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Schools Plus: Minister wants all schools involved

Hon Chris Carter
Minister of Education

11 June 2008 Media Statement

Minister wants all schools involved in Schools Plus

North Shore principals' withdrawal of support for a major government initiative designed to help young New Zealanders achieve and which is still in its consultation stage is disappointing, Education Minister Chris Carter says.

"The Schools Plus initiative is designed to help students who are not succeeding in the current system so that all young New Zealanders have the best chance possible to succeed in life," Chris Carter said.

"I do understand that schools are concerned Schools Plus could place extra pressure on their finances and that is why I have made it abundantly clear the government is committed to fully resourcing this new policy.

"Instead of using Schools Plus to argue they are under-funded, I would encourage schools to fully participate in the consultation process which is designed so they can have their say. They will be listened to and their concerns will be taken into account."

The Minister said while schools were asked to live within their budgets, those budgets had steadily increased over the past eight years with more teachers, more day-to-day operational funding and significant investment in new schools and classrooms.

Since 1999, overall education spending had increased from $5.7 billion to more than $10 billion, an increase of 84 percent.

Further investment by the government included:

• from early next year, more than 6000 extra teachers will have been funded over and above roll growth, leaving schools with extra dollars from their operational funding to spend elsewhere

• the average pay of regular state school teachers has increased 36 per cent since 2000 with two further 4 percent increases to the salary scale to come in July 2008 and July 2009; principals have had a pay rise of 43 percent over the same period

• school operational funding has been significantly increased over the past three years with an increase of 5 percent in this year's Budget

"Schools Plus is innovative, it is part of a worldwide move towards lifting the aspirations and achievement of students who might previously have had fewer options for success through their education," Chris Carter said.

"That is something I feel strongly about and I’m sure principals and teachers in our schools do too.

"It's important we work together to make Schools Plus a success and we can do that by having a robust discussion on how it can best be implemented. Only then will the government know what is required in terms of funding."

Chris Carter is representing New Zealand at the APEC Education Ministers Meeting in Peru. During the meeting he will be focusing on the successes of the New Zealand education system.

"We have much to be proud of. New Zealand's top achievers rank among the best in the world on the OECD Pisa ranking. Our country currently invests 4.4% of GDP in schools while the OECD average is 3.6%. Australia invests 3.5%, the USA 3.7% and the UK 3.8%.

"Our investment in the education of our young people is an investment in the future. As they succeed, so will the country as a whole.”


ENDS

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