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Minister fails to learn from class size debacle

Hekia Parata has learnt nothing from two years of public outcry and still believes class sizes don’t matter, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Class sizes do matter. Ask any parent and they will tell you they want their kids in smaller classes. Labour has listened.

“Increasing teacher quality and smaller class sizes are not mutually exclusive. Having more time to spend with their pupils means teachers have more time to reflect on their practise, undertake professional development and spend on kids who are falling behind.

“Labour believes teachers must have the opportunity to become the best they can be. That is why we will set up an advisory service to provide mentors and share best practise. We will also raise teaching standards by pre-screening entry into initial teacher education programmes. And we will also enable resources spent forcing National Standards on schools to be redirected into teacher professional development programmes.

“A Labour Government will raise the quality of all teachers. National's executive principals policy would hand-pick a few people and pay them more. We want to increase the quality of teaching and school leadership across the board.

“Virtually everybody agrees smaller class sizes have a positive impact on learning. Any dispute is simply about the magnitude of that impact.

“Only Labour has a comprehensive package to modernise education in New Zealand. We will upgrade the way students learn, up-skill teachers and renew outdated school buildings. We will also give schools the opportunity to end the ‘voluntary’ donations which divide school communities.

“A Labour Government is committed to a modern, affordable and quality public education system,” Chris Hipkins says.