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National launches campaign to retain bulk funding

National gets time extension for submissions

National launched a nationwide campaign today in partnership with the New Zealand Bulk Funded Schools Association to try and stop the Government disrupting 832 schools and the education of 370,000 students by abolishing bulk funding. Hon Dr Nick Smith and Wyatt Creech launched the campaign at Bayfield School in central Auckland.

"The Government's policy is driven by ideology. Political interests are being put before children's interests. Thousands of children are going to lose out on teacher and support staff time for no good reason.

"The 830 Boards of Trustees who have opted for bulk funding are made up of democratically elected parents and staff. It is an affront to community democracy for the Government to veto their choice. National wants school democracy retained or at the very least, current contracts honoured.

"The irony is that on the same day the government announced the scrapping of bulk funding for schools it announced that it was going to introduce bulk funding to primary health care because it offered more flexibility in meeting family primary health care needs.

"All the research into bulk funding in schools has shown significant benefits to children's education. We challenge Labour to find a single piece of research that shows that children's learning has been negatively affected by bulk funding."

National today succeeded in getting the Education Select Committee to extend the deadline for submissions on the Bill from May 8 to May 22.

"We've been critical that schools have had negligible time over the holiday period to prepare their submissions, and we are pleased that the Select Committee has seen our reason."

"The crux of this issue is, what is the fairest way of funding schools. National believes funding should be based on pupil numbers and that schools should not be short-changed of resources because they have a junior staff profile. The schools that have gained the most from bulk funding have been those in less well off areas," says Dr Smith.

National's campaign involves meetings all over the country with hundreds of school boards and principals. As part of the campaign a pamphlet will be distributed to tens of thousands of parents with children affected by the change, and enable them to appeal to the Government for their children's education not to be disrupted, says Dr Smith.

Ends

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