New Zealand Labour Party

Hard road ahead for thousands more Kiwi kids

News that there will be 8000 more students in low decile schools next year reinforces the absolute failure of the National Government’s economic approach, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“The gap between the haves and the have-nots is increasing. The latest changes to school decile rankings clearly highlight the impact that is having on younger New Zealanders.

“Hekia Parata continues to bury her head in the sand and claim that socio-economic disadvantage doesn’t have an impact on a child’s learning. She is simply wrong.

“Recent international research shows that poor children complete two fewer years of school, earn less than half as much and are nearly three times more likely to have poor health.

“These kids can’t leave their home life at the door of the classroom. They are more likely to be hungry, not have decent clothing and be moved from school to school.

“This comes as the number of Pākehā children in decile one to three schools has plummeted in the past 12 years, further widening the disparity with Māori and Pasifika children.

“I agree with Hekia Parata that the current decile system is clunky and needs to change. But that doesn’t mask the fact that the number of young people living in economically disadvantaged situations is increasing under her watch.

“It is time the Government introduced policies to improve the lives of our most precious resource, our people, not make life more difficult,” Chris Hipkins says.