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Happy new year to all readers. I hope that you and your family enjoyed a lovely summer holiday and that 2019 will be a good one for you and for our city.

Next Friday, 8 February, David Bennett and I will be hosting National’s Education spokesperson, Hon Nikki Kaye, at a public meeting at 4.00pm at Café Agora in Frankton. We warmly invite you and anyone you know who may be interested, or who has ideas to contribute, to join us. 

Nikki is currently holding meetings throughout New Zealand to listen to parents’ and teachers’ concerns and views on education issues. The meetings will have a particular focus on the Tomorrow’s Schools Review that was initiated by the current government.

As Nikki noted when she commenced her speaking tour, “the review has the potential to impact every part of our education system. That’s why it’s very important to give parents, students, teachers, principals and the around 19,000 parents and trustees who currently sit on boards the opportunity to have their voices heard.

“The Tomorrow’s Schools Review Taskforce has undertaken significant consultation but it is clear from discussions with a number of parents, Boards of Trustees and some educators they are not aware of all of the recommendations.”

Once Nikki’s nationwide tour has been completed, National will provide a summary of the feedback from the public meetings to the taskforce.

National has already raised serious concerns about the creation of around 20 new Crown entities called Education Hubs, which would transfer more responsibilities from parents to public servants. We are concerned that parents will be disempowered as a result of such a model.

However, as Nikki has also noted, there are some positive aspects of the report in areas such as learning support, and we believe there is a need to improve governance and collaboration in our education system. The proposed changes are far reaching and must be carefully considered.

The changes proposed by the taskforce cover almost every aspect of our school system, including governance, teaching and learning, learning support, and enrolment schemes.

This is a once-in-a-generation chance to make some significant changes to our education system. Nikki, David and I look forward to engaging with educators, parents and others with an interest in the future provision and focus of education next Friday.  It is a public meeting and all are welcome. There is ample free parking and convenient public transport in the vicinity, and the venue is accessible for those with impaired mobility.

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