More than 400 Tauranga parents, teachers and principals have sent "postcards" to the Minister of Education demanding more funding for early childcare education and schools.

This week a van carrying representatives of the PPTA and NZEI, visited the region to promote the campaign and pressure the Government ahead of next week's Budget announcement.

The premise of the campaign was simple: Better funding in schools meant better learning.

"Schools want to be able to offer support and learning for children with varying needs, but their hands are tied, there is only so much they can do with funding," July McLean, field officer aboard the van, said.


The focus was on thawing the funding freeze on Early Childcare Education, giving them enough to fund at least 80 per cent trained staff and on more operational grant funding for schools so they could keep or employ more teacher aides.

The response of Tauranga parents, teachers and community was "fantastic", she said.

Ms McLean said a lot of teachers' workloads today was around addressing the learning issues of different children's abilities as the number or hours of teacher aides had to be cut because of lack of funding.

Fairhaven Primary School principal and NZEI Principals Council member Paul Hunt said schools' budgets were stretched to breaking point.

Mr Hunt hoped the Budget would include an increase in funding to help children with special or behavioural needs and more money for early childcare to employ more qualified teachers, not just the Government's target of 50 per cent.

Te Akau ki Papamoa School principal Bruce Jepsen said teacher aides were highly valued, but funding did not reflect that.

"When I ask the teachers about what single resource they value the most in the classroom, it's the people, and they've identified those people as learning support staff."

Mr Jepsen said he hoped the Ministry of Education would take notice of the campaign and increase funding.


Minister of Education Nikki Kaye said this financial year the Government had put $11 billion into education - the highest ever investment in public education.

Minister Kaye told the Bay of Plenty Times pre-budget announcements showed they were listening to those on the frontline of the education system.

In early May it was announced the Budget would provide $34.7 million to expand services for children with severe behavioural difficulties, focusing on those aged 8 and under, and $6 million over four years to support 3 and 4-year-olds with oral language difficulties.

Yesterday she announced $5.2 million would go to expand the Teach First NZ programme to train an extra 90 teachers.

"I hope to have more good news for the education sector come May 25," she said.

Better Funding Better Learning
The tour, a joint campaign run by PPTA and NZEI, was visiting towns and cities around the country getting their message out just in time for Budget 2017 and the general election in September.
The van visited Tauranga on Monday and Te Puke on Tuesday before heading to the wider Bay of Plenty for the rest of the week