The government’s global funding plans for primary and secondary schools could force class sizes to rise, says TEU national secretary Sharn Riggs.
Riggs says TEU supports the Better Funding campaign that fellow education unions NZEI and PPTA launched this week.
“We know from tertiary education, that when polytechnics with limited money are forced to make choices between having enough teachers and paying for other basic running costs, students lose out.”
“It will be the same in schools,” says Riggs.
The combined union campaign is a response to a government funding review which proposes to introduce bulk funding under the new name of ‘global funding’.
Schools, unlike tertiary institutions, receive two separate sets of funding. The operational grant and other funding covers schools’ running costs while a separate fund pays for teacher salaries.
This means that teacher salaries are not weighed against other costs.
Therefore teachers are paid based on their experience and qualifications rather than competing for their salaries with other costs the schools face.
Unsurprisingly, lower paid teacher aides and school support staff are not funded separately, and on average have much more tenuous employment.
Riggs says bulk funding drives up class sizes and creates an incentive for boards to choose cheaper options rather than better education.
“We support our primary and secondary education colleagues because we already know what bulk funding is like. Bulk funding has failed in the past and it will fail again.”