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Education continues over summer at youth justice residences

Hon Hekia Parata

Minister of Education

Hon Chester Borrows

Associate Minister for Social Development

19 December 2013       Media Statement       

Education to continue over summer at youth justice residences

Education Minister Hekia Parata and Associate Social Development Minister Chester Borrows today announced the expansion of education services in youth justice residences, to provide on-going education over the summer break.

Up until now, schools at residences followed the standard term breaks of any other school. Now, there will be structured educational programmes except for two weeks over Christmas.

“This Government is focussed on every young person reaching their educational potential. This gives an opportunity for them to make a positive contribution to New Zealand’s economy and a better future for themselves,” says Ms Parata.

When young people arrive at a residence, their educational needs are looked into immediately, with most beginning schooling on their first day.  The holiday break can disrupt this assessment process and engagement with education.

“It has always impressed me how well young people in residences engage with education – some for the first time in their lives,” says Mr Borrows.

“It’s never made sense to stop teaching these kids over school holidays, and we’re pleased we are now taking steps to rectify that,” Ministers say.

The expanded services will provide educational assessments and activity-based learning programmes over the summer holiday weeks, with the full range of academic classes and extra-curricular activities resuming with the school year in late January.

Ms Parata says students often arrive at the residences with a whole raft of issues.

“Many present with high and complex needs because of extremely troubled backgrounds. Some have mental health and behavioural issues and have very low motivation to stay in education.

“We’re fighting an uphill battle with these young people, so we don’t want to waste any chance to maximise their exposure to education and training programmes.”

Mr Borrows adds that education is just a part of the challenges young people have when they come into a residence.

“Our end goal is to help that young person atone for what they have done, and to divert them from the life of crime that is ahead of them.  Education is such an important tool to help us do that, and now no young person in our care will miss out on that.”

ENDS

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