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NZPF challenges Govt over Principals boycott

NZPF challenges Govt over Principals boycott

New Zealand Principals’ Federation, 13 June 2008

The New Zealand Principals’ Federation today challenged the Government over comments made by Education Minister Chris Carter.

Carter yesterday urged all schools to take part in consultation for the Schools Plus programme, following a boycott by the North Shore Principals' Association and other schools around the country.

NZPF President, Paddy Ford noted with some irony, Carter’s comments that principals "will be listened to and their concerns will be taken into account".

“Consultation is all very well if the parties involved listen and act accordingly. The frustration expressed by the Principals boycott is easily understood, when taken in perspective with previous consultation and discussion.”

“Over the last 12 months, the NZPF has been involved in consultation with the Government on special needs, behavioural issues, administrative support, principal development and the level of compliance we face - yet we have seen little or no change since then,” said Ford. “Consultation hasn’t worked in the past, why should principals believe this time will be any different?”

Ford says it is simply ridiculous to ask principals to give feedback on the Schools Plus proposal, when they are busy trying to implement so many other programmes that the Government has introduced.

“Our schools are already working on more than 20 new programmes, including the new NZ Curriculum, an Assessment Strategy, Better Outcomes for Children (Special Education), Education for Enterprise, Ka Hikitia, the Pasifika Education Plan, the School Improvement Initiative – the list goes on and on. Many of these programmes are under-resourced, and yet the Government expects us to happily look at introducing Schools Plus.”

Ford says his criticisms are for the Government, not the Schools Plus programme. “Schools Plus could be a good programme, but it will cost yet more money. What our principals are saying, is that perhaps we should fix the problems with funding that we have now before we develop any more new initiatives.”


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