13 Nov 2019

Simon Bridges criticises proposed education overhaul

From Morning Report, 7:33 am on 13 November 2019

National Party leader Simon Bridges has slammed the proposed Tomorrow's Schools reforms, saying it takes away the power from locals.

The government has unveiled a major overhaul of the school system, including taking away schools' powers to set their own enrolment zones.

A newly formed Education Service Agency will take on the task.

The decision follows concerns that schools were manipulating their zone to include wealthy neighbourhoods but exclude closer, disadvantaged areas.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins told Checkpoint on Tuesday the school system needs a reshuffle.

"As the population explodes in some parts of the country we really are struggling at the moment to keep up with that.

"Some school enrolment zones are shrinking and we got to actually do a better job of this if we're going to make sure that every kid can attend their local school."

But on Wednesday Mr Bridges told Morning Report he thinks the reforms represent a centralising of education when it should be controlled locally.

"What worries me about the zoning and other things here that have that centralising tendency is the idea is they make everything the same and that's good.

"Well I think in the process you don't lift up the lower performing schools, I think you end up dragging down the better performing ones."