Thursday May 17 2007
Increased Funding For Education A Step In Right Direction
Funding in the Budget to ensure five year olds have smaller classes when they start school is a step in the right direction, the union representing primary teachers, NZEI Te Riu Roa said today.
NZEI President Irene Cooper described the Budget funding to lower new entrant class ratios to 1:18 -- the first step towards meeting the Government’s pre-election pledge of a 1:15 ratio -- as a sound investment in New Zealand’s future. However, she said it was disappointing that the funding would not be available until Term 2 of next year because it would unnecessarily complicate school planning.
"Teachers know that smaller class sizes in the critical first years at school will pay off in terms of advancing children's learning. We urge the Government to speed up the process of reducing class sizes across the primary years as older children are still in classes of 1:29 or more."
Budget increases of 4 percent – around 1.4 percent over inflation - in schools' operational funding over the next four years were not adequate to meet today’s demands and the expectations the community and Government had of schools.
“This funding can only be a stop gap measure until the Operations Grant Review makes recommendations about more fundamental changes to school funding in October,” she said.
NZEI is pleased that the Government has improved funding to early childhood services opting in to the 20 hours free ECE policy.
“This boost should support services which have already opted in to the scheme and encourage other services to consider it,” Ms Cooper said.