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NZEI urges government to properly resource any school reform

NZEI Te Riu Roa has urged the government to ensure any reforms to schooling that come out of the Tomorrow's Schools review are properly resourced.

In a white paper released today, NZEI Te Riu Roa National Secretary Paul Goulter says educators strongly agree with the Tomorrow's Schools taskforce’s conclusion that the overall amount of resourcing for schools is not sufficient.

"NZEI Te Riu Roa agrees with much of the taskforce's problem analysis, and we want to be a constructive contributor to these reforms," Mr Goulter says.

"It is definitely time for change in the schooling system, but increased resourcing and increased support for teachers and the wider education workforce must underpin successful reform," he says.

"Additional investment in funding and human resources, including support to leaders, boards, teachers and children - particularly those with additional learning needs - will be fundamental for success. Many failures in the current system result from persistent, chronic under-resourcing and will not be fixed simply by changes to governance and administration."

The taskforce also highlights that Aotearoa does not do enough to allocate funding equitably, with only 3% of resourcing allocated on the basis of disadvantage. The taskforce notes that "comparable international jurisdictions allocate around 6%."

NZEI Te Riu Roa has also recommended that the government slow down the process of schooling reform to allow people to genuinely engage with and help shape the changes.

"The taskforce's recommendations would represent the biggest reform of the education system in a generation, so it’s crucial the government thoroughly engage the entire sector in the process. We think that requires a slow down," says Mr Goulter.

The white paper also argues that the proposed reforms have missed an opportunity by failing to align with the draft 10 year plan for early childhood education.

NZEI Te Riu Roa makes a number of other recommendations, including that the Government be transparent about the increased and additional resourcing that will support any transition and new structures in advance of the change process, particularly in terms of the disparity between primary and secondary school resourcing.

Change in the system is more likely to be embraced if it is road-tested first, and NZEI Te Riu Roa recommends that – if hubs are to proceed – the Government consider pilot projects in a small number of areas to road-test the concept, and include both ECE services and schools in the design.

Download a copy of the whitepaper here.

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