Govt advised against global funding for schools

Govt advised against global funding for schools

A proposed major shake-up to the way state schools are funded has been given the thumbs down by a government-appointed advisory group. 

The proposal would see a move away from a combination of set staff funding and separate operational cash to a single dollar sum which schools can spend as they wish. 

Essentially, each principal would decide how to split the money between staff salaries and operational costs. 

Teachers feared this would lead to increased class sizes as principals would have the flexibility to move staff funding into other areas. 

And the Funding Advisory Group agrees say in its report that it'd be too costly and risky. 

"Schooling sector representatives of the Advisory Group do not support the introduction of global funding for state and state-integrated schools and consider any potential benefits are outweighed by the costs and risks of implementation."

However some of the group did note that with tweaks the plan could work and alternatives couldn't be ruled out in future.  

"If the risks around loss of clarity around staffing entitlement could be addressed in the global budget, there may be merit in exploring an alternative." 

The Advisory Group was made up of 18 education leaders, including the heads of the two big teachers unions, the New Zealand Educational Institute and the Post Primary Teachers Association. 

It has supported other funding proposals such as the "per-child" approach to funding and extra funding for those most at risk of underachievement. 

"The insight from staff right on the frontline of education is invaluable," says Education Minister Hekia Parata. "I want to make sure that we take the time to get these vitally important decisions right. That is why our timeline for implementation at the earliest would be 2019."