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Older kids need smaller classes too

25 August 2005

Older kids need smaller classes too

The Greens are applauding Labour's policy announcement to reduce new entrant class sizes to 15, but believe it doesn't go far enough.

"All Kiwi kids deserve a fair go, and overcrowded classrooms are holding them back," Green Education Spokesperson Metiria Turei said. "While we welcome Labour's pledge on new entrant classes, we believe that no kids in Years 1 till 8 should be in a class bigger than twenty.

"Extending the cap on classes sizes to Year 8 would come at a cost, but we believe a quality public education system with reasonable teacher to student ratios is an absolute must if we are to give all kids the start they need in life."

Mrs Turei said the curriculum emphasis in Labour's policy needed broadening.

"The introduction of more civics education and New Zealand history is good news, but Labour's failure to extend education on the Treaty of Waitangi and sustainability is lamentable. The Greens will try to work with Labour to ensure our children are taught more about the Treaty and sustainability at school.

"We're also encouraged that there will be more encouragement of children to learn more than one language, but we believe learning Te Reo Maori should be a priority because we are a nation with a bicultural heritage and culture."

Labour's education policy also overlooks the acute needs of at-risk kids, Mrs Turei said.

"We need to ensure that ongoing support and training is put in place for school staff and boards of trustees, to give meaning to the requirement that students are not excluded from participating fully in their local school. While we appreciate that school staff and boards need more training, it would also be worthwhile establishing an independent authority to review enrolment decisions," Mrs Turei said.

ENDS

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