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Brash should back English or sack him

31 August 2004

Brash should back English or sack him

Education Minister Trevor Mallard today called on National leader Don Brash to either back his education spokesman Bill English or sack him for wrongly insinuating Hauraki Plains College teachers and students were NCEA cheats.

"Mr Brash should realise his MP has caused havoc in the school's small rural community, and he needs to either back his actions or sack him from his portfolio. It appears Simon Power doesn't have anything to do as associate education spokesman so he could take over.

"Mr English should also apologise for dragging this school and its students and teachers through the mud. He has falsely claimed students were guilty of NCEA fraud on the basis of a box he brought to Parliament last week that contained the personal work of the students.

"Parents in this community are understandably angry at Mr English's actions. He insinuated in Parliament that these kids were NCEA cheats, based on the contents of the box. I am advised the box contains no such evidence.

"This is deplorable behaviour from a Member of Parliament but so far Brash and the local National MP do not appear to care. No student at the school claimed credits that they did not deserve - as NZQA confirmed after visiting the school, checking its assessment systems, and speaking again with the principal yesterday.

"When concerns were first raised at the school, the school took immediate steps to address the problem, and should be applauded for doing so - not attacked by an opposition MP. This school has had its good name slurred without any justification, and if Bill English wants to regain any shred of credibility, he should apologise.

"Flashing around student workbooks that have been received illegitimately and without the students' consent is not an appropriate or responsible course of action.

"Parents can be assured that NCEA is working well. NCEA gives students, parents and employers a rich picture of a student's skills which was never possible under School Certificate or bursaries.

"Schools are visited regularly to ensure consistency in the assessment of standards, and unlike the old system, internal assessment results are actually checked against other schools' results so that a consistent national standard is maintained," Trevor Mallard said.

ENDS

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