27 April 2005
Correspondence students’ pastoral care at risk
A drive to cut costs at the Correspondence School will drastically reduce pastoral care services and put student welfare and learning of students at risk, PPTA president Debbie Te Whaiti said today.
She said the proposed Differential Service Delivery (DSD) Model was developed primarily to save money by cutting services that were already run on the smell of an oily rag and the goodwill of teachers.
As part of a review of services, the school’s 10 deans and 24 regional representative positions would be disestablished.
“The largest school in New Zealand also will no longer have specialist career and transition teachers.
“Students’ well-being, their learning and their future are at risk,” Te Whaiti said.
“Serving the education needs of students appears to have come a distant second.
“Essentially the model is a mechanism for rationing access. It proposes a focus on students with high learning needs. While this focus is welcome, the model proposes a significant reduction in services to other students. This is inequitable.
“What is more, the model assumes that face-to-face schools and other agencies such as Child Youth and Family will pick up the pastoral care needs of these students, yet the Correspondence School has ignored calls from staff for community consultation.
“Unlike other schools, the board of trustees has no staff, parent or student trustees. The Board is not accountable to its constituent community.
“Perhaps the school is frightened of the likely negative reaction it would receive from throughout New Zealand.”
Te Whaiti said the bulk-funding model was at the heart of the problem. The school received its income based on the number and timing of items that each enrolled student submitted for assessment.
“An alternative model would see the school provided with sufficient base funding to ensure that a wide curriculum is maintained.
“Education is expensive and essential. Students at the Correspondence School are entitled to receive the same quality of service that all other students receive at their local school.”