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National Wins Decile Formula Inquiry

National's Education spokesperson Gerry Brownlee is on a mission to make the school funding formula more fair and he's delighted the Education and Science Select Committee have today agreed to a preliminary inquiry into decile funding.

After considering information about the way operations grants are amassed using the decile funding system, the committee will decide whether to expand the inquiry to a full investigation of the decile system.

"Every time I visit higher decile schools I get an earful from principals about the inequity of decile funding. The decile system simply isn't fair.

"An analysis based on 1998 funding shows that even after fundraising is taken into account, a decile ten primary school is $550 per pupil worse off than a decile one school. The problem is even worse at secondary level where a decile one school is $1,100 per pupil better off than a decile ten school.

"This analysis debunks the theory that schools in high decile areas are able to raise enough local funds to make up for the shortfall. The other argument for the decile formula is that pupils from low decile schools are more likely to have learning difficulties than their counterparts across town.

"But pupils with behaviour and learning difficulties attend schools of all deciles. A school's decile rating also determines the level of additional targeted funding for these pupils. Higher decile schools have to resort to funding extra help for these pupils from funds that should be going into classroom learning.

"This preliminary inquiry is an important step to making school funding fair but we must ensure that it does not develop into class warfare. At the end of the day it's the quality of education that is delivered to every young New Zealander, regardless of where they live, that's most important. I want to ensure that every school has the resources to deliver the best learning environment for their pupils," Mr Brownlee said.

The committee will investigate the difference between mesh block income information, on which a schools decile is based, and the comparable parental/family income for pupils at a school.

Ends


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