NZEI president Louise Green and PPTA president Angela Roberts say taking bulk funding off the table is a big win for public education and the thousands of teachers and school support staff who united in unprecedented numbers at more than 50 union meetings around the country in September.
Ms Roberts says parents and educators had rejected bulk funding because they realised it was a cost cutting tool that would force schools to make trade-offs between hiring teachers and other costs. Thousands of parents signed postcards to the minister calling for better funding, not bulk funding during a national roadshow organised by the two unions.
Ms Roberts says the win is good news for learners, as bulk funding led to fewer teachers, larger class sizes and narrower subject choices for students. She says the two unions welcomed the opportunity to now focus on how funding could be used to improve equity.
“Not that the distraction of bulk funding has been removed, we can begin the real work of developing an equitable funding model that works for every child.”
However, Ms Green warned that ditching the decile system and replacing it with more targeted funding would not help schools unless the chronic under-funding of education was also addressed.
“We call on the government to take the next step, to increase school funding and restore funding to early childhood services, which has been frozen for six years,” she says.