With just over 10 weeks until the general election the Labour Party has made education a key battleground in its fight to oust National from power.

Labour leader David Cunliffe has over the past week revealed the party's policies in this area, including more teachers and smaller class sizes, paying schools not to ask for donations and subsidised portable digital devices for all students in Years 5-13.

Smaller class sizes have particularly struck a chord with Rotorua teachers, with many saying it would make a positive difference to student achievement.

The policy is at odds with National's announcement in January it would focus on quality of teaching and leadership in order to lift student achievement.


In fact, Mr Cunliffe said Labour's policies would be paid for by cancelling National's Investing in Educational Success (IES) programme, which would see the best teachers and principals paid more and used to help other teachers and schools.

National's aims are noble, we all want to keep the best possible people leading our schools and teaching our children, but it's hard to go past the widespread acceptance that smaller classes are better for both teachers and students in terms of lifting achievement.

And shouldn't our schools by now already identify and nurture talented teachers and have good quality-control systems? If not, why not?

Both Labour and National have plans to take good teachers out of the classroom to work with other schools and teachers.

While the aims behind this may also be noble, as a parent I struggle with the concept of taking the best teachers away from their classrooms.

Would you want your child's top-performing teacher seconded out to another school?

It may sound selfish to want good teachers to stay put (and, to be fair, it could be your kid's teacher benefiting from the extra help) but when it comes to our children I, like most parents, reserve the right to be a little selfish.