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ACT will campaign to restore school autonomy

“ACT will campaign to reverse Labour’s proposals to undermine school autonomy announced today”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“While it’s commendable that Labour has backed down on the Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce’s ‘Education Hubs’ idea, it is still proposing to take powers away from community-elected Boards of Trustees, such as those over enrolments and property.

“Giving the power to change enrolment zones to a new bureaucracy that hasn’t yet been created will lead to massive uncertainty for parents, students and communities.

“Local communities have controlled schools through parent-elected Boards for thirty years and that local control will be eroded by these proposals. ACT believes Boards must retain the ability to control the culture of their school on behalf of communities and parents.

“The Government may genuinely want to help underperforming schools and create a more equal education system but taking autonomy away from successful schools is the wrong approach.

“The Government also proposes new objectives for Boards, including the requirement to achieve equitable outcomes for Māori students.

“The single biggest thing Labour could have done to support Māori achievement would have been to keep ACT’s charter schools.

“Charter schools had the freedom to innovate and respond to a diversity of needs. Māori and Pasifika families were voting with their feet by taking their children to schools that better met their needs.

“Pasifika students perform even worse than Māori students, so why is Labour ignoring them?

“An enormous amount of time and effort went into preparing these proposals. The Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce liked to talk about the depth of its consultation. But the proposals deliver very little in terms of improving student achievement. They will, however, create huge uncertainty for parents, students and communities.”

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