17 Mar 2014

PPTA wants pledge on decile funding

10:02 am on 17 March 2014

The secondary teachers' union, the PPTA, is calling on the Government to completely rule out any possibility of introducing performance-based funding for schools.

Education Minister Hekia Parata says the current decile funding system is a blunt instrument but won't say whether the Government would change it given a third term.

Hekia Parata.

Hekia Parata. Photo: RNZ

She denies a radical shakeup is on the agenda and says any conversation about change would include teachers and principals.

PPTA resident Angela Roberts told told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme that while it supports a review of funding, teachers would feel more secure knowing that school funding based on student performance is off the table.

"It would be really great if she could say she wasn't going to waste her time even considering models that have proven in more than one jurisdiction to be a complete failure."

Ms Roberts says the PPTA would like funding targeted towards schools that need help.

Ms Parata says her comments have been misunderstood, after The Herald on Sunday earlier reported the minister wants to link schools' funding to their students' progress.

She says the Government has no intention of changing the decile funding system before the election. She says it's not a priority at the moment but wouldn't say when a funding review might be considered.

"When we have completed all the other things that we have on our agenda, right now and it's a very full agenda, and that's what we're giving our attention to."

The Labour and Green parties say Ms Parata has accidentally revealed her eventual plan to introduce performance pay for schools.

Labour's education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says performance funding for schools will only widen the gap between schools.

Chris Hipkins.

Chris Hipkins. Photo: Supplied

Mr Hipkins says Ms Parata's denial that a radical shake-up is on the agenda and her comment that any eventual conversation about change would consider a range of factors and possibilities will come as little comfort to teachers.

"Hekia Parata 's been well and truly caught out. Clearly their agenda for a third term in government is quite a radical one. Immediately after the last election they announced their plan to increase class sizes. I think people will be very, very wary of what their plans might be if they get a third term."