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NZPF slams latest lightweight report

NZPF slams latest lightweight report

- New Zealand Principals’ Federation, 20 February 2008 -

The New Zealand Principals’ Federation has criticised Parliament’s latest education report. The education and science select committee yesterday released the results of their Inquiry in a report titled ‘Making the schooling system work for every child’.

“Despite the considerable expense it must have taken to compile this Inquiry and report, there are no real recommendations that we can use to define and improve our education system,” says NZPF President Paddy Ford. “There are no comments about how operations funding has fallen well below requirements, no comments about the need for more administrative support for schools, and no comments about enhancing the profession through adequate remuneration. All we’ve got are some woolly comments around personalized learning.”

Ford says much of the Inquiry report simply repeats information already known in the teaching profession. “We are all aware of the need to try and reduce the ‘tail’ and assist Maori achievement. What the report fails to address is that to do that, we will need resources including suitably qualified people, programmes and physical space.”

“We know about the importance of the youth initiatives but again the Inquiry report makes few recommendation about how these programmes are to be delivered.”

Ford says the recommendations are simply unrealistic. “The Inquiry report wants every student to reach the same standard, but that simply won’t happen. If we had more funding to secure resources and professional development for our teachers, then yes – all of our students would improve, but not necessarily to the same level. We are teaching students, not robots.”

The Inquiry report does reassert that the great majority of students receive an education that is of a very high standard in most respects. “Tell me something I don’t already know,” says Ford. “I know that the New Zealand education system is one of the best in the world. We have a unique self-management system that works, a rigorous teacher graduate programme, a culture where pupils are already treated as individuals and Principals know what their school needs. We don’t need a report to tell us all of that. What we need is for the political parties to agree to provide appropriate resources to enhance one of the best education systems in the world.”


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