Teachers hail report advising against global funding

Hekia Parata (Getty)
Hekia Parata (Getty)

Teachers' unions have seized on a report that criticises the Government's plan to introduce a funding scheme that's been met with fierce opposition.

The Education System Funding Review report, put together by the Funding Advisory Group, gave six of the Government's proposals a cautious thumbs-up - but not the 'global budget', which the NZEI and PPTA both say is bulk funding in disguise.

"What we want to happen is the Government on the face of that to just drop that proposal entirely, and enable the sector to move on and focus on other elements of the funding review," says NZEI national secretary Paul Goulter.

Under global funding, principals will get to decide how to divvy up their school's annual allocation on teachers' salaries, operational costs and other expenses.

It differs from the old bulk funding model in that the schools won't pay teachers directly. Instead, they'll choose how much of their allocation will be cash, and how much will be 'staffing credits'. Unused credit each year will be paid back to the school in cash, by the Ministry of Education.

The PPTA and NZEI have joined forces to protest the proposal, with more than 60,000 members going on strike at different times in September.

The other six proposals, which the Funding Advisory Group said were worth looking into, are:

But Mr Goulter says teachers have concerns about some of these ideas too.

"The content is based around a per child funding amount, and we're very suspicious around that because it in fact can and probably would lead to increased competition between schools for children."

He says Minister of Education Hekia Parata should be worrying less about revamping the education system's funding and more about other problems facing schools.

"We're trying to deal with the equity issues of growing poverty in this country, and how we can ensure the children exposed to those things have an equal chance to succeed."

Mr Goulter says the possibility of private schools receiving more funding also raises concern.

Ms Parata says she wasn't surprised by the report.

"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."