Louise Green

We have long wanted changes to the way education is resourced, to address inequity and to meet the needs of our most vulnerable children. However, the government’s seven proposals would radically change the way schools, kura and centres are “funded”.

In particular, “global funding” would put quality teaching and learning at great risk. There are also concerns with other proposals, such as staffing and cash being generated on a per-child basis.

Global funding is bulk-funding and means teachers and support staff would have to compete with other resources and fixed costs which continue to rise. Our early childhood members and support staff already know just how bulk-funding impacts on their hours, tenure and access to professional time, and how this in turn impacts on children’s learning.

What is needed is better funding to support students who need it most. We need better funding for ECE and to pay our support staff a fair and secure wage.

We must engage now with parents and communities and ensure they understand the serious risks and win their support. Parents trust us to do what’s right so let’s enlist their support, presenting thousands of signatures on our Better Funding postcards and Support Staff petition (betterfunding.org.nz/supportstaff). Look out for the bus tour in the main centres at the start of this term.

In joining with PPTA to stop bulkfunding and win better funding, we’ve made history. We’ve made our communities take notice. Now it’s time for the government to listen to the voice of the profession – 99% of educators aren’t wrong.

Paul Goulter

The paid union meetings held last term were a terrific success. The atmosphere was electric with educators united in their opposition to government plans to reintroduce bulk-funding.

Powerful speeches from the floor showed the commitment educators have to their students. It is because bulk-funding undermines teaching and learning that the mood against it is so focused.

Support from families and communities was also strong – despite the government’s attempt to stir discord in this space. But we have also been around long enough to know that just because there is evidence to show something’s not a good idea that won’t stop some governments from pressing ahead. We have a long way to go.

We expect a decision on bulkfunding from Cabinet in October. At best, because of public opposition, it will be dropped. Or it may not be dropped.

Other proposals on the table, which are likely to go forward, include per student funding and increased funding for private schools. These would increase competition between schools, increase inequality at the expense of vulnerable children, and work against the government’s own stated support for Communities of Learning.

The meetings demonstrated we are Stronger Together. We have alerted the public to the risks and shown the government what united opposition looks like. We must maintain the momentum. Be active, be involved. Keep the conversation going. Follow what’s happening on social media. Attend local meetings. Send the postcard enclosed in this issue of EA.

Let’s ride this wave all the way to Better funding Better learning.