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Katherine Rich: Music Teachers Grounded By Labour

Katherine Rich MP
National Party Education Spokeswoman
30 December 2007

Music teachers grounded by Labour

Education Minister Chris Carter should tell parents why the Government is cutting school resources to the iconic Itinerant Teachers of Music Scheme next year by withdrawing resources for teacher travel time, says National's Education spokeswoman, Katherine Rich.

"How Labour expects an itinerant teacher to serve a network of schools without being covered for the time they are in their vehicle is beyond explanation.

"There are some great music teachers out there, but I have yet to meet one who can teach bass guitar or the violin while travelling in a car between two rural schools. The Minister doesn't seem to know what the word itinerant means.

"Staff time for travel has been part of the scheme since at least the mid-nineties. The Minister's reasons for slashing such support 10 years later just don't stack up.

"I am worried about the future of this music scheme. Because Labour is hell-bent on withdrawing this resource, host schools will find it increasingly difficult to run the service and meet the demand from students keen to learn music.

"The ITM scheme was introduced to New Zealand schools in 1945 and since that time it has allowed many Kiwi students to learn an instrument and enjoy music.

"The beauty of this scheme is that it has allowed thousands of students access to learning an instrument, regardless of their parents' financial circumstances.

"When this issue blew up in 2006, the former Minister, Steve Maharey, gave schools a one-year reprieve and promised a funding review.

"Chris Carter has not offered any such lifeline and, despite breaking the promise of a review, his Ministry is going full steam ahead to make the cuts for 2008.

"So much for Labour's rhetoric about supporting Kiwi music."


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