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Bold New Standard For Primary Schools

Prime Minister Jenny Shipley today launched the Government's new property standard for primary schools which will see a massive 48 per cent increase in the space entitlement for primary schools and commits the Government to bringing all schools up to the new standard by 2005.

"Schools' entitlements for space and buildings have not changed since the 1970's, when I was teaching, and yet so much has changed in our schools since then. We have a far broader curriculum with science, technology, arts, physical education and health, all placing new demands on space.

"Modern teaching practises require additional space for small group tuition and for more storage space for resources. Tomorrow's Schools means administration functions are occurring at school rather than at an Education Board office and need to be accommodated.

"This new property guide will make a huge difference to the quality of education teachers are able to deliver for children."

The new primary property guide increases schools overall property entitlement by 48%, with 20% more space for teaching, 93% more for administration, 62% more for libraries and 105% more for storage and class preparation.

"Significantly the new guide provides all primary schools with an entitlement for a school hall or multi-purpose space. Currently there is no such entitlement and schools have had to fund raise for such facilities. For schools such as Riverlands, that means that they can chose to build a multi-purpose hall, whereas before they were not able to do so.

"The new property guide is also significant in that it gives schools far more flexibility about how they use their space. No longer will every school be the same. Some may choose to have a marae rather than a hall. Others may choose to integrate their information technology space with their library facilities. It is up to them to decide how best to use their space to provide the best outcomes for their students.

"We can not expect our children to participate in the knowledge-based economy, and have an increased awareness of their culture and their health and well-being, if we don't make provision for it in our schools. We have committed $1 billion for school property improvements over the next three years and will commit further funds to bring all primary school up to this new standard by 2005. The new School Property Guide will ensure that schools have the space they need to prepare their pupils for the next millennium," Mrs Shipley said.


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