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Most principals say their college is underfunded

The Government must substantially increase funding for secondary schools in next week’s Budget after a new survey found 86 per cent of principals consider their college under-resourced, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Just 14 per cent of secondary principals told the New Zealand Council for Educational Research their schools had sufficient funding. And 51 per cent said funding was a major issue.

“This result is unsurprising when the Government cut per student funding by $150 in the past year. It comes as schools are being forced to turn to overseas investors to help them meet basic costs.

“Schools are increasingly relying on non-governmental funding to even cover extra staff. This is a damning indictment on the Government when our law provides for a free education for all.

“There is also mounting pressure on schools to help students whose parents can’t afford laptops or tablets under Bring Your Own Devices policies. Labour revealed this week that Education Minister Hekia Parata was warned that a ‘digital divide’ is growing within schools, yet she rejected recommendations to establish an equity scheme so all kids can access the electronic devices they need.

“The survey also found that National’s obsession with assessments and targets is putting pressure on staff and jeopardising the quality of the curriculum. Of the teachers surveyed, 77 per cent are under pressure to improve students’ NCEA results and 51 per cent said the NCEA assessment had narrowed the curriculum for their students.

“Parents are having to fork out more and more for their kid’s supposedly free education. It’s time the Government showed it still believes all students are entitled to a quality public education,” Chris Hipkins says.