Every budget National trumpets putting more money into health and education. But the amount doesn’t keep up with population growth and inflation, so it amounts to cuts in real terms. Cuts have consequences:
Secondary schools to slash spending
Financially strapped secondary schools are cutting back on classroom activities, dropping field trips, ditching science experiments and even removing courses after a crackdown on parent donation rules.
A New Zealand Secondary Principals’ Council survey into funding guidelines set by the Ministry of Education in 2013 has revealed:
• Nearly two-thirds of high schools report a reduction in school finances
• NCEA assessments have been affected
• Students now go on “in-school” field trips
• Pupils are not as “engaged” in scaled-back activities and
• Some principals have “chosen” to ignore funding guidelines.
In one case a secondary school had to abandon an NCEA Level 2 biology field trip to the beach because it could not afford to hire a bus. The science teacher had to apply to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority to alter the data collection assessment so the students would not fail. Another school was forced to alter its science curriculum by reducing experiments to trim costs. One school said it had done away with activities outside the school gates, including a sea kayaking standard for year 12 physical education students. Principals reported outdoor education programmes, food, hospitality and technology courses could be affected by the funding guidelines.
The article focuses on limitations on school donations as the trigger, but that’s just a smokescreen for the underlying issue – schools are not adequately funded for the job we ask them to do. Not that that bothers folk who send their kids to private schools I guess.
Update: Coincidentally – today’s Doonesbury…