Nats outline truancy crackdown
$47m for literacy and numeracy 'crusade'
By TIM DONOGHUE - The Dominion Post | Monday, 13 October 2008
National Party leader John Key has unveiled plans to crack down on school truancy by prosecuting the parents of errant pupils.
In a statement outlining National's education policy, Mr Key said the crackdown on truancy would also coincide with a call for every primary and intermediate school to report to parents in plain English about how their child was performing compared to national standards and other children their age.
"The party will also get tough on truancy by prosecuting parents of persistent truants. It will also give schools extra resources to crack down on truants and disruptive pupils," he said.
Mr Key yesterday spoke of a National "crusade on literacy and numeracy" and today fleshed out some of its details on the campaign trail in Gisborne where he visited local schools.
He said providing New Zealand children with decent literacy and numeracy skills was an important priority for him, made all the more urgent in uncertain economic times.
National would allocate $47 million of additional funding to schools per year to boost literacy and numeracy rates - including $18 million a year for targeted funding of pupils who were not meeting national standards.
The money would come from the $1.75 billion annual allowance allocated in the Government's May budget for new spending in each of the next three years.
"Continuing to allow our children to fail is not an option. National will provide schools with resources, arm parents with knowledge, direct agencies to focus on results and thus give our children the future they deserve," Mr Key said.
National's previously announced education policies for the crux of the "crusade".
* setting national standards in literacy and numeracy which every every primary and intermediate school would have to be regularly assessed against;
* getting tough on truancy by prosecuting parents of persistent truants and giving schools extra enforcement resources;
* giving schools additional assistance for dealing with disruptive pupils;
* improving special education services by increasing funding for students with the highest special education needs, expanding special education schools, and encouraging satellite special education schools.
Mr Key said schools would have the option of using the new targeted funding as they saw fit.
That might include working with other schools to hire a specialist teacher, paying for remedial classes at a specialist provider, expanding their reading recovery programme, or providing training to teachers in regard to specific learning difficulties.
- with NZPA
Leave a comment
• Peters to seniors: You're at risk
• Key: Govt should have briefed me
Colin Espiner's politics blog
» Clark's Elemeno P shows Key his ABC
Fancy yourself as a wordsmith?
Try our daily caption contest
Take your shot at Helen or John
Game: Whack a poll
Dominion Post reporters blog on politics
» At the campaign launches
Questioning the leaders
Put your questions to Clark and Key