Education gets $80m funding boost

By Kate Shuttleworth

Education Minister Hekia Parata.  Photo / Mark Mitchell
Education Minister Hekia Parata. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The Government has announced it will pour extra funding into a school-wide behaviour programme in a bid to raise educational achievement.

Education Minister Hekia Parata announced at Porirua College this morning that $80.5 million of "new" money would be spent on education in Budget 2013.

The most significant spend would be $63.6m over four years toward a school-wide behaviour programme - positive behaviour for learning, known at the PB4L programme.

The funding comes on top of $8l.7m already tagged to be spent on PB4L, bumping the funding up to $145.3m over four years.

The programme, introduced in 2009, currently funds 408 schools to carry out the programme and will be extended to another 200 primary and intermediate schools.

President of the Post Primary Teachers Association Angela Roberts said the minister had heard their call for the programme to be expanded and said it was an example of Ms Parata getting it right.

She said the programme was evidence-based, in comparison to an increase in class size which the minister had to back down on after Budget 2012.

Mrs Roberts said the additional funding would be money well spent.

"This is one way to tackle underachievement," she said.

Principal of Porirua College Susanne Jungersen said the the PB4L programme had raised achievement at the school by seven per cent.

Between 2009 and 2012 stand-down rates at the school have dropped from 61 to 15, and suspensions from 44 students to two.

Mrs Jungersen said one element of the programme included a rewards scheme where "karma credits" were earned for good behaviour and could be spent on items like food at the canteen or even hair straighteners.

Ms Parata told those gathered at the college that schools, parents and the Government played a critical role in raising student achievement.

"It takes a village to raise a child.

"Ensuring each and every child gets a good education is the most important thing our Government can do to raise living standards and create a more productive and competitive economy."

She said the PB4L programme had been so successful some communities like Motueka had seen retail outlets adopt it.

Boards of Trustees will see an additional $14.5m over four years.

Budget 2013 will include:

* $63.6m over four years for positive behaviour for learning.

* $14.5m over four years to support Boards of Trustees.

* $2.4m over four years for connecting communities to help support families to confidently engage with their early childhood services and schools.

- APNZ

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