Quit the ideological warfare, Minister

Rather than keep fighting ideological battles, the Government should be focusing its on energy on making sure our kids are at school in the first place, National’s Education spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“Education Minister Chris Hipkins is now wanting to stop schools from streaming pupils, a practice that has worked well in some schools for decades.

“The Minister is once again focused on a one size fits all approach, when we should be giving schools the ability to choose what works best for their communities.

“This latest battle follows moves to tighten up on zoning restrictions, with the Government wanting to stop children of former pupils having access to out-of-zone entry. Heaven forbid that parents want their children to attend the same school as them.

“At a time when only three students in five are attending school regularly, and when we have a long tail of underachievement and falling achievement levels compared with our international peers, Mr Hipkins’ is instead focused on making things difficult for schools with a traditional ethos, schools that typically produce good results.

“The purpose of compulsory education is to provide equal opportunities to succeed. The starting point to this has to be making sure children are actually at school.

“Streaming students based on ability won’t matter if half of them aren’t turning up.

“Yet despite spending billions of dollars in the Budget, Labour could only find a mere $5 million a year extra to deal with the chronic absences we’re seeing from school.

“The Government should be focusing on what really matters, which is getting children to school in the first place.”