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Resourcing Failing Isolated Rural Schools

WEST COAST FEDERATED FARMERS Resourcing Failing Isolated Rural Schools

A damning report highlights the problem of inadequate resourcing for isolated schools, says Basil Meyer, President of the West Coast Province of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

The Education Review Office (ERO) report released today on West Coast schools shows that the decile funding system is flawed for rural communities, and there is not enough support for isolated rural schools, Mr Meyer said.

"The system of decile funding does not recognise the real socio economic status of rural communities," Mr Meyer said.

Many West Coast schools are rural, and some are very remote. They have the lowest level of school leaving qualification in New Zealand. In addition, the West Coast has the highest rate of student stand-downs and suspensions, the ERO report said.

"Obviously there is a problem. The ERO report is clear that funding must be increased to recognise the specific needs of isolated rural communities," Mr Meyer said.

"It has also highlighted the lack of support for early childhood education in rural areas, and the importance of recognising that private providers are the only option in some rural areas."

The report -- which is a year old -- adds to evidence supporting an already-announced government review of decile funding.

"West Coast Federated Farmers welcomes the review, which will hopefully lead to better resources for children at isolated schools."

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