Education U turn

First listen to May 16th 2012 to hear about increases in class sizes.

Hekia Parata, the Minister of Education, changed her mind about increasing class sizes. This was a U turn from her earlier decision. This was surprising because government ministers do not usually change their minds.

Perhaps she did not realize that students in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 have technology classes. These include woodwork, cooking, computers and other practical classes where class sizes need to be smaller for safety reasons. The decision last month meant that many technology teachers would lose their jobs. It also meant many students would not have technology classes.

Parents were not happy. Teachers, both primary and secondary, were not happy.

Ms Parata said she had listened to parents and decided not to increase class sizes. Instead she will have to find another way to save $114m.


to do a U turn – drivers know that this means to change directions. If you change your decision, this is doing a U turn.
decision (n), decide (v) – make up your mind
realise – know, understand
practical classes – where students make things

Word Forms
this was surprising; people were surprised
We have many adjectives like that e.g. amazing, amazed; interesting, interested; tiring, tired; frightening, frightened. Can you make pairs of sentences to show how these are used?


Some people say it was a mistake to change her mind; other people say she was brave to change her mind. What do you think?