The New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) has welcomed Budget 2021, citing increased support in student wellbeing and learning support as highlights.
NZSTA President Lorraine Kerr says, while Budget 2021 is not going to resolve all the issues school boards are facing, ‘it will go a long way towards creating a climate where schools can return to focusing on success rather than just survival’.
“School boards around the country will be gratified to know that many more of their students are having their basic needs for food, shelter and clothing met by the time Budget 2021 initiatives are implemented. The increased support for student wellbeing and learning support will also be welcomed.”
Kerr highlighted initial funding for the implementation phase of the ‘Tomorrow’s Schools’ to provide more comprehensive and targeted front line support to schools through the proposed Education Service Agency (ESA) comes with a view to create “a more networked and supported system that is more responsive to the needs of learners/ākonga and their whānau” and said this is of particular interest to school boards.
When lifting the bar for the schooling system as a whole, it is important that support for school boards keeps pace with the changes being made elsewhere in the system, Kerr says. Adding that the NZSTA looks forward to seeing how this plays out as the Education Service Agency takes shape.
“School boards are the glue that holds the system together,” says Kerr. “NZSTA will continue to work constructively with the Ministry of Education to ensure that these changes deliver identifiable benefits to school boards in their governing role.”
The NZSTA statement also said funding to progress pay equity and Holidays Act remediation ‘is more welcome news for school boards in terms of their good employer obligations’ and the association would be ‘checking in with officials to confirm that this funding covers both Ministry-funded and board-funded positions’.
Kerr added, “NZSTA also acknowledges the cost adjustment for schools’ operating grant funding. While this is a small incremental amount year on year, it is essential to maintain the baseline of services that schools provide.”