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PrimeTime Transcript: Hekia Parata, Chris Hipkins

PrimeTime Transcript - Hekia Parata, Chris Hipkins Plus Professor Martin Thrupp,University of Waikato And Rose Patterson, NZ Initiative. 22/08/14

Education Minister Hekia Parata concedes that Charter Schools are playing only a “marginal” role in the New Zealand education system.

Speaking on Prime TV’s “Prime Time with Sean Plunket” she said that three quarters of the pupils at charter schools had been excluded from other schools.

“They are one option that is still there,” she said.

“No one is compelled to send their children to them.”

Speaking on the same programme, Labour’s Education spokesman, Chris Hipkins, confirmed that a Labour Government would scrap the charter schools.

He pointed out that one of the attractions of Charter Schools was that they had smaller class sizes.

Labour is promising to lower class sizes across all schools.

“Lowering class sizes will have an impact on teacher quality,” he said.

“It gives teachers more one to one time with each student, any teacher will tell you that, and many of the things that research tell us have an impact on student achievement, are in themselves effective by class size. “

But the Minister disputed Labour’s figures about class size.

She said Labour’s policy was about one less child in a class over four years.

“If you look at the funding formula now, the average at secondary school is 1 to 21, when Labour's talking about getting to 1 to 23.

“And at primary school the average is 1 to 23, and Labour's talking about getting to 1 to 26.”

But Mr Hipkins claimed those were “nonsense” figures not backed up by Ministry of Education figures.

Also on the programme, NZ Initiative researcher, Rose Patterson said class sizes were very immediate.

“You can see why teachers want that, because they know that it's concrete, is immediate<” she said.

“Next year they can have smaller class sizes for the children under this policy.”

But she described the Government’s “Investing in Educational Success” proposal including paying better teachers more as being about “long term building up teacher capacity.”

An opponent of the Government’s proposal, University of Waikato Educational Research Professor, Martin Thrupp, said he saw the Government fiddling while Rome burned.

“I think there are much more – better ways for improving teacher performance,” he said.

“If I look at the policies of the Key government over two terms now, I think we're seeing a hollowing out of the education system, and I really struggle to point to improvements. “ (22/08/14)


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