Assurance school publications safe

The Ministry of Education has assured schools they will continue to receive all publications and access to online resources following the closure of a major New Zealand education publishing company.

The board of Learning Media has agreed with the Government the company does not have a viable ongoing business, and will be wound down through a managed process.

Learning Media chairwoman Jenn Bestwick said projects under way would be delivered as scheduled and transition arrangements would be put in place for longer-term work programmes to ensure continuity.

The significant contribution Learning Media had made to New Zealand's education sector over many years was recognised by both the Government and Ministry of Education.

''A key priority as the company winds down is ensuring the valuable skills and capability of Learning Media's staff are able to be retained within the sector.''

Ms Bestwick said declining revenues in traditional publishing had undermined the company's profitability, and despite strategies to diversify into digital publishing and to develop products for other sectors and markets, the company could not maintain a viable business.

Learning Media was created in 1939 when the

Department of Education's school publications branch was formed.

It became a Crown company in 1993 and a state-owned enterprise in 2005.

The company created digital and print educational resources such as the School Journal and Te Wharekura and also provided professional development for teachers.

The company employs 109 staff, including editors, designers, project managers and software programmers.

Deputy secretary for education Andrew Hampton said the ministry is contacting schools to reassure them they will get all the curriculum resources they are expecting.

''We will be working with other providers and putting in place plans that mean schools won't be impacted by what is happening with Learning Media.

''Work will be transitioned so the School Journal and all the other publications schools are expecting will continue to arrive as scheduled and into the future.''

Mr Hampton said the ministry was working to identify opportunities which would help keep the critical expertise of Learning Media's staff in the education sector.

''In particular, we want to make sure Maori medium capability remains available, along with expertise in Pasifika culture and language.''



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