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Longer School Day Won’t Improve Education

A longer school day and year will do nothing to help children learn better and could do harm, says a submission presented today to the government working group reviewing the matter.

“It is not a question of quantity,” NZEI National President Darrell Ward said. “ Rather we should be looking at the things that will really improve the quality of education.”

Smaller class sizes, more qualified support staff in schools, and reduced teacher workloads were among the examples he emphasised in the NZEI submission.

“Access to early childhood education, teacher training and supply, meeting the needs of Maori students, and professional development are other quality improvers,” Darrell Ward said.

Increasing the school day may even have a negative impact on education. “A teacher’s work day involves far more than the classroom hours,” he said. “Much of the work necessary for successful teaching goes on after 3 p.m. and sometimes long into the night. Extending the school day would cut into this important work time.”

Darrell Ward also noted the $300,000 cost of the working group’s study of the school day and year. “I hope we can also expect the same amount of time and money to go into a review of all these important factors in improving the quality of education,” he said.

He also noted that it was “satisfying that the working group itself acknowledged that the length of the school day was low on the list of factors for improving education.”

END

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