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Single Sex Schools Have Nothing To Fear

Education Minister Trevor Mallard today reassured single sex schools that a law change would not force them to accept students of the opposite gender.

"Instead, the law change will give increased flexibility where it is both appropriate and sensible," Trevor Mallard said.

"Examples of where this could be a sensible option include single sex schools that are the host school for alternative education provision.

"Another example which has been brought to my notice recently was a boys schools who needed to bolster enrolments in courses they designed for students who would otherwise leave school with no qualifications or employment prospects. They needed to include male or female leavers from other schools and adults looking for second chance education. The current legalisation prohibited that.

"I am a strong supporter of the provision of single sex education and I have no intention of taking that right away from communities.

"I am concerned that some girls schools thought that the bill meant they might have to accept boys. That is not the case because they still have an absolute entitlement under the Human Rights Act to exclude students of the opposite gender.

"The fact that some schools did not understand the amendment was brought to my attention a few weeks ago by one of my colleagues. Some single sex schools felt they wanted more time to consider the issues raised. At that stage, submissions had closed so I sought and received permission from the chair to extend the submission deadline for that aspect of the bill.

"I am sure that if the committee believes the absolute right of single sex schools to exclusion is not clear enough in the bill then they will recommend changes. But that should not be at the expense of greater flexibility where it is appropriate," Trevor Mallard said.


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