Teachers school Nat on policy bugbears

By Harrison Christian

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Wayne Walford, National candidate for Napier, encountered some irate teachers at an education forum last night. Photo / Duncan Brown
Wayne Walford, National candidate for Napier, encountered some irate teachers at an education forum last night. Photo / Duncan Brown

National's Napier candidate, Wayne Walford, received flak from disgruntled teachers at an education forum in Napier last night.

The forum, organised by the New Zealand Educational Institute and held at East Pier, Ahuriri, was an opportunity for candidates from the Napier Electorate to answer questions on education.

Among the topics discussed before an audience of about 30 teachers and general public were charter schools and national standards.

Audience members also took issue with the Government's flagship education policy, which aims to identify the best principals and teachers and pay them more to spend time in other local schools or provide an example within their own.

A teacher told Mr Walford the policy worked on the assumption there weren't enough quality teachers in the system.

"The feeling I'm getting from you is there's an assumption we're not good enough," she said.

While discussing Government funding for E-learning, Mr Walford was interrupted by a school principal who felt operational grants for ICT in schools were inadequate.

Mr Walford indicated he would sit down if audience members continued to interrupt, which prompted organiser Deborah Neilson to ask: "If you can't take the heat here, how will you take the heat during question time in Parliament?"

Ms Neilson said he had received the message teachers weren't happy with National's education policy.

"I think he's seen that clearly teachers don't like National's policy ... The Government needs to start listening to the profession."

Also at the forum were Tukituki Labour candidate Anna Lorck (standing in for Napier's Labour candidate Stuart Nash), Napier Green candidate Paul Bailey, Napier Conservative candidate Garth McVicar and Napier Alliance candidate Mary O'Neill.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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