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Importance of first school year recognised

Importance of first school year recognised

“We are pleased with Labour’s recognition, in an announcement made yesterday, of the importance to children of their first year at school,” said Every Child Counts spokesperson, Ian Hassall.

Labour proposes to increase the number of primary school teachers so that first year classes have no more than 15 children.

“We have been asking that attention be paid to children’s early years. These are the years when, in economic terms, the payoff on investment is greatest,” said Dr Hassall.

“Of course there is more than economics at stake. Children in their first year can be set on the path of lifetime learning and achievement or permanently discouraged. It is a crucial transition in their lives and needs careful management. In oversized school entrant classes, keeping track of children at very different stages of school-readiness becomes difficult and some will suffer as a result.”

“It looks like the beginning of a co-ordinated policy for children, with this announcement coming after Wednesday’s early years health plan that included an increased schedule of health checks from birth to school entry and a final school-readiness check. This is a welcome move,” he concluded.

“Every Child Counts is a coalition including Barnardos, Plunket, Save the Children, Unicef NZ and AUT’s Institute of Public Policy, supported by more than 325 other organisations and thousands of individual supporters. It aims for a commitment from the incoming government to placing children and their families at the centre of their plans and decision-making processes.

ENDS

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