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Labour should apologise for schools stuff-up

Katherine Rich MP
National Party Education Spokeswoman

13 November 2007

Labour should apologise for schools stuff-up

Labour’s plan for a ‘super school’ in Upper Hutt has proven to be an abject disaster, and parents, teachers and students deserve an apology, says National’s Education spokeswoman, Katherine Rich.

“Students have paid the price of this poorly though-out plan for five years and new Education Minister Chris Carter has the gall to attempt to absolve the Government of blame by saying Helen Clark ‘never felt comfortable’ with the idea of a 3,000-pupil school.

“If that’s how she felt, why didn’t she rein in Trevor Mallard’s grand restructuring plan sooner? She has allowed this situation to fester for five long years, during which Upper Hutt College, Heretaunga College, Fergusson Intermediate and Maidstone Intermediate have suffered undue uncertainty, low morale and crumbling facilities.

“Upper Hutt College had to divert $294,000 from the school’s operation grant to do essential maintenance, meaning that money could not be spent on teaching and students.

“Educators have said the freezing of property funds to the schools has ‘severely compromised’ the education of students, and the recruitment and retention of staff has been affected by ‘low morale.’

“Chris Carter is congratulating himself for being decisive, but the decision to abandon the unpopular idea of a ‘super school’ in Upper Hutt has come only after five years of running the included schools into the ground, to the point they have said they are at‘crisis point’.

“The Minister should apologise to the students and families who have suffered as a direct result of the inaction of four Labour Education Ministers.”


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