Further success on school building settlements

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The settlement of legal action by the Ministry of Education against CSR Building Products Ltd over weather-tightness of school buildings is further good news for New Zealand schools, Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye says.

“While the CSR product is only on a small number of schools, I’m very pleased to see the industry responding sensibly and allowing settlement to be reached without the need for court action,” Ms Kaye says.

To date the Ministry has successfully settled more than 40 claims relating to leaky buildings and is the first Government agency to lodge a major product liability claim, which led to an out of court agreement with major manufacturer, James Hardie late last year.

“Effective legal action will continue as needed to protect Crown assets, but it is only part of a much wider strategy to ensure delivery of the best possible learning environments for students and teachers,” Ms Kaye says.

Actions taken by the Ministry include introducing mandatory Weather-Tightness Requirements which work in conjunction with the New Zealand Building Code and include a peer review of all school designs.  

Specific details of the settlement will remain confidential and the Ministry will now discontinue claims made against CSR. Legal action continues against the remaining party involved in the claim.

PM’s Youth Programme making positive changes in lives of young people

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Youth Affairs Minister Nikki Kaye joined Prime Minister John Key at a dinner last night to celebrate young participants of the 2014 Prime Minister’s Youth Programme.

The annual programme, which is now in its fifth year, involves up to 100 young people aged 14 – 17 years in Auckland. They have been recognised for facing and managing challenges and taking positive steps in their lives, such as improving their academic performance, or moving away from behaviour like truancy and low-level offending.

The programme aims to provide young people with opportunities, skills and experiences that will be valuable to them in their everyday lives.

They spend the week taking part in various fun and educational activities facilitated by different providers around Auckland, Wellington and Rotorua. These include leadership tasks at the Hobsonville Defence Base, a design workshop with Saatchi & Saatchi, as well as career workshops hosted by Coca Cola and Vodafone.

“These young people all faced challenges in their lives and I am impressed of the way they have managed. They have had to make some tough decisions in their lives and are all taking steps towards a better life,” said Ms Kaye.

“The dinner and awards ceremony gave participants the opportunity to celebrate their achievements, alongside supporters of the programme and others who have spent time with them throughout the week.”

“This programme has given participants the chance to learn new things and meet others who have also faced obstacles and made positive changes. I’m sure they will take useful skills and experiences back to their communities,” said Ms Kaye.

More information about the Prime Minister’s Youth Programme can be found at: http://www.myd.govt.nz/young-people/prime-ministers-youth-programme.html

Over 200 schools signed up to managed network

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Education Minister Hekia Parata and Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye say 212 schools have signed agreements to connect to the Network for Learning (N4L) managed network.

“The pace of connecting schools is gaining momentum. As of today, 212 schools have signed agreements and these communities will be looking forward to being connected in the near future,” Ms Parata says.

“This is great news for our children as they begin the new schooling year over the next couple of weeks.

“Their learning is the most critical element in education and we want to ensure we are supporting their needs in a technologically savvy environment,” Ms Parata says.

“All these schools are expected to connect to the managed network within the next few months,” Ms Kaye says.

“Forty-nine of these schools have already connected and are now able to take full advantage of the Government funded connection provided by the N4L managed network.

“Through the managed network, the Government is picking up the cost to provide schools with safe, predictable and fast internet with uncapped data, content filtering and network security services.

“This package reduces ICT complexity and provides significant savings for schools. All schools will be invited to connect to the managed network by the end of 2016.

“This progress is ahead of schedule and means the company is well placed to connect at least 700 schools by the end of 2014 as expected,” Ms Kaye says.

The Government has committed $211 million over eight years to establish the managed network and provide schools with a funded connection to it.

The N4L network runs over the best mix of ultra-fast, rural, and remote broadband available in New Zealand.

Schools that have signed agreements to connect and those currently connected are listed on the N4L website, see:

http://www.n4l.co.nz/schoolswithsignedagreements/