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Education Budget a major disappointment for educators

17 May 2018

Today’s Education Budget has left educators disappointed that issues of chronic underfunding have not been addressed.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart said the new spending failed to deliver more than a minimal patch up on the foundations of education that have been neglected for the past decade.

"There's little point in spending hundreds of millions on new schools and buildings if we haven't even got the groundwork in place to ensure we have enough teachers to fill them," she said.

“The extra $370m for new teacher training places is putting the cart before the horse when enrolments for initial teacher training have fallen off the cliff in recent years. There is nothing in this budget that will make teaching a more appealing career choice and turn the growing teacher shortage around,” she said.

“The budget reflected hardly any of the needs we identified to rebuild the foundations of education, and there was no sign of the return to funding early childhood centres with 100% qualified staff that this government has been talking up for some time,” she said.

"The extra 1.6% in operational funding for ECE services is the first in 10 years, but ECE needed a lot more attention after so many years of underfunding by the previous government. Funding levels are still unsustainable in that sector.

“This was not the budget we expected from a Labour-led Government that has long shown they understand the dire need to improve funding in every area of education.

“School operations funding needed to increase by 4% just to ensure real per-student funding kept up with the average annual increase as the Labour Cost Index-Education over the past 10 years, but it was a measly 1.6%,” she said.

There was no obvious contingency in the budget for the significant teacher and principal pay rise that is needed, but officials in the lockup said money would be available.

The additional $273m for learning support is welcomed, although it is inadequate compared to the $444m that Infometrics calculated was needed allow another 2% of children to access the high-needs Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS). About 3% of children need ORS, but there is currently only enough funding for 1%.
ENDS

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