It’s time to fund New Zealand’s education system properly

We think New Zealand’s kids deserve the best education in the world. But that can only happen if it’s funded properly.

The Early Childhood Education sector has faced an effective freeze in funding since 2010.  Government funding has not kept pace with increased participation in ECE.  This has caused a severe funding squeeze that’s led to sharp increases to parent fees in some places, a deterioration of child to teacher ratios, and increasing reliance on unqualified staff.

The Government has also frozen the operations grant to schools in 2017 and the slight increase for 2018 will barely cover population growth. This is bad news for teacher aides and other support staff – and the children they support.   Support staff wages – often little more than the minimum wage – are bulk funded through the operations grant.  When schools are under pressure to pay for essentials like power, water and property maintenance, they have to trade-off support staff hours. 

It’s time support staff got a fair pay increase, but unless the Government unfreezes school funding, any pay increase will mean support staff hours face having their hours cut.

Principals have already told us that they’ll have to make some concerning cuts for 2017. They just can’t keep asking parents to make up the shortfall.

We kicked off this campaign last year by stopping bulk funding for primary teachers. The next step is to provide better funding: increase public funding for schools, and restore funding for ECE.

New Zealand can afford to provide quality education. That’s why we’re asking the Government to commit to better funding, for better learning.