The Principal of Moerewa School in Northland, Keri Milne-Ihimaera is stunned that the Minister of Education, Anne Tolley, has directed her to close their highly successful senior secondary school class, despite the 100% Maori student cohort achieving pass rates in NCEA levels one, two and three that are all higher than the national pass rates across the country. These are results almost unheard of for Maori students.
‘The Minister is repeatedly telling schools that we have to find ways to lift the achievement of Maori students in our schools,’ said Peter Simpson, President of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation. ‘That is one point on which the Minister has the total support of the education sector. We all agree that the 14% tail of underachievement in New Zealand includes far too many Maori and Pasifika students. Here we have the perfect example of a principal who has employed innovation, a culturally appropriate approach and succeeded beyond all expectations, and the Minister is shutting the class down! I am utterly bewildered by this decision,’ he said.
Moerewa School had applied to the Ministry of Education to formally extend the range of year levels at the school, which had been operating a senior satellite class for the past three years. Community members and the Board of Trustees fully support the retention of the senior students at Moerewa School, and their support has been well rewarded with outstanding results.
‘Trying to find a rationale for the Minister’s decision in this case completely eludes me,’ said Simpson. ‘It is just another example in a long line of illogical political decisions that have dominated the education sector for the past three years. The people of New Zealand will have to make a call on education at this election if they don’t want to completely lose the world class system we are all so proud of,’ he said.