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Reducing Class Size Will Enhance Education

August 25 2005

Reducing Class Size Will Enhance Children's Education

Primary school teachers and principals applaud Labour's policy of reducing the class size for new entrant classes in primary schools because research shows this will improve children's learning.

Prime Minister Helen Clark has today announced that Labour will provide around 1300 extra teachers to ensure that by 2008 there are no more than 15 students in the first year classes at primary schools. The current new entrant class size is around 23 students.

"Primary teachers and principals fully applaud this policy because research clearly shows that reducing the class size for children in their first year at school produces improvements in their literacy and maths achievement," says NZEI Te Riu Roa National President, Colin Tarr. A major study in Britain shows smaller classes in the first year at school give children the chance to learn how to be students and to learn how to learn and this improves their performance in literacy and maths.

"Most importantly the smaller class size enables teachers to spend more time with each student and this has a positive impact on their learning," says Colin Tarr

"The research also shows that reducing class sizes is an effective way of lifting the performance of our lower achieving students," says Colin Tarr

Primary teachers and principals are also pleased that the policy of providing more teachers to reduce the new entrant class size will be carried out in addition to the full implementation of the School Staffing Review Group recommendations on the number of teachers in schools.

Colin Tarr says they also welcome Labour's commitment to increase and improve teacher professional development and to carry out research into the middle years of schooling which covers children aged 10 to 14.

"These emerging adolescents have particular educational needs," says Colin Tarr. "This is because from the age of 10 to 14 children go through a period of growth and change that is second only to the changes that occur in the first two years of a child's life."

"The aspect of Labour's Schools Policy that primary teachers and principals are most pleased about is that it puts the emphasis where it really matters, on initiatives aimed at improving children's learning," says Colin Tarr.

ENDS

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