Dean not attending teachers’ protest

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Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean said she did not intend being present at the gathering of primary school teachers being held outside her Oamaru office at 7.30am this morning.

Mrs Dean said she had not received an invitation to any activity outside her office and she would be heading out early to Central Otago.

Teachers are gathering to show their disapproval for the government’s Investing in Educational Success policy which is a $360 million initiative to fund a new management structure within primary school communities.

John Prescott, president of the North Otago Principals’ Association, said yesterday that teachers believed the money could be better spent in other areas to lift student achievement.

North Otago delegation leader and Ardgowan primary school teacher, Chris Mosedale, said he was not surprised Mrs Dean wouldn’t be present at this morning’s meeting.

“It’s disappointing that we won’t be able to voice our opinion directly to her especially when these changes will affect all the schools in her constituency, and nationally,” he said.

Mr Mosedale said that schools already had expertise within their own systems and if this wasn’t the case, then it would have been picked up in individual Education Review Office reports.

“Principals already meet once a month and share information and this is for free.

“We are all working hard and already doing a good job.”

Ardgowan School teachers and support staff had written a letter to Mrs Dean appealing to her to ask the Minister of Education to reconsider spending money on the initiative.

“We call on you, as our locally-based Member of Parliament, to urge the Minister of Education to reconsider the IES and instead engage in constructive collaboration with parents, boards of trustees, principals, teachers and support staff to identify initiatives that will genuinely enhance children’s learning,” the letter said.

Teachers were going to wear purple clothes to show support for an alternative plan, named by the New Zealand Educational Institute as the Better Plan.

By LINDA MCCARTHY