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Recent news that some schools will be losing ESOL funding due to a change made in the last few weeks by the Ministry means that schools have little time to adapt or ensure there is adequate ESOL funding, National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.

“The changes that have been made by the Ministry appear to mean that all migrants attract the same rate of funding.

“We know that there can be a huge difference in the amount of support that migrants need. For example, some refugee children might need more support compared to other migrants.

“We recognised the need for investment in this area and in Budget 2017 National announced an additional $9.4 million for students learning English as a second language.

“A change to this funding formula will have a huge impact on the distribution of funding for some schools. For the Ministry to have done this when most schools were about to finish for the year is incompetent and careless.

“I am aware that some principals have been trying to clarify exactly what their funding is. It is clear that there are some schools that have large numbers of refugee students who will be worse off.

“If the system is going to change then at least there needs to be a transition period so schools can work out how to deal with the funding shortfalls.

“Between the Ministry and the Minister, they need to resolve this swiftly so that schools can go into the new year not having to worry about potentially fundraising for some of their most vulnerable students.”

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