Parata: School funding 'still under discussion'

  • 10/08/2016
Education Minister Hekia Parata
Education Minister Hekia Parata

Education Minister Hekia Parata has told Parliament the proposed new school funding system is still under discussion and she "can't rule anything in or out".

Teachers unions on Monday came out in strong opposition to the proposed system, called global funding, saying it's a back door attempt to bring in "the failed experiment" of bulk funding.

Primary and secondary teachers intend holding paid union meetings next week to consider their response to it.

The Ministry of Education denies it has anything to do with bulk funding and has accused the unions of spreading factually incorrect information about the proposal.

The proposed system is designed to split funding between salaries and the cost of running a school, giving principals more flexibility than they have now about how it's spent.

In Parliament on Wednesday, Ms Parata faced questions from Labour's education spokesman Chris Hipkins.

He wanted to know whether it would be introduced if the unions continue to oppose it.

"We would like to get all stakeholders on board - parents, teachers and unions," Ms Parata said.

"We are still in an advisory group process, including unions. Then it must be taken to cabinet, and I cannot rule anything in or out at this stage of the consultations."

Mr Hipkins asked whether it would mean schools could choose to employ fewer teachers in exchange for more non-teaching funding.

"These are just proposals at this stage," Ms Parata replied.

"Schools make different decisions all the time - the proposal around global budgets is to give them flexibility."

She said it was being developed in a context where there was far more data than had ever been available before about the achievement challenges faced by schools.