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PM’s lack of attention to education a let-down

Media release

PM’s lack of attention to education a let-down

The New Zealand School Trustees Association is disappointed in the lack of attention to education in Prime Minister Helen Clark’s opening speech to Parliament today.

NZSTA President Lorraine Kerr says for such a key speech to say so little of education was a let down.

The speech touched on the need to keep students at school longer, with 30% of New Zealand teens leaving school before age 17 and 40% failing to achieve NCEA level two.

Ms Clark talked of schools in the future being a gateway to education and training opportunities, with $170 million to be invested in increasing achievement levels.

“Change cannot be introduced without meaningful discussion within the education sector, and school boards of trustees being provided with the resources and support needed to achieve it.

“It is good that there is recognition of the vital importance of effective schooling. But this cannot mean that boards of trustees, principals and teachers have to take on all the responsibility, nor can we be seen as a ‘babysitting service’.”

Lorraine Kerr says the Prime Minister talks of a programme of action for schools.

“What we don’t want to see is a repeat of policies of the past, where new policy comes with a compliance burden for schools, and insufficient funding and resources to put change in place.

Lorraine Kerr says NZSTA has been sending a clear message for the past five years that the current level of operational funding for schools was increasingly inadequate. It has also reported to the Government on the funding shortage surrounding ICT in schools and non teaching staff.

“If we want a world class education that properly prepares our students for the 21st century, then the Government needs to step up to the plate and properly address the support and funding needs of boards and schools so that they are well prepared, and supported, in their task of ensuring that all students, without exception, achieve to their potential,” she says.

ENDS

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