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Budget A Mixed Bag for Schools say Principals

Media Release 16 May 2013

Budget A Mixed Bag for Schools say Principals

‘The Education budget announced this afternoon is a mixed bag peppered with a lot of contradictions,’ said Paul Drummond, Immediate Past President of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF).

‘We welcome the increase in the operations grant of $79.2 million over four years. The current funding levels are insufficient to meet the costs of delivering a world class curriculum for every child,’ said Drummond. ‘We also welcome the Government’s recognition of the growing number of children with behaviour problems by increasing funding for the Positive Behaviour for Learning programme,’ he said.

‘We applaud having extra funding for the support and retention of Māori immersion teachers, given that 70 percent currently leave in their first three years of teaching. However it is disappointing that there is no new money to address supporting teachers to provide culturally appropriate programmes in mainstream schools, which is where over 90 percent of Māori children are educated,’ he said.

A contingency fund of $19 million is allocated for establishing charter schools, but budget papers demonstrate confusion about who and what charter schools are for. On the one hand documents say [they] ‘…have a particular focus on the Government’s priority groups of Maori, Pasifika, children from low socio-economic backgrounds and children with special needs.’ On the other hand [they] ‘…will be open to all students who apply for entry, regardless of background or ability.’

‘These conflicting statements just add to the many established reasons why we should not be investing in charter schools in New Zealand which have the potential to threaten the world class system that is successfully serving 86 percent of Kiwi kids,’ said Drummond.

‘The money would be much better spent on addressing the real reasons that14 percent of kids do not succeed in education,’ he said. ‘That would mean addressing issues of poverty and inequality and on those two issues, the budget is disappointingly silent,’ he said.


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