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Review timely but ineffective without funding

A review of education law is timely but the Government must ensure it is a genuine examination of New Zealand’s education system and the future needs of schools, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Since the Education Act came into effect 26 years ago a lot has changed for teachers, students and school communities.

“Schools need more support to deliver the national curriculum. The support they receive from the Ministry of Education has been diminishing.

“Taking funding structures off the table will only ensure this review is a whitewash.

“When National came to office they promised to increase frontline staff. However the opposite is happening.

“New figures obtained by Labour show frontline staff have fallen from 43.6 per cent in 2009/10 to 40.5 per cent in 2013/14. Over the same period the number of back office staff rose from 56.5 per cent to 59.5 per cent.

“Meanwhile the Ministry has increased its spending on public relations staff by almost 200 per cent since to $2.5 million.

“This review comes as Hekia Parata publicly muses about linking school funding to student achievement. However, she refuses to give any details about her plans.

“The Education Minister must include funding in this review or suspicion will remain she is making secret changes without the input of the school sector,” Chris Hipkins says.