• Nick Smith

Education Minister Nick Smith today said Government is committed to helping He Huarahi Tamariki, a school for teenage mothers based in Porirua.

"On Monday I signed off on a proposal to provide ongoing funding directly to the Trust to provide education for up to 50 students, estimated at around $400,000. This is up from the $280,000 that their students are eligible for through Porirua College. The work of the Trust is greatly valued and is the sort of local initiative that should be encouraged."

"He Huarahi Tamariki applied for funding to build an early childhood centre through the Ministry of Education's early childhood services discretionary grant scheme. They are considered a high priority, but the two centres who were successful in obtaining funding from this scheme, in one case had a major health and safety problem in that it was on a contaminated site, and the other was required to vacate its site by the end of the year.

The Ministry will be meeting with members of the Trust on Thursday afternoon to work though the
options that are available for the Trust to provide childcare for the children of their students.

I am confident a creative solution can be found by Ministry officials and the Trust by working together. I have instructed officials that a solution must be found that meets the needs of the children and their mothers."

"National has made early childhood education its biggest priority in the education sector since 1990. We have opened 1,170 more early childhood centres, increased participation by 45,000 children and increased funding, in real terms,
by 92%.

We have made a huge commitment to early intervention programmes like Family Start, HIPPY and PAFT and now have health, welfare and education agencies
working together under the strengthening families umbrella to ensure all children get the very best start in life."