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Ministry failing to give parents info on schools

MEDIA RELEASE

7 SEPTEMBER 2005

Ministry failing to provide parents with information on schools

A new report released this week, shows that a significant majority of parents would like information on their children’s schooling that is currently not available to them. The report finds that:

- 89% of parents would like more information on the quality of their children’s teachers;

- 89% of parents would like to know what areas a school specialises in;

- 79% of parents would like to know which schools in their area have the best and worst exam results; and

- 61% of parents want more information about truancy rates, stand-downs and expulsions to help them choose a school.

Maxim Institute Policy Manager, Nicki Taylor, says the findings, when compared to the current situation, confirm that the current situation regarding information provision is not what parents want and needs to be examined.

“Despite the Ministry of Education spending $54 million on information provision in the 2004-2005 year and enlisting the help of top Kiwis like Tana Umaga, parents still cannot find and compare basic information about their local schools, such as exam results and areas of specialty”, says Nicki Taylor.

“New Zealand is now being left behind by countries that have recognised the importance of providing good, useable and easy to understand information to parents about schools. Countries such as Australia, Scotland, the Netherlands, Canada, England and the US acknowledge that providing information about schools improves accountability between parents, teachers and schools and can raise the overall quality of schooling”, says Nicki Taylor.

For example, in Australia, each state must ensure that all its schools disclose performance information to the general public, including: the proportion of pupils achieving national standards in literacy and numeracy, the “value-added” by the school, school leaver destination, teaching qualifications and staff and student absentee and retention rates.

“It is parents and not bureaucrats who are primarily responsible for the education of their children and parents need access to the best possible information about schools”, says Nicki Taylor.

The report by Maxim Institute, The Parent Factor: Information for parents, is the third in a series of reports presenting the results of independent quantitative research and providing positive policy recommendations. Maxim Institute commissioned Colmar Brunton to undertake the quantitative research in 2004. 1001 parents from throughout New Zealand were interviewed. The data was weighted to census targets for location and ethnicity. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 3% at a 95% confidence level.

The full report and a summary of the report are available on request or from Maxim’s website on www.maxim.org.nz/parentfactor.
Maxim Institute can provide a breakdown of data by region, sex, ethnicity and other variables upon request.


ENDS

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