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More-even funding, better results report shows how

More-even funding, better results - new report shows how

The Independent Schools of New Zealand (ISNZ) report advocating funding all schools - irrespective of who owns them - at the same per-student level, is a strong pointer for successful policy in the future, according to Education Forum policy advisor Norman LaRocque.

The ISNZ report, released today, shows that raising the subsidy rate to independent schools is likely to reduce the government's schooling costs and improve overall school performance. It says the subsidy could go up by 50 percent and still be cost efficient.

"Current school funding policy stands out as totally anachronistic. The early childhood and tertiary sectors get much more evenly-balanced funding and as a result have far more diversity and better access to quality education," Mr LaRocque said.

"This report signals a possible brave new direction for New Zealand and it's one that has been successfully tried and tested in a wide range of countries, including Sweden and the Netherlands." The policy direction in the report would help improve education outcomes both generally and for groups such as Maori, Pacific and low-income students - those most adversely affected by recent reforms such as the tightening of enrolment scheme legislation, said Mr LaRocque.

"Since the Tomorrow's Schools reforms, New Zealand families have shown that they value choice in education - independent school enrolments are up and waiting lists at integrated schools are growing. "We are seeing a convergence of views from many corners of the political spectrum on the need to move to more even-handed funding and greater competition. Self-interested opponents such as teacher union leaders are increasingly being painted into a one-size-fits-all corner, which they may soon find themselves alone in."

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