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PM Congratulates School Trustees

Prime Minister Helen Clark today congratulated the tens of thousands of parents who have served on School Boards of Trustees over the last decade, and urged parents to put themselves forward for election to boards in 2001.

Helen Clark was speaking in Wellington at the New Zealand School Trustees' Association official launch of the 2001 election campaign for boards of trustees.

"Boards of trustees exemplify the theme of partnership between schools and the communities they serve which underpinned the whole Tomorrow's School programme introduced by the Fourth Labour Government.

"The input of parents into the running of our schools are crucial and something which this government sees as a top priority.

"By contributing their mentoring, organisational and life skills, trustees are ultimately helping to equip our children with the skills they will need to prosper in the new century.

"The importance that my government attaches to the role of education, and the contribution of trustees to this, cannot be underestimated.

"Parents themselves have so much to gain from participation on boards of trustees.

"As the last eleven years has demonstrated, serving on boards has given parents valuable training in business, administrations and other skills.

"In some ways the Boards can be seen as a massive adult education exercise, giving trustees new skills as they govern one of the most important enterprises in their communities.

"Indeed, in some small towns, schools are the single biggest enterprise and a focus for the community's wider social and cultural life.

"All of this makes service on Boards of Trustees a thoroughly rewarding and worthwhile experience.

"Changes introduced by the government will improve the performance of boards and make them more representative of the schools and communities they are serving.

"Our changes have included the election of student representatives to the boards of all secondary schools. We have also acknowledged the need for more flexible governance arrangements to suit local needs, for example boards combining to run several schools.

"We have also provided for rolling elections to boards, whereby only a proportion of the board is re-elected. This measure ensures the retention of some continuity of expertise on boards.

"I heartily support the efforts of the New Zealand School Trustees' Association in coordinating the 2001 elections, and urge communities to respond to this exciting opportunity," Helen Clark said.


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