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Lack of help shows poor Government support

Labour
2000 web siteLabour education spokesperson Trevor Mallard said the failure of Porirua's He Huarahi Tamariki to get funding to help establish an early childhood centre shows how poor government support for early childhood education is.

The proposal, which would involve a centre being built to cater for the children of the teenage mothers at the school, has been denied a grant from the discretionary fund.

"I am amazed that this proposal was not considered a high enough priority for the Government," Trevor Mallard said.

"It certainly meets many of Labour's objectives for early childhood education. It caters for Maori and Pacific Island children - who are completely under represented in early childhood education. Maori participation has dropped to only 71% of four year olds while only 60% of Pacific four year olds are in licensed early childhood centres. Porirua is an area where there is a shortage of good quality early childhood education provision and the Huarahi Tamariki proposal is completely focused on closing the gaps in educational achievement through its concern with quality education for the children and for their mothers.

"Despite this being in a very poor area, $40,000 has been raised towards this project and still that hasn't been recognised with support from the Government.

"Labour's early childhood education policy has a strong focus on helping disadvantaged communities establish buildings for licensed early childhood centres .

"We aim to increase capital works funding through an increase in loans and the discretionary grants scheme, and we will develop designs for relocatable buildings which can be used in areas of urgent or temporary need.

"He Huarahi Tamariki is working hard to give teenage mothers in Porirua a second chance at education - a chance to learn to read and write and develop life skills.

"By denying their children decent early childhood education, the Government is ignoring an opportunity to ensure that those children get an educational boost in their early years and hopefully avoid the need for a 'second chance' later in their life," Trevor Mallard said.

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