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School Trustees Shocked At Budget Cuts to Education

31 May 2012

School Trustees Shocked At Budget Cuts to Education

School Trustees are shocked and horrified by the Government’s proposed ‘tinkering’ with teacher student ratios. As the ramifications of the funding cuts become apparent, and the realization that the transition period capping is just putting the big cuts off for a couple of years, Boards, parents and communities are starting to voice their concerns, says Chris Toa, Chairperson of Wellington Wairarapa School Trustees Association.

“Commonsense tells you that the bigger the number of children in a class the less individual attention they will receive. How can increasing these ratios improve student achievement? We recognize this is not the only factor that will affect student achievement but it has long been known to play a significant role,” he says.

Legislation states ‘Each board of trustees is required to foster student achievement by providing teaching and learning programmes which incorporate The National Curriculum as expressed in The New Zealand Curriculum 2007 or Te Marautanga o Aotearo’. “Our members are telling us that they cannot do that with grossly diminished resources,” says Mr Toa.

“While the Government has backtracked on its initial decimation of the technology teacher funding which saw some schools losing as many as 8 or 9 teachers, and capping that at 2 for the ‘transition period,’ no reduction in teacher numbers, resulting in higher student to teacher ratios is acceptable.”

“At the end of the ‘transition period’ when those 6 or 7 technology teaching positions are no longer funded (having already lost 2 in 2013) how will the technology component of the curriculum fare?” he said.

New Zealand educators already do an exceptional job. Every year New Zealand students are scored in the top handful of OECD countries educationally, yet we do this with fewer dollars spent per student and more students per teacher than the average OECD country. You can only twist the thumb screws down so far before it gives out completely.”

“Our members who are parents elected by their own communities to ensure the best possible educational outcomes for all students are angry that the Government think so little of today’s students and New Zealand’s future workforce.”

ENDS

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