Teacher unions have congratulated Education Minister Hekia Parata on her decision to ditch the unpopular global budget funding proposal, which many in the sector viewed as a return to the days of bulk funding for schools.
The Minister announced today that, based on the feedback from the Funding Review Advisory Group and from around 90 consultative meetings with the sector, she felt the sector wasn’t ready for a global budget.
“I have therefore recommended, and Cabinet has agreed, that the global budget proposal not proceed.” says Parata.
The unions say taking bulk funding off the table is a big win for public education and for the thousands of teachers and school support staff who united in unprecedented numbers at more than 50 union meetings around the country in September.
“Now that the distraction of bulk funding has been removed we can begin the real work of developing an equitable funding model that works for every child,” says PPTA president Angela Roberts.
However, NZEI president Louise Green warned that ditching the decile system and replacing it with more targeted funding would not help schools unless the chronic underfunding of education was also addressed.
Parata confirmed the next steps of the funding review today.
The review will look at what funding is needed to deliver a year’s progress in the curriculum for all learners and that needed for each child in early childhood education. It will look at determining the best ways to target funding for disadvantage to learners most at risk of underachievement. It will consider a new funding formula for independent schools and take into account the challenges faced by small and isolated schools. It will also look at potentially changing the arrangements for property maintenance and utilities.
On top of these next steps for the funding review, the Ministry will also aim to “strengthen the line of sight between the investment Government makes in education with the outcomes achieved by children and young people”.
“We will now set up expert technical reference groups to progress the development of the proposals to their next steps,” says Parata. “No final commitments have been made at this stage. I look forward to working closely and constructively with those in the sector who are as eager as I am to have a funding system that is more effective for all children and young people.”