National policy

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2013, the Year of the Pupil

ImageMake this year about the students:

Let’s fight changes that will not help children succeed.

Let’s fight to keep our rounded curriculum.

Let’s fight for quality schooling.

Let’s fight for quality teachers and quality training.

Let’s fight spin.

Let’s fight failed ideologies.

Let’s fight underhand measures.

Let’s fight for our children.


Make a submission against charter schools here.

Anne Tolley’s Promises Were Worth Nothing… Beware Parata’s…

Today I found a 2009 article by Anne Tolley, responding to what she terms as scaremongering about the then proposed National Standards.

She says “our pupils are among the best in the world. But international studies show that the gap between our highest and lowest performing pupils is getting wider.”

  • On the contrary, the latest report has us still amongst the best.  Unlike the UK and USA and many other countries, we have not slipped down the listings, but held our own and remain in the top 6 countries.   What has changed, in the past two years, however, is the gap between richest and poorest.  Interesting that we never get much commentary from Anne or Hekia or John on how that affects our kids’ learning.

Anne goes on to tell us “There have been hysterical claims that we are no longer investing in subjects such as art and the sciences. Wrong again.”

  • The attempt to cut a huge number of technology teachers this year was only thwarted by a huge public outcry.  It was found at that time that the Ministry of Education’s calculations were wrong on many levels, and they had not even worked out how the cuts would truly affect schools.  That give you faith, doesn’t it?  The only reason those cuts did not go through is thanks to parents, teachers and unions voicing their  outrage.

Anne’s next foray against people with concerns about her education policies was to assure us that there were no plans to close schools:  “Or how about schools being identified as failing and being forced to close? Complete nonsense. Additional funding will be made available to those schools that need support.”

  • Charter Schools.  Am I missing something here, Anne, but within less than two years the plan now is to close failing schools and re-open them as Charter Schools with untrained and unqualified staff, no requirement to follow the curriculum OR report National Standards to the Ministry, and they can run for profit.  I think maybe you should check the mirror right now and see if your nose has started to grow yet.

Just in case your nose is still the same size, you went on to say “Results being used to give performance pay to teachers? Rubbish.”

  • How DARE you talk about educators scaremongering and be so dismissive of our concerns.  This week, not two years later, and as soon as the first National Standards were in,  Hekia Parata said “Performance pay has been raised. I’m keen to see it located in a context of overall quality management in schools.”   Do you really expect us to believe we were not right about that concern in the first place.   Shame on you.

Next Tolley quote “League tables? Never on the agenda”

  • I don”t think I need to say anything there.  Your own web site and the newspapers show this to be totally wrong.
  • How’s your nose doing?

In a triumphal conclusion to her acerbic article, Tolley crows “Those who have spoken out against the standards will continue to do so. By all means, have your say. But please get your facts straight and stop trying to mislead parents.”

  • Really?!

How about you and your government stop trying to mislead parents.  

You stop scaremongering.  

You get YOUR facts straight.

Best check that nose now, Anne, because at this point it may well need a bloody good sanding down.


Further reading

Restoring Education in Canterbury – A Note from Hekia Parata

This was posted by Hekia Parata today, Sunday 16th September, on the blog – do feel free to comment on it:

Restoring education in Canterbury

This week Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and I made some announcements around restoring the education sector in greater Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri.

This has generated a lot of discussion and feedback so I thought it would be useful to take a step back for a moment and put some context around what we have announced.

The National-led Government is absolutely committed to rebuilding Christchurch following the series of destructive earthquakes. That’s why we’ve made it one of our four main priorities for this term.

That’s also why we announced this week that we are investing $1 billion over the next 10 years to restore the education sector in greater Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri.

The education sector, just like everything else in greater Christchurch, has experienced huge disruption due to the earthquakes. Buildings have been damaged and pupils have had to move to other schools and in some cases to other regions, not to mention the emotional toll it has taken on everyone.

I was impressed with the resilience and can-do attitude shown by schools in the wake of the major earthquakes, with some schools having to share facilities and sites in the days and months after the earthquakes until more permanent arrangements could be made.

Since the 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck at 4:35am on 4 September 2010, the Canterbury region has experienced more than 10,000 earthquakes and aftershocks.

The face and makeup of Christchurch has changed – there are new suburbs and developments popping up around the region – and the education sector needs to respond to those changes as well.

Around 75 per cent of the buildings in the CBD have been or will need to be demolished because of earthquake damage. Nearly 7800 properties have been designated in the residential red zone, which means the land is unsuitable for rebuilding on for a considerable period of time. This means there are 7800 households and families who have to leave and rebuild their homes and lives elsewhere.

Greater Christchurch will be rebuilt, there’s no question about that, but it will look different once it is rebuilt and the education sector is no exception.

There are 214 schools in total in the Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri region – and this week’s announcement detailed that 173 schools or just over 80 per cent are not impacted by any closures or mergers.

The other part of our announcement this week was that we are consulting on proposing to close 13 primary and intermediate schools and merge another 18 primary schools.

I acknowledge this news may be distressing for families and local communities and the Ministry of Education will continue to work with and support them during this difficult process.

The people of Canterbury have been through a lot but the Government is totally committed to supporting you through the rebuild and returning the city to the vibrant, strong and exciting hub it was prior to the earthquakes.

A number of the schools we are proposing to close now have fewer than 50 pupils due to the population shift that has occurred following the earthquakes – one of them has just six pupils. Two of these 13 schools have volunteered to close.

There has also been some concern expressed about job losses, which is understandable, but many of the teachers at the schools affected are expected to be reabsorbed into the system through the new schools being built and other job opportunities becoming available because of the growth of other schools in the region.

As for the affected secondary schools in the region, which includes Shirley Boys’ High School, Avonside Girls’ High School, and Christchurch Girls’ High School, we are still awaiting detailed geotechnical information before any firm proposals about their future are made. In the interim we have put some options for these affected schools on the table for discussion, which includes continuing as is, relocating, closing, or merging.

Restoring the education sector in Canterbury is about ensuring the schools are in the right locations and that our children have access to good, quality education within a close distance to where they live.

Retrieved from 16.9.12 at 14.55

Govt allies must force National to reverse class increases

Govt allies must force National to reverse class increases

Friday, 1 June 2012, 9:19 am
Press Release: New Zealand Labour Party


Govt allies must force National to reverse class size increases

Labour Leader David Shearer is calling on the Government’s allies to use their combined political muscle to force National to ditch its plan to increase class sizes.

“Parents, children and teachers are overwhelmingly opposed to National’s plan to increase class sizes. They know it will damage their children’s learning and limit their opportunities.

“United Future and the Māori Party have the opportunity to show that they’re prepared to stand alongside Kiwis on this issue. They must use their power to force National to drop the plan completely – not just to tinker with it.

“It is also concerning that National seems to have breached its no surprises agreement by failing to properly brief its support partners on the full impact of the policy changes. They are right to be angry about this.

“This issue is so serious for our future that John Key must find the time to deal with it, despite the fact he is overseas celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. We urge him to act.

“Education is a priority for Labour. We will reverse National’s short-sighted plan to increase class sizes when we’re elected. But we urge other political parties who are in a position of power now to fight for our children and their right to a quality education,” said David Shearer.

© Scoop Media

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