Feed and house Kiwi kids properly to fix education

Educational achievement will not improve until the Government prioritises feeding, housing and looking after our children properly, the Green Party has said today.

Research reported today has uncovered a consistent achievement gap of an average of two years schooling between children in lower and higher decile primary schools.

“The reason for the gap in achievement between low and high decile schools is the inequality that this National Government has fostered in New Zealand,” Green Party Education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said today.

“When you have children going to school hungry every day, after sleeping in a car or overcrowded garage, it’s inevitable there will be issues with how they’re able to learn.

“Education is meant to be the great equaliser, but poverty is a real barrier to kids’ learning. If kids are hungry, sick and don’t have the support they need, then it is hard to learn.

“The education gap is also compounded by the National Government’s dogged focus on quantity over quality of Early Childhood Education.

“Our solution is to turn schools into community hubs. Bringing health and social services to schools will ensure every child is ready to learn, their family is included and is better able to support their learning, and teachers are freed up to do what they do best – teach.

“Our Schools at the Heart policy will tackle the serious effects of growing inequality on our kids’ educational achievement by turning low decile schools into community hubs, bringing health, welfare and other support to where it’s needed.

“We also learnt from our inquiry into children with learning differences that schools aren’t equipped to support those kids with learning differences. This adds to the problem when low decile schools are unable to find extra resources to pay for additional support,” said Ms Delahunty.

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