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School Choice, The Only Choice

School Choice, The Only Choice

A new Education Review Office report on Catholic schools demonstrates the benefits of competition and choice in education, ACT New Zealand Education Spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"What this report shows is that much-maligned non-state schools, which Education Minister Trevor Mallard is ideologically opposed to, are performing better than most state schools," Miss Coddington said.

"This is reflected in the fact that over the period of the ERO study, 10 percent of Catholic schools were revisited by the ERO for a supplementary review - compared with 17 percent for all schools. As the report points out, revisits are only carried out where a review has raised issues of poor performance.

"The report also confirms what ACT has been saying since its inception - that schools with special character can provide a unifying force for the whole community. Not only that, but they can also be a breeding ground for academic excellence - a point noted by the Minister in his response to the report.

"The next logical step is to remove the entrance barriers to such schools. The Government's selective non-preference/preference system, where only five percent of non-Catholic children may attend Catholic schools, means that parents' chances of sending their children to such schools are slim.

"Parents on the Kapiti Coast would be green with envy after reading this report. Especially as their nearest Catholic School, St Patrick's Primary School, has been forced to reject non-preference pupils after it reached its five percent non-Catholic quota - despite having 102 pupil spaces available.

"The Minister should put to rest his prejudices and give parents real choice in education," Miss Coddington said

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