The National Party has today announced its commitment to reinstating partnership schools and enhancing the model to allow for specialist partnership schools that focus on certain areas like science and technology, National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.

“Partnership schools have a proven track record of helping vulnerable children and young people to achieve in education and reach their potential. Many are experiencing success at school for the first time in their lives.

“But in spite of this, one of the first things Labour did when it came into Government was scrap partnership schools, putting ideology and the wishes of its unions ahead of kids.

“It’s not good enough for the Government to say these schools can stay open if they agree to transition to a different schooling model. It is the partnership school model that has worked for these kids and that’s why National will reinstate it.

“We are not prepared to let kids who have struggled in mainstream schooling to continue to struggle just because they’re in a school that doesn’t work for them.

“Every child is unique and has different needs, and we believe parents should have a choice about what kind of school is best for their child. For some, that’s the local state school but for others it’s a partnership school and that option should be available to parents.

“So as National Party Leader Simon Bridges announced today a National Government would pass legislation reinstating partnership schools within 12 months.

“We will also work on enhancing the partnership schools model to ensure less red tape, greater establishment support and better support for successful schools to expand to meet the growing demand.

“We will also further expand the model to allow for specialist partnership schools that focus on areas like science, maths, technology, arts and engineering, which will encourage greater innovation to support the next generation of Kiwi scientists, inventors and engineers.

“A one-size-fits-all education system doesn’t work in New Zealand. Despite what Labour believes, state schools are not the only schools that can make a real difference for kids.

“I want to acknowledge the iwi leaders including Sir Toby Curtis who are fighting to support the partnership school, and have lodged a Waitangi Tribunal claim which the Government has ignoring. We stand alongside iwi leaders recognising the value of these schools and we will continue to fight for them.

“National is committed to doing what’s best for Kiwi kids and that means making sure that every child has the opportunity to achieve their potential.”

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