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Input invited on roll out of Schools Plus

27 March 2008 Media Statement

Government invites input on roll out of Schools Plus

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Education Minister Chris Carter today launched public consultation on the implementation of the Schools Plus initiative which will see all young people engaged in school or some other form of education, training, or structured learning until the age of eighteen.

Helen Clark and Chris Carter were visiting James Cook High School in Manurewa, Auckland where they also announced that the school is one of twenty to join the Youth Apprenticeship scheme this year.

The Youth Apprenticeship scheme will help prepare students for a range of opportunities in industry. James Cook High has been chosen as one of the lead schools for the introduction of Youth Apprenticeships because of its excellent reputation in using programmes like Gateway and developing relationships with local employers.

Helen Clark said that the Labour-led Government’s Schools Plus policy builds on well established programmes like Gateway which has been linking school students with industry for a number of years, and the new Youth Apprenticeship scheme.

Feedback on implementation of Schools Plus is being sought from the secondary school sector, tertiary educators and training providers, ITOs and employers, NGOs, parents, whanau, and communities.

“Schools Plus is one of the most far-reaching plans developed for our education system for many years. It is important to develop a broad consensus about its implementation,” Helen Clark said.

To achieve the Schools Plus goal, the government wishes to see:

• All young people assisted in developing a personal education plan when they enter secondary school, and continuing to refine the plan to map their next steps.
• Students able to connect what they’re doing at school to what they want to do as a career. They will know about the options available to them, and some may choose to combine workplace or tertiary learning with their schooling.
• All students who leave school before the age of 18 connected to high-quality training and education that suits their needs and abilities.
• All under 18-year-olds in full-time work participating in further training or education.
• Non-government organisations, families, whanau, iwi and communities providing a range of services that support young people to achieve well in education or training.

The principles underlying Schools Plus include:
• Active and willing participation – in education and/or training which responds to young people’s needs
• Partnerships and collaboration – the support and engagement of the secondary school sector, employers, tertiary educators and training providers, ITOs and employers, NGOs, communities, parents and whanau are critical to the success of Schools Plus
• Flexibility – students need to have a range of education and training opportunities available to them at school and beyond the school gate
• Vital role of schools – they should be the first point of responsibility for ensuring students are engaged in an appropriate programme of learning.

Education Minister Chris Carter said that each year, about 14,000 young people leave school without a Level One NCEA qualification and without going on to any further study or training. Forty per cent leave without NCEA Level Two. While current high employment levels are offering a lot of unskilled jobs, New Zealand needs to invest in a higher skills base to sustain economic growth, improve living standards and help lift productivity.

“Schools Plus is about building on the strengths of our current education system to transform secondary schooling and its links to other sectors, and give our young people the best possible chance to succeed,” Chris Carter said.

“Greater participation in and achievement from education will improve the lives of individuals and families and contribute to building stronger communities. Over time, it will impact on problems like crime, poor health, poverty, and the mismatch which exists between labour supply and the economy’s need for a skilled workforce.”

Workshops and hui will be held during April and May. A summary of feedback will be posted on the Schools Plus website from June 2008.

Written feedback on the document will be accepted until 31 May 2008. Feedback can also be emailed to

Written feedback can be sent to:
Schools Plus
Ministry of Education
PO Box 1666

This discussion paper can be found online at The Ministry of Youth Development is using its website, publications and youth networks to ensure young people have input into Schools Plus.


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