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Stop dragging students through mud

27 August 2004

English should stop dragging students through mud

Acting Education Minister Steve Maharey called on Bill English today to hand over his so-called evidence of wrongdoing at Hauraki Plains College and stop dragging the school, its teachers and its young students through the mud.

"Mr English should put up or shut up. He is making despicable allegations about Hauraki Plains College, calling into question the work and integrity of every single student and every single teacher at that school. And he is refusing to produce his box of so-called evidence. It is impossible to take this man seriously when he is bragging about a large box of papers that he won't show anyone," Steve Maharey said.

"This is typical of the Brash National party which loves to make insinuations, fails to back them up, and does not give a toss about how those insinuations affect people - and in this case young students, none of whom were given credits they didn’t deserve.

"I am extremely concerned that this Member of Parliament also appears to be breaching the privacy of young students, if he does have students' workbooks as he claims. I would be surprised if he has the students' permission to hold their personal work.

"He is also deliberately misleading media. The situation at Hauraki Plains College cannot in any way be compared to Cambridge High School.

"Hauraki Plains College does not run an achievement recovery room where students cram credits without any teaching supervision - which was the problem at Cambridge High School. Secondly, the college's principal acted with integrity and professionalism by immediately addressing the problem when she became aware of it.

"I am advised that during the first term of this year, a short-term relief teacher at Hauraki Plains College didn’t follow the school’s procedures for check marking internally assessed work of four students, involving one standard. The principal discovered this after a former teacher passed the students’ work on to other parties. It is most unusual for a teacher to take this action. We would expect teachers to be ethical and professional and to raise such matters with the senior managers in the school which employs them.

"The school rang NZQA in early August requesting a visit and an NZQA school relationship manager will go to the college next week to rigorously check the school's assessment procedures. The principal, who is aware that internal assessment is the responsibility of the school, has advised NZQA that as soon as she was told about the matter, she withheld those students’ credits and reviewed their assessment procedures.

"The students did not get any of the credits.

"Mr English has also tried to mislead people about NZQA's comments. NZQA stands by its statement that there is no evidence that the issues identified at Cambridge School - ie the existence of an achievement recovery room without trained teachers and without a learning programme - are happening at other schools."

ENDS

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