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Committee agrees to Correspondence School inquiry

Katherine Rich MP
National Party Education Spokeswoman

9 November 2007

Committee agrees to Correspondence School inquiry

National has renewed its call for a halt to the Correspondence School’s fourth restructure in 10 years in light of the Education and Science Select Committee’s decision to call in ministry officials and representatives of the school board to discuss the future of the school.

“Last week I wrote to the committee calling for an urgent inquiry into the Correspondence School, citing deep concerns about the latest round of restructuring which could see 22 staff lose their jobs,” says National’s Education spokeswoman, Katherine Rich.

“I am delighted the committee agrees that a public hearing, including officials and the board, is worthwhile.
“While a series of ministers and school leaders have lurched from one restructure to another, there has been scant public debate or discussion about what the role of the Correspondence School can or should be in the 21st century.

“I hope that officials and the board can demonstrate that they do have a vision for the school, because this has not been clearly communicated with the parents, staff, and the general public. 

“Big questions remain unanswered like why after three years there is still not a parent and staff representative on the board and how the proposed removal of heads of departments in subject areas will affect the quality of courses and teacher workloads.”

Attached: Letter to Education and Science Select Committee

25 October 2007

Hon Brian Donnelly
Education and Science Select Committee

Dear Brian

I request that the Education and Science Select Committee undertake an enquiry into the present and future role of the Correspondence School as a matter of urgency, and seek a briefing from officials on the nature, aim and expectations of the current restructuring process.

To date there has not been a clear statement from the Minister or officials on the reason for this restructuring – the fourth restructure of the school in 10 years.

I accept that officials have made a few vague statements that an overhaul is necessary to improve services, pastoral care and achievement levels for at-risk students.

However, no evidence has been presented to show that new proposals to regionalise the school’s structure will make one iota of difference to students.

In fact, there are strong arguments that such changes could be to the detriment of students, the quality of education delivered, staff retention and students’ access to some subjects.

The cumulative negative effect of a series of restructures on the school, the staff, the students and the quality of the service is of great concern.

As a series of Ministers and leaders of the school have lurched from one restructure to another, there has been scant public debate or discussion about what the role of the Correspondence School can or should be in the 21st century.

Committee Members might consider two options for an enquiry / briefing:

• An enquiry which calls for public submissions and comment.
• A more limited enquiry which seeks the views of selected groups with knowledge of the school such as the Ministry of Education, the Chief Executive Officer, the Correspondence School Parents and Supervisors Association and the PPTA.

I would like this letter to be considered at the next meeting of the Education and Science Select Committee.

Yours sincerely

Katherine Rich MP


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