Needs-based vs outcome-based school funding



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The contentious issue of school funding is on the agenda of the Post Primary Teachers’ Association’s annual conference, currently underway in Wellington.

blackboard money treeA paper presented at the conference, “A needs-based model of resourcing for schools – time for a national discussion?” raises questions about schools’ reliance on locally raised funds.

PPTA president Angela Roberts believes schools with the greatest needs receive insufficient funding to support staff and student needs.

She says that even when taking into account the combined total of decile funding and locally raised funding, decile one schools have just $350 per student more than those in decile 10 schools to address their relative educational disadvantage.

She points out that $350 equates to just five per cent of total school funding, whereas the Australian Gonski report recommends students from lower socio-economic backgrounds should attract an extra 50 per cent.

Education Minister Hekia Parata has indicated that school funding models are likely to undergo a change, although the Minister’s office couldn’t comment today on future decisions around school funding as portfolio assignments have yet to be announced.

Roberts is sceptical of the Government introducing an outcomes-based funding model.

“[Parata] appears to be talking about outcomes based funding – something similar to the model used in tertiary. The government purchases a number of, say level one NCEA credits, and the school agrees to deliver them. If the school succeeds all is well, if it fails it loses funding for the following year.”

Roberts says the OECD has reviewed outcomes-based funding and warned it can lead to “gaming and perverse incentives”.

The conference paper looks at what “needs-based” funding could mean in terms of school resourcing and is aimed to start a national discussion about how New Zealand schools should be funded.

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