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Education legislation introduced this week

Education legislation that will end the bulk funding of teacher salaries, strengthen enrolment schemes, and enhance school governance arrangements will be introduced to Parliament tomorrow.

The Education Amendment Bill will be debated next week and referred to the Education and Science Select Committee.

Education Minister Trevor Mallard welcomed the introduction saying the bill included some major policy platforms of the new Government.

"From next year, all schools will be on a fairer funding system which will take into account their school's roll and decile number.

"Bulk funding has been one of the most divisive and destructive issues in education. While some schools have no doubt enjoyed the benefits of bulk funding it has led to an unfair distribution of funding between schools and it did not recognise the educational needs of schools. Over time bulk funding would have exacerbated the problems of schools in poorer areas in recruiting and retaining the best teachers.

"Further changes to incorporate some of the flexibility valued by bulk funded schools will be introduced later in the year. Legislation is not necessary for that.

"Also under this legislation, the right of parents to send their child to their neighbourhood school will be enshrined in the law. If they wish to go elsewhere they can, but local children will always have priority. Where there are more outside-zone children wishing to attend a school than there are places available, ballots will decide who gets to attend – with siblings given priority.

"We will never be able to satisfy everyone. If two students from outside a school zone want to go to a particular state school but there is only one place available, one student is going to miss out. The Government believes those children should be given an equal chance through a ballot system rather than schools choosing which child they want.

"I am pleased there will also be some changes to school governance which provides some flexibility within the school board structure.

"In particular, we are removing the restriction on the number of school boards that may combine, allowing for voluntary staggered board elections for half the parent representatives every eighteen months, and when schools merge there will be a board election within three months so the board of the combined school represents the new school community.

"It also sees a return to ensuring all secondary school boards include a student trustee so that the student perspective is available to boards. The student will be elected for a twelve month term beginning in October thereby giving a better opportunity for training and continuity.

The legislation also covers membership of student associations and human rights compliance issues.


Contact: Moerangi Vercoe (Press Secretary) – 04 471 9080 or 025 270 9194

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