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Labour con job on teachers

Hon Bill English
National Party Education Spokesman

26 August 2005

Labour con job on teachers

National Party Education spokesman Bill English says the Principal’s Federation is right to be concerned about the fishhooks in Labour’s proposal to reduce primary school class sizes.

“Schools will always welcome additional resources but they are right to think this is too good to be true.

“Trevor Mallard has said he will only give schools the extra staff if they can guarantee smaller class sizes for new entrants. I am advised that he intends to set up some sort of contractual arrangement, imposing a legal requirement on schools to guarantee class size. Any contractual breach could result in financial penalties.

“Such an arrangement would drastically reduce the ability of principals and teachers to decide what is right for their schools and pupils.

“Hundreds of schools won’t be able to comply with the Minister’s requirements because they have such low numbers of new entrants that it’s just not feasible to run separate classes.

“If Labour does not impose contracts on schools, there is no way it can deliver on its promise of smaller class sizes.

“Now that Jim Anderton has put his hand up to be Minister of Education we can expect to see a lot more of this kind of interventionist policy. He would see himself as principal of every school in New Zealand, enforcing all kinds of insane rules and regulations with this kind of blackmail.

“National will allow principals and teachers to use their professionalism to decide what’s best for their students,” says Mr English.

ENDS

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