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50,000 school trustees get pat on the back

Media release
NZ School Trustees Association
October 9, 1999

=========50,000 school trustees get pat on the back ========

The New Zealand School Trustees Association is encouraging the country’s 2,700 schools to make a special effort to thank the 50,000 plus people who have served as school trustees over the past ten years.

Lorraine Kerr, newly elected Deputy President of the New Zealand School Trustees Association says the community has embraced whole-heartedly the concept of self-managed school in the last decade, making New Zealand a world leader.

October is the tenth anniversary of the start of Tomorrow’s Schools and NZSTA is launching a year of celebrations to mark what it calls “the coming of age” of the self-management school system.

Lorraine Kerr was on a board on day one of the new system in 1989. Currently she is on two boards, Taupo Intermediate and Taupo-Nui-A-Tia College. In the past she has served on three boards at the same time.

She says the new system has given the community more choice.

“The community, and parents in particular, has shown that it cares about our schools providing quality education and that it is more than ready to run its schools. We know we are working for our children and their futures.”

Criddy van den Borst, a trustee since 1989, says one of the biggest successes of the current system is the widening pool of knowledge about education - “more and more people are gaining expertise.”

She says trusteeship is good for everyone.

“It’s good for parents and it’s good for children and schools.”

Hiria Tua who is on the board of Nireaha Primary School and Tararua College has also put in ten years on school boards. She says as a Maori parent she has the opportunity to experience the difference parents can make as trustees.

“I want to see more Maori parents become involved. We have this opportunity in front of us and have to make sure we take advantage of it.

Lorraine Kerr says it has been interesting to hear that many people doomed the innovation to failure before its introduction.

“Just ten years ago, people were saying that the community would not stand for election that they did not have the skills or experience to run our schools and that it would fail.”

“As we mark ten years which has taken us away from the bureaucratic-driven education system to one where schools are much more interesting places which can make many of their own decisions, we should also thanks all those who did stand and be counted.”

She says up it is estimated that over 50,000 people have served on school boards of trustees over the past ten years.

“That is an incredible vote of confidence in the system and on behalf of the students, they all have our sincere thanks.”

Ends


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