19 September 2008
Phasing in of Schools Plus a positive move
Rushing a major education reform like the government’s newly announced Schools Plus plan would be completely disastrous, PPTA president Robin Duff says.
This is why he was pleased to hear the programme, which was announced by Prime Minister Helen Clark today, would be phased in over a number of years.
“We don’t want to be charging like a bull at a gate when it comes to something that will have such a huge impact on the future of our children” he said.
Mr Duff welcomed the four-year $40 million funding package for the initial phases of the policy, which would see all under-18-year-olds in some form of education or training from 2014.
He was also pleased it would be based on successful existing education and employment bridging structures such as STAR and Gateway.
“Schools will welcome the additional funding for the STAR programme, which has proven to be a very successful venture,” he said.
He welcomed pledges to increase teacher professional development, but warned significant staffing and resourcing would be needed to make the plan viable.
Mr Duff was also concerned about the “upside down” manner in which the decision had been made to abolish early leaving exemptions for 15 year olds.
“It is a shame the practicalities of this have not been given the same consideration and careful management as the Schools Plus plan itself. Schools think very carefully before giving these exemptions and the decision is generally made when there are no other options,” he said.