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Budget 2024 Is Effectively A Frontline Funding Cut For Schools

Education union NZEI Te Riu Roa says that Budget 2024 is effectively a cut in frontline funding for schools, with no new initiatives for children needing learning support and a funding cut for teacher aides.

The operations grant, the funding that pays for teacher aides and other support staff, as well as the running of schools, is being increased by just 2.5%, while inflation sits at 4%.

Liam Rutherford, NZEI Te Riu Roa national executive member and teacher, says it’s children in classrooms needing additional learning support that will miss out.

“This is effectively a cut in frontline funding. Principals will not be able to provide additional teacher aides to their staffing, or any other support staff. Our teachers, principals and whānau have been crying out for dedicated support for ākonga for a long time. More teacher aides and learning support specialists are a proven way to support students to learn and teachers to teach in one hit. We have a learning support system that is severely under resourced; once again, children are missing out.”

“Every year we’re being asked to run schools off the smell of an oily rag. Meanwhile, the Government's ineffective charter school scheme has diverted $153 million, which as we’ve said, would pay for a further 700 full time teacher aides making a huge difference in the classroom for ākonga and their teachers.”

“The Budget is where we see the Government’s true values, and from what we see today, we can say that the National-led Government’s obsession with tax cuts means that education will suffer."

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Mr Rutherford said that it was disappointing to see no dedicated spending on Māori education initiatives, alongside cuts to programmes for students in Māori medium.

“For example, the Mauri Tū Mauri Ora programme was run from 2019 to 2023 has not been renewed under this Government. The programme provided for specific and tailored intervention for ākonga in Kaupapa Māori and Māori Medium settings, who had been identified as not achieving at the expected Te Reo Matatini (literacy) and (pāngarau) levels for Te Tīrewa Marautanga o Aotearoa. There is now a huge gap in provision, from a Government that is literacy and numeracy focused.”

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