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National Standards opposition brings unwarranted punishment

23 August 2011
For Immediate Release

National Standards opposition brings unwarranted punishment

The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa is appalled by the type of punitive action taken against a north Otago school which is standing up against National Standards.

Pembroke School in Oamaru was to have a hosted a Pasifika Fono last Friday in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, a number of local schools, kindergartens and community groups. It was designed to get local Pacific Island parents more involved in their children’s education.

However the school board has been told by the Ministry that it would not be appropriate for the school to hold the Fono because its charter does not comply with National Standards and it is refusing to comply with legislative requirements. The Ministry said the Fono was being moved to a commercial complex and it has gone back on an agreement to pay Pembroke School’s home and school committee to do the catering.

NZEI President Ian Leckie says that action is disgraceful as it not only punishes Pembroke School, but the entire community.

“This school and the community were trying to come together to do something positive for Pasifika children – something which would have far more meaning in terms of lifting student achievement than National Standards”.

“The school board has decided not to implement National Standards for good reason. Like hundreds of other schools around the country it would rather stick with proven ways of assessing student progress rather than being forced to use hastily-designed, untried and untested National Standards, particularly on children who have English as a second language.”

NZEI says the extraordinary punitive action against Pembroke School is likely to be a sign of things to come as the government tries to force compliance on those schools which are standing up against a policy they know doesn’t make sense for quality teaching and learning.

ENDS

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