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Cuts to ACE funding hurt those who need it most

Media Release
14 September 2009

Cuts to ACE funding hurt those who need it most

Cuts to adult community education (ACE) funding will harm the very people Anne Tolley insists she wants to help, PPTA president Kate Gainsford says.

“It’s the communities in greatest need that will be losing out because their schools won’t be able to afford to run ACE courses – many of which have the literacy and numeracy content Tolley is so determined to promote.”

An informal survey shows at least 25% of schools currently offering adult ACE courses will be calling it quits, thanks to an 80% cut in their government funding – but Gainsford fears the final numbers will be much higher.

If the $16 million funding cut goes ahead only three out of 11 Wellington schools currently offering ACE programmes will continue to do so. In Dunedin it is likely there will be no night classes at all.

“Anne Tolley suggests night classes can continue on a user pays basis.
The unintended consequence of this is playing out now; with upper decile schools in wealthy areas planning to continue courses on a user pays basis and other schools folding.

“The less wealthy schools will be left to compete for the leftovers of the $3million government pool. This will be a disaster for those who use night classes as an affordable way to gain the skills and confidence to staircase into employment,” she said.

“It is clear that this was a hasty budget decision and a slash and burn exercise, with no consultation. Politically the decision is confrontational, financially it’s ill-advised and educationally it’s unsound,” she said.


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