Minister praises education project

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 14/08/2014
Hekia Parata
CAHRLOTTE CURD / Fairfax NZ
IN-DEPTH CHAT: Education Minister Hekia Parata was in Taranaki yesterday to visit schools and education providers, including Witt on Taranaki Futures’ Build a Bach site, where 17 students from five high schools are gaining work experience.

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Taranaki's Build a Bach scheme is an example to the rest of the country, Education Minister Hekia Parata says.

The minister's visit to New Plymouth yesterday included Waitara High School, New Plymouth Boys' High School and St Joseph's in Waitara.

She also spent some time at Witt on Taranaki Futures' Build a Bach site, where 17 students from five high schools are gaining work experience.

The project was a role model for the rest of New Zealand in terms of the way that tertiary education, secondary schools and the community were working together to offer pathways and skills development, she said.

"This Build a Bach has been pretty exciting. That's another great thing, secondary schools are collaborating and seeing potential for their young people."

On the hot topic of class sizes, Parata said National's policy was not just the number of teachers or the quality of teaching - it was both. "In the last five years teacher numbers have gone up 15 per cent under our government, while student numbers have gone up less than 1 per cent. So we've been investing in the numbers of teachers," she said.

The Government was also investing in the quality of teaching. The $359 million education plan that Prime Minister John Key unveiled this year was to ensure that parents were at the heart of the process, setting out schools' achievement challenges and identifying expert teachers who can mentor their peers.

Schools decided on class sizes, Parata said

. The Government funded on a formula - for year 13, the ratio was one to 18 and for year 12 it was one to 23.

How schools applied that in practice was their decision, she said.

"I think very few of us remember how many kids were in our class, but what we remember is how good the teacher was. And that still remains the case.

"What I'd like, as minister of education, is for every teacher to be remembered as good."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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