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The Next Chapter In The Story Of NZ Schools

Prime Minister Jenny Shipley and Education Minister Nick Smith today launched 'Legislation for Learning' – a discussion paper on making the Education Act work better for students, at the celebration of the tenth anniversary of Tomorrow's Schools.

"Tomorrow's Schools has been a success story but we can do even better. Some schools are flying under self-management but are tied down by red tape. They need more scope for innovation. Other schools are struggling with self-management and need more support", Dr Smith said.

"We need to move from a one size fits all model to a system that allows more flexibility in school governance structures. This is all about making it easier for schools to be managed by a single board, making provision for alternative education for students that don't fit in, and allowing alternative governance structures that work better for particular communities", Dr Smith said.

'Legislation for Learning' addresses nine key issues including school governance structures, intervening more effectively in struggling schools, making the Act and Regulations more user friendly, encouraging schools to work more closely together and getting more useful tools for planning and reporting on schools progress.

Dr Smith also announced a new $10 million trial involving forty schools nationwide that will enable schools to fully self manage their own property. The trial is planned for next year with the option of other schools joining in 2001.

"We resource schools though three main channels – operations, staffing and property. Schools have complete control over their operations funding and have a choice to self manage their staffing budgets. Property has been managed on a centralised basis that has given schools no capacity to plan ahead. The trial will enable schools to develop a long term funding contract with the Ministry around a school development plan. There has been intense interest from schools in taking this next logical step along the road of self-governance", Dr Smith said.

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"These are exciting ideas that will take New Zealand's public schools forward. It is about strengthening the partnership with parents in the governance of schools, better recognising the diversity of schools and allowing greater innovation", Dr Smith said.

"New Zealand owes a real debt of gratitude to the thousands of parents who have taken up the challenge of managing our schools over the last decade. They picked up the ball from the beginning and weren't afraid to run with innovative ideas. The whole country has benefited from their commitment and their courage. We need to show the same courage and give our schools and communities a better range of options. Our goal is excellence in education for every young New Zealander", Mrs Shipley said.
ENDS

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