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71 School closures for wrong reasons

Bill English MP

National Education Spokesperson
24 February 2004

71 School closures for wrong reasons

Trevor Mallard's analysis of proposed rules for schools underlines the lack of integrity in his decisions to close 71 more schools, said Bill English today.

"The Minister told the House today that by his own measure, over 120 schools are failing to deliver decent education to their students. That means thousands of children are missing out. The minister is too busy closing good schools to fix the schools that are failing."

Mr English said Mr Mallard exaggerated even his own number when he said National's proposed rules would mean over 600 school closures.

"600 closures would be clearly ridiculous and unacceptable to me and to parents.

"As a result of these calculations done by the Minister I am more convinced than ever that changes to schools should be driven by educational quality and local choices, not by formulaic numbers.

"There are a larger number of one teacher schools than I realised, and a much larger number with 30% empty space. Clearly those parameters need to be put aside or changed before we settle policy.

"The fact that there are hundreds of schools 30% empty makes it seem so unfair that a small selection of schools with spare space have been targeted for closure," says Mr English.

Ends

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