost of honesty and integrity and genuine learning.”

He said PPTA was pleased that the Minister had moved quickly to appoint an acting principal and limited statutory manager and he hoped these moves would enable teachers at the school to get on with their jobs in a more conducive environment.

The Cambridge situation had demonstrated what could happen when teachers were deprived from any professional involvement in the management of a school.

“The situation at the school has affected teacher morale and we hope the new appointments create stability and enable teachers to create a more positive learning environment.”

Mr Smith said although the concerns raised by NZQA about the school’s achievement recovery programme were serious, PPTA was confident that the vast majority of teachers and schools were fairly and accurately assessing NCEA and unit standards.


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