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Graduation policy at Westlake Boys unacceptable

“Graduation” policy at Westlake Boys’ High School unacceptable

The proposed “graduation” policy for junior students at Westlake Boys High School is unacceptable and we expect the government to intervene to prevent the school putting it in place this year.

The school proposes refusing to allow students in Form 3 and Form 4 from proceeding to the next year level if they do not reach acceptable standards of homework, punctuality, bringing correct equipment to class and “attitude”.

Setting high educational standards and having high expectations of students are very important for every school but the effect of this policy at Westlake Boys’ will be more in the line "social cleansing" than improving education.

As soon as a student fails to "graduate" their parents will remove them from Westlake to attend another school. This is the outcome the school principal says he expects will occur and will be an even easier way of getting rid of students the school doesn’t want than the "kiwi suspension" used so effectively at many schools (where the parents are pressured to remove their child from the school rather than face disciplinary procedures)

In line with national educational trends the boys most likely to “fail to graduate” will be disproportionately students from lower income families attending Westlake.

This policy seems to be focused on the interests of the school and its reputation rather than the interests of students. Other schools are prepared to continue to work with students who can be a pain in the backside but Westlake Boys’ wants them gone and expects other schools to pick up its problem students.

This is unacceptable in New Zealand education and we are taking this up with the Minister of Education Chris Carter.

John Minto

National Chairperson


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