Protocols needed for school sponsorship
His comments followed a newspaper report this morning that an Auckland school was planning to take education sponsorship to new levels with large scale painting, signage and naming rights to school buildings.
"For generations schools have sought financial support from the business community and that can be a positive arrangement," Trevor Mallard said.
"But modern marketing practises, like those which have lead to the proposal put forward by Bayswater School, need to be fully considered by Government and the schools sector as a whole. I believe that the Government should support the development of protocols with full input from groups like school trustees and the Advertising Standards Authority
"There is little to stop a school allowing a beer company to have signage rights as long as the advertising was not 'directed' at minors, yet that would be entirely inappropriate. Most boards would not allow their school to be used in such a way but what would happen to a school which bucked the trend? Such situations should be stopped before they start.
"Sponsorship from junk food outlets also needs to be carefully considered. While junk food is a regular aspect of most children's lives - promotion of it does clash with the healthy living messages we have a responsibility to pass on to children.
"Finally, I believe sponsorship deals should not impinge directly on children's creativity and learning. A company should not expect a sponsorship deal to include children including them in their art work or singing their jingles.
"The issue of business funding of schools is a grey area. It contributes to the widening gap between schools in rich communities and schools in poor communities. On the other hand it helps to enhance the education schools can offer their students outside of the core areas and it would be unwise and unrealistic to ban it.
"However, Labour's education policy will focus around greater targeted funding to schools which cannot rely on their communities for additional school funds," Trevor Mallard said.