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Improving access to schools could benefit all

Media Release

Maxim Institute

7 February 2006

Research shows improving access to schools could benefit all pupils and parents

A new report released today, The Parent Factor: Access to Education, examines the impact of an education system where more parents are able to select their child’s school and concludes that New Zealand is missing out on many potential benefits, including:

- improved pupil performance across the board;

- a rise in parents getting involved in their child’s education, which can increase their satisfaction with schooling; and

- schools being more responsive to the needs of families in their community, which helps spur innovation and can improve the quality of schooling.

“In recent years, the quality of research about education systems where parents can choose schools has improved, making a more meaningful dialogue about the impact of school choice policies possible”, says Maxim Institute Policy Manager, Nicki Taylor.

“It is time policymakers reconsidered the status quo, wherein only wealthy parents have real choices about their child’s schooling and seriously examined the merits of improving access for all parents”, says Nicki Taylor.

The report can be downloaded from Maxim’s website at: www.maxim.org.nz/parentfactor.

ENDS

The Parent Factor: Access to Education examines the schooling options available to parents under the current system; research into the effects of policies enabling greater choice; international case studies of different examples of school choice and concludes with some positive policy recommendations which would help make schooling more reflective of what New Zealand parents want.

The report details findings from independent quantitative research conducted by Colmar Brunton for the Maxim Institute. Over 1,000 parents from throughout New Zealand were involved in the research. The data was weighted to census targets for location and ethnicity. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 3 percent at a 95 percent confidence level. Maxim Institute can provide a breakdown of data by region, sex, ethnicity and other variables upon request.

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