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Education Minister Hekia Parata wishes children and young people well as they prepare to head to school from Monday.

“A new school year presents new possibilities and challenges. I hope kids are feeling excited about expanding their knowledge, learning new skills, making new friends and trying out a new sport or club,” says Ms Parata.

“765,400 students are expected to return to school or start school this week. Around 10,540 of those are five-year-olds who will be starting school for the first time, out of a total of 63,220 who are expected to be starting school throughout the year. Almost all of them will have the advantage of having participated in early childhood education, which gives them the best possible start.”

Latest figures show that last year, 96.7 per cent of kids participated in early childhood education. This is up from 94.7 per cent in 2011, which shows that more parents are recognising the importance of early childhood education.

“This is an exciting year for education. I’m particularly looking forward to announcing the formation of more Communities of Learning | Kahui Ako as the year progresses. Already more than half a million kids are benefitting from their school being part of one of the 180 Communities across the country,” says Ms Parata.

“Education is more important than ever before. By working together in Communities of Learning, schools will be able to further raise educational achievement for Kiwi kids.”

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