Policies on Independent Schooling
July 27 2005
POLITICAL PARTIES - Policies on Independent Schooling
Independent Schools of New Zealand has published this document to assist families associated with independent or private schools in the lead-up to the 2005 general election. The following policy bullet points have been provided by each political party.
ACT NEW ZEALAND
ACT’s vision is for New Zealand to be a world-leader in educational excellence. ACT would devolve all resources and decision-making as much as possible to local communities. At the same time, we would focus Government on its core roles of governance and ensuring accountability. ACT’s goals: Fair and open access to education for all. Empowerment of local communities to respond to their educational needs. High standards in the teaching profession. Choice for all parents and students. Internationally-recognised qualifications.
Expand the Parents as First Teachers programme in conjunction with the home-carers policy for under five year olds. Implement education vouchers to give parents more choice over where and how their children are educated. Vouchers could be redeemed at a state, integrated or independent school. Increase support available for home-schooling including raising the resource allowance to $1,000 pa for the first child and $750 pa for each subsequent child.
Ensure that Essential Skills are retained as part of the NZ Curriculum framework and support the freedom of schools to develop and implement their own curricula. Review the NCEA system to free teachers from unnecessary paperwork and ensure greater consistency in assessment standards. Encourage community sponsorship of schools by making donations from individuals and companies to public or independent schools fully tax deductible.
Implement a ‘character’-based education programme which includes an abstinence programme as an entry point to sex education. Provide flexible funding for parental school choice so that funding follows the child. Ensure students can attend their local schools but provide flexibility for parental choice. Review NCEA with a view to achieve definitive examination results that are understood by the student, parents and potential employers.
Review the current annual rates for home schooling grants, with a view to increasing the annual amount to an adequate level also. Assist/resource parents with access to educational resources that support parents who have chosen to home school. Recognise the value of quality teachers and plan to remunerate them accordingly.
The Maori Party policy was unavailable at time of going to print but will be published in the next edition of the ISNZ newsletter and available on the ISNZ website www.isnz.org.nz
NEW ZEALAND FIRST
Would immediately lift the current level of funding to reflect the real value, i.e. inflation adjusted. Would reconsider the current level of funding to reflect the NZIER 2003 research. Would ensure independent schools had equal access to support services as state and state integrated schools. Would ensure that a level playing field exists between not-for-profit independent schools and state and state integrated schools in relation to local body charges.
NEW ZEALAND LABOUR
Will continue with their 1999 election policy of providing a state grant to independent schools capped at the 2000 level of $40.179m, with the per capita amount reducing if independent school rolls increase. Will support integration where the provision of an additional state school would provide education in a community experiencing roll growth, with the Minister of Education retaining discretion over whether a private school can integrate. Will support school zoning to give children the right to attend their local school.
Believes the intent of Tomorrow's Schools was to give parents more rights, not to relieve the Government of its responsibilities in education. Labour believes the Government has responsibility for governance over the network of schools and to set minimum standards while supporting initiatives to encourage innovation and high levels of achievement.
NEW ZEALAND NATIONAL
Will lift the $40m cap on government grants to independent schools, restoring the per capita grant to the 2000 level. Values the contribution made by independent schools. The continual reduction in per capita grant by the Labour-led Government has been ideologically driven rather than child-focused.
Does not believe in discriminating against providers of education services simply because they are not Government-controlled. Will develop a new flexible approach to school governance including the option of becoming a "Trust School". Will apply the new self-management funding model to all schools - no school will lose funding with the change.
Has the ultimate goal of free publicly-funded early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary education in recognition that education is an investment in a productive, healthy society for all. Recognises the right of parents to provide for the education of their children outside a free publicly-funded sector, and at tertiary level, for example, supports private courses where the qualification is in the public interest but unavailable through public institutions.
THE GREEN PARTY
The Green Party supports a cooperative approach to developing Aotearoa New Zealand's education policy and believes that independent schools need to be consulted as stakeholders in developing future directions in the education system. We support a free quality public education system and would increase the operations grant to state and integrated schools. We would review the state funding model of private schools to ensure consistency with Green Party principles. We want a robust public system that can ensure diverse and culturally-appropriate educational options are available.
Where the public system cannot provide appropriate diversity we will support schools that can cater for special interest groups as long as they are able to deliver the core curriculum, maintain high teaching standards and are open to all students where appropriate. We oppose bulk funding because of its capacity for huge differences in staffing provision based on individual school’s fundraising ability. We oppose "self-management" and Trust schools, as this is effectively a means to privatise the schooling system. The Greens will ensure that school enrolment polices are such that all children are able to attend their local school.
Believes that education should not be a state monopoly. It is the prerogative of parents to decide where their children should be educated. Opposes the present capped fund for independent schools, as it does not recognise the trend of growing enrolment numbers. Will increase support for private schools by moving to a per-student subsidy, in return for disclosure of the taxpayer-funded component of fees by schools. Will review the current zoning arrangements to ensure right of access to local schools without limiting access to other schools.
United Future will ease the pressure created by school zoning by allowing popular schools to expand the number of out-of-zone enrolments by ballot. However, this decision must be left up to the school, and many of those schools may choose to contain the size of their school to ensure that the quality of education is maintained.
Give schools the option of being direct-funded (rather than making it compulsory), whereby they can choose to receive the funding entitlement for teachers as part of their overall operations grant, giving them the flexibility to decide how they deliver the curriculum.