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Quality schooling for all under Labour

Labour
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Quality education for all New Zealand children is one of Labour's key aims in government, Labour Leader Helen Clark said today.

Labour's education policy for schools was released today at Matipo Rd School in West Auckland.

Helen Clark said Labour views quality education as a basic right, which must be available to all children, without regard to wealth or income.

"Our commitment over more than 80 years of Labour's existence has been to build and maintain a strong public school system. That remains our commitment today," Helen Clark said.

"Most people of my generation were educated in an era where the local community school was considered the automatic choice for us by our parents. Labour wants to rebuild faith in community schools and to uphold the right of children to have first right of access to their local school.

"Labour does not believe that market concepts are appropriate for the public education system. Under markets, there are winners and losers. Alas, in the end, the losers are the children whose interests are not served by being in 'loser' schools.

"Bulk funding has been an extraordinary divisive issue for schools communities. Under Labour, bulk funding will go. The money allocated to induce schools into bulk funding will be redistributed across all schools on a fair basis.

"There is further scope to increase quality across the entire education sector through the teaching profession. A stronger teacher education system, both pre-service and inservice, is needed.

"Labour is concerned that the market approach to teacher pre-service education is giving incentives to providers to worry more about student numbers than about selection procedures and programme quality. As a result there has been a proliferation of providers and a wide range of course standards emerging.

"We will review the shape and quality of teacher education provision, and the new professionally-led Education Council will have a major role to play in that.

"And Labour will take responsibility for better provision of professional development for teachers already working in schools.

"Our policy also includes initiatives to encourage experienced and qualified staff into hard to staff schools, like a secondment scheme, financial incentives, and adequate teacher housing provision.

"We will turn our attention to workload issues including better arrangements for teaching principals and making sure that curriculum change is carried out at a manageable pace with appropriate resourcing.

"A good school system is based on a partnership. That partnership acknowledges the role of the state as the funder and policymaker; the teacher as the professional educator; and the families who make up the school community. Labour in government will be committed to making that policy work," Helen Clark said.


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