Bay schools close early today

By Genevieve Helliwell

Primary and Intermediate school around the Western Bay will be closing early today while teachers attend a paid union meeting to discuss the Government's education agenda.

At the meeting, hundreds of local teachers will discuss issues relating to performance pay, league tables, national standards and other issues, which have been raised in the latest round of pay negotiations.

New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI) Te Riu Roa president Ian Leckie said there was "very real concern'' that the Government's policies would damage New Zealand's quality public education system.

 "The Ministry has made an offer which we believe is linked to a business model of education driven by cost-cutting and competition.

 "What's at stake here is our world-renowned public education system based on equity and providing good education for all children."

The meeting will take place at Merivale School at 1.30pm today.

Principals are inviting parents to pick up their children from school ahead of this afternoon's meeting. If they can't, schools will remain open until the end of the school day.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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