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Labour to make school clustering easier

Labour
2000 web siteLabour education spokesperson Trevor Mallard today welcomed the proposed establishment of combined school boards of trustees and said Labour would make the path easier for other schools wanting similar set-ups.

Trevor Mallard said the option was one that had been in the education legislation for years and it was surprising that the first combined boards would not be established until more than ten years after the implementation of Tomorrow's Schools.

"Labour has spent a lot of time listening to the concerns of small rural schools and the option of a combined board has certain appeal in many areas," Trevor Mallard said.

"However, we believe the legislation needs tweaking to make it a more viable and worthwhile option. For instance, we will clarify the principal and staff representation on combined boards of trustees and we will remove the limit of four schools which any one board can administer.

"Labour's education policy also allows staggered elections so that a board is not left in the situation of having entirely new members after any one election.

"I will be monitoring the progress of the combined boards in the East Coast region closely to see if there are any other changes that can be made to make combined boards a more worthwhile option," Trevor Mallard said.

Trevor Mallard also rejected the statement from Education Minister Nick Smith that today's announcement was a move away from the 'one size fits all' approach of Tomorrow's Schools.

"Tomorrow's Schools in itself is recognition that all schools are different and have different needs. Dr Smith should not use that as an excuse for his Government failing to meet the needs of small, rural schools."

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