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Promise on class sizes a hoax

Katherine Rich MP
National Party Education Spokeswoman

8 November 2007

Promise on class sizes a hoax

Labour’s policy to reduce new entrant classes ‘to ensure that by 2008 there are no more than 15 students in a class’ is a hoax and will never be fully implemented by the promised date, says National’s Education spokeswoman, Katherine Rich.

In Parliament today, Education Minister Chris Carter admitted that nearly 400 primary schools (35% of all primary schools) will not access the new 1:15 policy because they have rolls with fewer than 176 students and will remain staffed on a much higher ratio. “The Minister can just shrug his shoulders and say that these schools tend to have lower ratios for new entrants, but that’s not the case for all 400 schools.

“There will be many primary schools with rolls under 176 students where new entrant classes will have 20–25 children. “When his Government promised class sizes would be reduced ‘to ensure that by 2008 there are no more than 15 students in a class’, parents took that statement to mean exactly what it says. “What’s he going to say to parents who find their child starts school next year in a class of 20-25 children?

“The Minister says he got the education job because ‘I think a lot of my colleagues think I'm a very good salesman’. He might have to be when 35% of primary schools won’t be eligible, and when officials confirm he’s facing a shortage of at least 400 primary teachers next year, and tell him the policy in any form can’t be in place before 2009.

“His officials have suggested that in order to meet the shortage of teachers next year ‘Some schools might have to compromise on their quality criteria to employ extra teachers.’ “This will go down like a lead balloon with principals, parents, and teachers.”

ENDS

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