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Wed, 27th May 2015
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The Government announced the Budget 2015 last week, and the Ministry of Education has outlined what it means for the education sector.

Budget 2015 will allocate $442.9 million of operating funding and $243.8 million of capital funding for new initiatives in Vote Education over the next 4 years.

This includes: •    $244 million capital funding and $88.2 operating funding for New schools and Roll Growth Classrooms •    $92.429 million for October Baseline Update 2014 Forecast Changes •    $53.263 million for Education Payroll •    $42.324 million Cost Adjustment for Schools' Operational Grant Funding •    $39.526 million for Ongoing Resourcing Scheme Demand Pressures •    $34.000 million for School Buildings Insurance •    $23.336 million for Additional In-Class Support •    $17.690 million for an Education-Wide Funding System •    $16.601 million for Supporting the Implementation of Youth Guarantee Initiatives •    $10.795 million for Achievement and Investment Management •    $8.638 million for Youth Guarantee Trades Academies (Additional Places) •    $4.850 million for Earthquake Resilience Statutory Requirements •    $4.000 million for Gateway Education Assessments for Vulnerable Children •    3.000 million for School Transport Operational Efficiencies •    $2.206 million for Year 9 Plus (Concept Test) •    $2.000 million for Count Me In

Budget 2015 reprioritises funding from: •    $22.000 million in School Transport Operational Efficiencies •    $12.000 million in Reductions to Network Contingency •    $11.900 million in Reprioritisation of Funding from Early Childhood Education Outcomes-Based Purchase Agreements •    $8.638 million in Trades Academies Savings •    $6.757 million in Reductions to Funding for Teacher Trainee Scholarships •    $4.977 million in Laptops for Teachers Efficiency Gains •    $3.092 million in Reductions to Funding for TeachNZ National Study Awards •    $2.972 million in Positive Behaviour for Learning School-Wide Efficiencies

“The Ministry of Education's purpose is to lift aspiration and raise achievement for every New Zealander,” the organisation says on its website. “A good education benefits individuals, their families, their communities and the country.

The Ministry says too many young New Zealanders are missing out because they come from disadvantaged backgrounds, from homes where material hardship and disadvantage are intergenerational. “Students who leave school with NCEA Level 2 or better are less likely to end up unemployed or in prison and more likely themselves to produce children who enjoy educational success,” it explains.

The Budget 2015 investment of $442.9 million of operating funding and $243.8 million of capital funding will take total spending on primary, secondary and early childhood education in the coming year to $10.8 billion.

Early Childhood Education  “Giving children the best start in life helps break the cycle of disadvantage and material hardship,” the Ministry says. “Good quality early childhood education improves children's learning and achievement, and lifts their chances of success in later life.

In Budget 2015 an extra $74.9 million is being invested over four years in ECE to support more children attending ECE for more hours.

The government is also increasing Childcare Assistance rates for lower-income families from $4.00 per hour to $5.00 per hour from 4 April 2016, at a cost of approximately $104 million over the four years to 2019. The Ministry says around 41,000 families and 49,000 children will benefit from this change each year. Some of New Zealand's lowest earning families and whānau will receive on average an extra $23 a week.

The increase to Childcare Assistance rates will have two main effects, the Ministry says. “First, it will reduce barriers for parents moving off welfare and into work. Second, the higher subsidy will lower the costs of early learning and OSCAR, and provide some financial relief for many lower-income families that already use these services.

Extra $8.2m for Vulnerable Students “Almost 6,000 of New Zealand's most vulnerable students will benefit from an extra $8.2 million operating funding over the next four years for initiatives designed to increase their participation in the education system and lift achievement levels,” the Ministry explains.

The extra investment comprises: •    The Gateway Assessment Programme receives $4 million to ensure up to 3,800 more children get the early childhood and schooling services that they need.  •    The Year 9 Plus trial receives $2.2 million for assigning educational ‘champions' to 80 to 100 of the most vulnerable students. The champions will work with the students as they begin secondary school to see if early intervention increases their chances of passing NCEA Level 2. The champions, drawn from local community groups, will develop education plans with the students. The champions will then work with teachers, parents, whānau and principals until the students finish school. •    The Count Me In programme will receive $2 million over 2015/16 and 2016/17 to assist around 2,000 Māori and Pasifika 16-18 year-olds who have left school to re-engage with education or begin vocational training that leads to a meaningful qualification at NCEA Level 2 or better.

Special Needs The government is investing an extra $62.9 million of operating funding over the next four years to better assist children with special education needs to learn and achieve.

Budget 2015 allocates $39.5 million to provide Ongoing Resource Scheme (ORS) support for about 500 extra students. “This means that around 9,000 children with the highest special education needs will be supported by the scheme,” the Ministry says. “It pays for specialists such as speech-language therapists, psychologists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, and provides additional teacher time and teacher's aide time.

The Budget also includes new spending of $23.3 million for extra in-class teacher's aide support for 1,500 students from Years 1-13, which began in February this year.  “These are students who have special education needs, but who do not qualify for ORS support.

The extra classroom support will assist teachers to personalise students' learning to encourage their participation and achievement.” explains the Ministry.