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Govt closing good schools and saving bad

Govt closing good schools and saving bad

National Party Education spokesman Nick Smith is questioning the Government's programme to close hundreds of schools, shutting the doors on good ones while saving under-performers.

"Trevor Mallard has already made up his mind on which schools he will close, leaving parents in those communities with no choice where they send their children.

"It's frustrating that Mr Mallard's basing his decisions almost exclusively on population trends, when he should be taking the quality of service into account.

"This school review is all about money rather than Excellence in Education," says Dr Smith.

"If Mr Mallard listened to the advice being given to him by the Education Review Office he'd be focussing his attention on failing schools.

"Take the Turangi example, five schools with good ERO reports and four closed.

"Two new schools will rise from their ashes, a kura kaupapa and an area school that takes children right up to year 13," says Dr Smith.

"Parents who don't want their kids taught in Maori immersion, or those that don't want their primary aged children going to school with teenagers, are out of luck.

"Even at this late stage those who are supposed to be setting up the new schools are confused about funding, despite assurances.

"The Minister has not learnt from the mistakes he made during an earlier review in Wainuiomata, when the ERO said 'the education objectives had not been adequately progressed'.

"The ERO also said the quality of education in the area 'had not significantly improved' and the quality of teaching 'remained variable'.

"The consultation process associated with the school closure process is a farce, this is about the state making key decisions about our children's education rather than empowering parents," says Dr Smith.

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