'Anti-education' cuts slammed

(New Zealand) The education sector has banded together to urge the government against increasing class sizes.

Speaking today after a joint meeting between seven different sector assocations, the group said the Budget announcements to increase class sizes resulting in teaching cuts of one to two teachers per school  were philosophically anti-education.

Under moves announced in the Budget about 245 schools stood to lose between one and seven teachers, although the Government pulled back from the most extreme impact saying no more than two full-time teaching staff would be lost at any school in the next three years.

NZ Educational Institute president Ian Leckie said they would invite education minister Hekia Parata to meet with the group immediately to discuss alternative options.

While discussions of industrial action were premature, if Ms Parata was unwilling to discuss the sector's concerns then principals and parents would support any unions that opted to strike, Mr Leckie said.

"While everybody is jumping to the question of whether we'll go out on strike with this, that's premature. Let's start with the dialogue and look for the solutions, rather than having people walk the streets.

"But there's no doubt that the public of New Zealand are outraged at the moment, there is a lot of anger out there."
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