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Inquiry Called For In School Roll Fiasco

The Ministry of Education and Minister must be held accountable for the huge underestimation in pupil enrolments this year that has schools short of over 100 classrooms and teachers, says National's Education spokesman, Nick Smith.

"This is a fiasco and the limp excuses from the Minister do not wash. It is not a complex task to monitor the flow of pupils from one year to the next and to co-ordinate information from the New Zealand Immigration Service on net migration. To be out by nearly 500 percent - or nearly 6000 pupils - is a monumental error."

The Ministry of Education had planned for an additional 1300 pupils this year but the year has begun with an additional 7000 students.

"The Government cannot blame this on schools. They have been repeatedly telling the Ministry their projections are too low, but have been dismissed in an attempt to penny pinch on classrooms and teachers. Now schools are paying the price with crammed classes, too few teachers and a stressed school environment," says Dr Smith.

"We need to find out exactly what has gone wrong, so that those responsible can be held accountable and so systems are improved for future years."

Dr Smith has lodged a Notice of Motion with the Education and Science Select Committee calling for an inquiry into the enrolment problems. The inquiry call will be considered at the Committee's meeting on Thursday.

Ends

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