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Families have a vital role in student development

Date: 31 May 2008 Media Statement

Families have a vital role to play in student development

Building and Construction Minister Shane Jones, delivering the keynote speech to the New Zealand Area Schools Association (NZASA) at Waitangi, Bay of Islands on behalf of Education Minister Chris Carter on Friday, told the conference that families have a vital role to play in student development.

He said families should not rely solely on schools to do it all when it comes to student retention, learning, mental growth and development.

“Teachers ought to be held accountable for competency; however the best results are achieved when families support and encourage their children to stay at school and complete their education at least at secondary level,” Mr Jones said.

“Area Schools play a very important role, especially among isolated rural communities and while it is the responsibility of the teachers to ensure these children are ideally equipped to move on to the next stage of their lives, it is really important that their families ensure that they stay at school and complete their basic education.

“I should know, I have seven children and one of them is at an Area School in the North and so I commend Area Schools for the way so many of them are delivering specific education to cater for the needs of their different students.”

He said he understood the difficulties and challenges faced by Area School teachers and principals and he hoped the Area Schools Collective Agreements ratified in February would address some of their issues such as: support for professional growth of teachers, grants for further studies and research, 10 week sabbatical leave, professional learning days and the area school principal payment scheme.

“We also understand the need to do more to retain our youth beyond the age of 16 in some form of education or skills-based training. The Government’s Schools Plus and Ka Hikitia: Managing for Success – the Maori Education Strategy 2008-2012 programmes are expected to help achieve this outcome.”

There are 40 area schools in total, 21 in the North Island of which six are in the Northland and19 in the South Island.


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