An independent report, commissioned by the Government, highlights the serious concerns principals and teachers have about current levels of funding and illustrates just how damaging the Government’s decision to freeze schools’ operational budgets will be, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.
“It comes on the back of a proposal for a radical overhaul of the education funding system, including a return to bulk funding, putting schools under pressure to increase class sizes to make up the shortfalls in operational budgets.
“As one principal puts it: “We could only afford to run a very basic curriculum [on what we receive from the government] …we couldn’t afford trips, or extracurricular activities, teacher aides, sitting in classrooms with books, not much IT.”
“We know that education costs to parents are increasing at 10 times the rate of inflation, and that the rising cost of schooling is a major concern for most parents, yet indications are that parents will be expected to pick up even more of the tab.
“The report also highlights the reliance on international students to plug funding gaps, insufficient investment on school property and difficulties accessing special education, with one principal pointing out the funding associated with the Government’s policy to mainstream special students is ‘nowhere near enough’.
“Education is about enabling every student to meet their full potential. A properly resourced quality public education system is at the heart of that.
“If we want our schools to function as they should – offering every child the best possible learning environment – then we need to invest in them, not experiment with them,” Chris Hipkins says.