National to build a better education system

National will continue to support early childhood education, lift achievement in schools, build a skilled workforce, and get better value for tertiary students and taxpayers, says Prime Minister and National Party Leader John Key.

“We have a clear plan to build a better education system and make sure New Zealanders learn the skills they need to succeed in the 21st Century,” said Mr Key, speaking at the launch of National’s education policy today.

“I’m a big believer in education. It is one of the fundamental tools for creating a society where all New Zealanders have an opportunity to succeed, no matter what their background.

“A high-performing education system is also vital for our success as a country, and National’s plan for education reflects that.”

If re-elected, National will set a target of 98 per cent of new entrants in school having participated in early childhood education, to be met by 2015.

“It all starts with getting the basics right. Early childhood education is an important part of a child’s development and National wants to see as many three- and four-year-olds regularly attending early childhood education as possible,” says Mr Key.

“That’s why we are spending more on early childhood education than ever before, and focusing on increasing participation, particularly for children in at-risk communities where attendance is lower.”

In schools, National’s focus will continue to be on lifting achievement.

“Our National Standards and the National Curriculum are helping teachers focus on the education outcomes children will need in the 21st Century. Our next steps include using performance information to drive improvements in student achievement, strengthening teaching and leadership, and strengthening the accountability of schools,” says Mr Key.

“We are also working hard to modernise schools. In our first term we’ve opened 18 new schools and built 400 new school buildings, and we’ve allocated $1 billion from our Future Investment Fund to build on that progress in the next five years.”

National is also committed to building a skilled workforce, so that all New Zealanders can learn the skills they need to make the most of their opportunities, earn higher incomes and contribute to New Zealand’s future.

“We will ensure better results for industry trainees and apprentices and reinvest more funding as demand grows. We’ll also keep more 16- and 17-year-olds engaged in vocational education, and help young people on benefits into skills training,” says Mr Key.

Mr Key says National’s tertiary education policy is about getting better value for students and taxpayers.

“Tertiary education is a passport to higher skills, higher wages, higher productivity and higher growth for our economy,” says Mr Key.

“That’s why National has funded more student places at universities, polytechnics, and private training providers than ever before, and is continuing our drive to lift performance in the tertiary education sector.

“National’s comprehensive education policy will help build the skills and knowledge New Zealanders need for future-proofed jobs,” says Mr Key.