Budget 2012 will deliver funding that is firmly focused on raising student achievement, says Education Minister Hekia Parata.
?We are increasing the overall spending on education ? for the fourth Budget in a row. This is happening despite tight fiscal times, against a backdrop of a recent global financial crisis, and the Canterbury earthquakes. This reflects the priority National places on education.??
The Government will invest an extra $511.9 million towards new initiatives over the next four years. This takes the Government?s total investment in early childhood education and schooling to $9.6 billion for 2012/13.
?We have an education system that is amongst the best in the world. Four out of five kids are successfully getting the qualifications they need from school and we must celebrate their success and the professionals in the education system who make that possible every day.
?But our education plan is about getting five out of five.?
Evidence shows the single most important thing we can do to raise achievement is to improve teaching quality.
?In Budget 2012 we are not investing in more teachers we are investing in better teaching,?? says Ms Parata.
?We will invest an extra $60 million over the next four years to boost new teacher recruitment and training.
?This money is in addition to the $304 million we are spending on professional learning and development for teachers in primary and secondary education over the next four years.
?By making this additional investment in quality teaching, we will ensure that initial teacher education is improved and stronger mentoring and coaching is provided.
?A post-graduate qualification will be introduced as a minimum for all trainee teachers, and schools leadership will be improved through the introduction of a new pre-principalship qualification.
?We want to create a flexible, skilled, culturally intelligent and professional workforce through these initiatives to support the development of teachers and principals.??
To raise teaching quality we have to identify who is delivering successful practice and make that common practice, says Ms Parata.
?We will collaborate in the development of an appraisal system focusing on driving up quality teaching and quality professional leadership. Performance pay is but one of a basket of options to reward and recognise that.??
Ms Parata says given the current economic climate in order to invest in quality teaching, the Government has had to make some trade-offs.
?We will be making a small change to teacher/student ratios in the mid-years of a child?s education.
?These ratios are a funding formula ? they are how we as a Government fund schools. The actual number of children in a classroom is set by the school.??
Ratios will remain as they are for new entrants at 1:15, and for students sitting NCEA in years 11-13, will be standardised at 1:17.3
In the middle years, 2-10, there is currently a wide range of ratios, ranging from 1:23 to 1:29. To give schools certainty about how they manage their resources, we will standardise this ratio to 1:27.5.
These changes will free up just over $43 million, on average, in each year over the next four years, which will be reinvested back into education.
?About 90 per cent of schools will either gain, or have a net loss of less than one Full Time Teacher Equivalent (FTTEs) as a result of the combined effect of the ratio changes and projected roll growth. These changes will take effect over the next five years.
?These more consistent ratios will give schools greater certainty over their resourcing from year to year.??
Education is critical to building both our social and cultural strength and the productivity and growth of our economy, says Ms Parata.
?We want to ensure a world leading system that equips all New Zealanders with the knowledge, skills and values to be successful in the 21st century.
?The actions we have taken to date and the ones we plan for this term in Government will enable us to raise achievement for all our learners.?
Further details of new investments in education will be announced in the Budget.