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Mallard Considers Education Vouchers

ACT Education Spokesman MP Donna Awatere Huata today congratulated Labour for considering education vouchers, in the form of child-centred funding.

Mr Mallard is studying a plan to give a grant of $5,000 to schools for each suspended student they accept. The money would pay for a teacher aide for 20 hours a week for six months, and would help the student's transition into the new school.

"This is an excellent idea to turn kids' lives around. Schools will improve their capacity to cope with at-risk children in order to attract kids and extra funding.

"The funding amounts to less than $3 million a year. Spending $5000 now will save millions in avoided court, prison and social welfare bills.

"Talk of this funding is very timely. Anecdotal evidence suggests schools are more ready to suspend kids this year because of the teacher shortage crisis. Staff can't cope with overcrowded classrooms, so it is easiest to get rid of the unruly children. This scheme does not reward suspended students, but offers schools an incentive to lift their standards.

"The funding should be available to private providers as well as state schools. Child-centred funding should be an entitlement to every New Zealand child.

"What if your child needs extra help, but isn't naughty enough to warrant being suspended?

"Every child has unique needs. ACT would give every student an equal chance by scrapping school zoning and providing child-centred funding for all," Mrs Awatere Huata said.


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