Over 99 per cent of NZEI Te Riu Roa and PPTA members voted against the Government’s global budget proposal, following the combined union meetings held across New Zealand this month.
The unions claim the proposal – one of seven emerging from early stages of the Ministry of Education’s funding review – is effectively a return to the failed bulk funding experiment of the 1990s and could result in fewer teachers and larger class sizes, to the detriment of children’s education.
“This funding proposal has created unprecedented concern – and unity – across the education sector,” said NZEI president, Louise Green. “Educators see no benefits but great risks to education if global funding is to go ahead.”
PPTA president Angela Roberts said the Government should take bulk funding off the table and instead engage with the sector over better ways to address inequity and chronic under-funding of the system.
However, Acting Education Minister Anne Tolley says the funding review is “absolutely about better funding”.
She says discussions on the funding review remain at a very early stage.
“No policy has been developed yet and nothing has been decided. More funding has not been ruled out.”
“It’s about putting the achievement of our children and young people at the heart of the funding system. Ensuring the record $11.04 billion this Government is putting in to education this year is being spent in the best possible way for every Kiwi kid to achieve.”
Tolley says both union presidents have been involved in funding review discussions from a very early point and their views on the seven proposals were included in the report that the Education Minister received from the Funding Advisory Group earlier this month. The Group agreed that six proposals should progress for further development.
Their feedback, alongside the views of teachers and principals that were gathered by the Ministry of Education will be taken into account when Minister Parata reports to Cabinet later this year. The Cabinet will then decide how to progress.
Meanwhile the unions intend to continue their campaign for ‘Better Funding, Better Learning’ with a roadshow starting in Term 4. They also intend to enlist the support of the public, by asking them to sign postcards to the Minister of Education, rejecting bulk funding and calling for better funding of education.