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Investment in education increases to over $9.7b

Hon Hekia Parata

Minister of Education

16 May 2013

Investment in education increases to over $9.7b

Budget 2013 delivers $901 million in the current year and over the next four years for operating initiatives to lift educational achievement at every level of the system – from early childhood, to primary, to secondary, and into training for work, Education Minister Hekia Parata says.

“We are increasing spending on education – for the fifth Budget in a row. The Government’s total investment increases to over $9.7 billion for the 2013/14 financial year.

“New Zealand’s total education investment sits at 7.2 per cent of GDP – well above the OECD average of 5.8 per cent,’’ Ms Parata says.

In addition to the extra $901 million operating budget in the current year and over the next four years, $144 million has been set aside in contingencies, to be drawn down as decisions are made. This gross new spending of $1.04 billion will be funded through:

• $552 million of new money.

• $296 million from identified savings and other reprioritisation.

• $196 million from contingencies established in previous Budgets.

“Ensuring each and every child gets a good education is the most important thing our Government can do to raise living standards and create a more productive and competitive economy,” Ms Parata says.

“At the moment an average of four out of five young people leave school with the skills they need. Our plan is to get five out of five.

“The Government is continuing to invest in all the areas that contribute to lifting educational achievement for young New Zealanders from the very young to those who are training or retraining for the workforce.’’

Budget 2013 initiatives include:

Early childhood education ($172.5 million of operating funding over four years)

• $80.5 million to help meet Better Public Services target of 98 per cent of children participating in early childhood education (ECE) before attending school (including $56.5 million in contingency funding to be drawn down as needed).

• $41.3 million to support vulnerable children to participate in ECE.

• $38.6 million (2 per cent) cost adjustment to non-salary component of universal ECE subsidies.

• $12.1 million for a service performance fund to provide high intensity intervention in poorly performing ECE services.

Schooling ($215 million of operating funding over four years)

• $79.2 million (1.9 per cent) cost adjustment of schools’ operations grant.

• $63.6 million for the Positive Behaviour for Learning programme to address conduct behaviour in children and young people.

• $37.5 million for the Quality Teaching Programme to make sure teachers are well equipped to support our children to succeed (includes $16.2 million in contingency funding).

• $14.5 million to support Boards of Trustees.

• $2.4 million for Connecting Communities (parents tool kit and engagement).

• $5.9 million for a new mentoring programme to help vulnerable students achieve NCEA Level 2.

• $12 million to support and retain teachers in Māori immersion education.

In addition to these measures, we are providing funding for:

• $92.4 million to Greater Christchurch Education Recovery and Renewal and 21st Century Schools.

• $73.1 million of operating expenditure to support the ongoing maintenance and costs of the school property network.

The package also funds the Government’s decision to not proceed with changes to teacher: student ratios last year. The changes were expected to generate $173.9 million in savings over the four years 2012/13 – 2015/16. Budget 2012 also allocated $59.8 million over four years for teaching quality initiatives which did not proceed, leaving a shortfall of $114.1 million.

This shortfall (which is now $164 million due to the change in Budget period) has been met in Budget 2013 through a combination of new money and reprioritisation within Vote Education.

This year’s Budget package includes a mix of different teaching quality initiatives, including a higher investment in programmes such as Positive Behaviour for Learning.

In addition to this package of operating funding, there is a further $134 million of capital contingency funding for new school property.

“The Government is focused on delivering better public services to New Zealanders within tight financial constraints,’’ Ms Parata says.

“That means more joined-up services and working across government agencies and in partnerships with communities.

“To help us achieve that we have set Better Public Service targets for early childhood education participation and secondary school achievement. We have also set a target at the critical bridge of National Standards.

“We want to see 98 per cent of all school entrants having participated in quality ECE in 2016, and 85 per cent of all 18 year-olds having achieved NCEA Level 2 or an equivalent qualification in 2017.

“At primary and intermediate school level the Government is aiming to get 85 per cent of students at, or above, the National Standards in 2017.

“Budget 2013 builds on this commitment and is about making sure everyone with a role in a child’s education – parents and caregivers, whānau, communities, early childhood services, schools, teachers – are supported in lifting up those who are being left behind, and encouraging those who are doing well to do even better,” Ms Parata says.

“New Zealand has a world-class education system. That hasn’t happened by accident and won’t continue without attention.

“Our education system must deliver for all children. A good education is in all our interests. We don’t have another generation to waste.”

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