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Clayton's School Policy Asks More Than Answers

Clayton's School Policy Asks More Questions Than It Answers

Education Minister Nick Smith has described Labour's Schools Policy as a vague non-policy that commits them to no more than setting up a whole lot of committees, investigations and working party reviews, but avoids any of the real questions on policy.

"This is a Clayton's policy- the sort of policy you have when you're not having a policy. It is so vague on the most basic questions like the future of the Education Review Office (ERO), bulk funding, and staffing and operations grants, that schools will be none the wiser as to Labour's intentions. In many areas, this so-called policy has Labour stepping back from previously stated commitments."

In April, Labour Leader Helen Clark said they would abolish the ERO and amalgamate it with the Ministry of Education; now Labour says it will only investigate this as an option. On National Assessment, Labour has said it is opposed, but now muddies the water by saying parents will receive six monthly reports on student literacy and numeracy progress. On bulk funding Labour is also fudging the issue by 'abolishing bulk funding' but providing 'flexible' funding that schools can spend on staffing.

"At a rough count their policy is to have at least 15 investigations, committees and huis. Voters need a real choice. Labour's Schools Policy gives parents no substance. I challenge Labour to go back to the drawing board and clearly state what their plans are for the ERO, whether bulk funded schools will lose funding, whether the operations grant will be capped at the rate of inflation, where they stand on staffing, and what their policy is on pupil assessment. The public want answers, not questions."


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