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Smith challenges schools’ review

Smith challenges schools’ review

The draft proposal issued by the Ministry of Education in regard to Upper Hutt schools will increase rather than reduce government's costs, United Future MP, Murray Smith, told a meeting of over 300 parents at Upper Hutt last night.

To sustained applause, Mr Smith said that the creation of fewer, bigger schools would result in the alienation of children and lead to greater truancy, more discipline problems and increased maintenance on a per capita basis.

He predicted that, if the proposal went ahead, for every dollar saved in education spending, two dollars would have to be added to the CYF budget.

He also criticised Education Minister Trevor Mallard for focussing entirely on saving money at the expense of the valuable role that schools played as community facilities and their important social and cultural contributions.

Mr Mallard had told the meeting in his opening statement that his major objective was to "free money up".

Mr Smith also announced United Future's draft Schools Policy at the meeting which emphasised that parents were primarily responsible for their children's education, not the State, and were therefore entitled to tell the Government what their needs were and how they ought to be met.

"This will necessarily require the State to allow different schools with different cultures, characters and curriculum emphases to develop", he said "and that in turn will facilitate choice for parents".

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