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Few options for 44% of low-decile school leavers

Hon Bill English National Party Education Spokesman

6 September 2006

Few options for 44% of low-decile school leavers

More than four out of ten students at low-decile (1-3) secondary schools leave with very limited options for further study or training, says National's Education spokesman Bill English.

On Friday, the Ministry of Education claimed that just 13% of students leave school without a qualification.

But Mr English says Labour's definition of qualification is "nonsense", and the actual proportion of students who leave school without a qualification is 27% - including 44% of school leavers from low-decile schools.

"According to Labour, any student achieving 13 of the 80 NCEA credits required to reach level 1 NCEA has a qualification.

"Labour might regard one sixth of the credits required for NCEA level 1 as a qualification, but no one else does.

"Steve Maharey is misleading students and their parents by telling them a handful of credits provides them with choices when they leave school.

"More and more trade and skills courses require NCEA level 1 as a prerequisite for enrolment. So 44% of students leaving low-decile schools have almost no chance of getting into pre-apprenticeship course.

"The only option for them then is to pay $3,000 to $4,000 for a foundation course to get the basic qualification they didn't get at school.

"National believes in lifting standards across the board and taking action where students fall short of the mark.

"We would require schools to report the progress of their students towards national literacy and numeracy standards so that failure can be identified early on and something done about it," says Mr English.


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