National MP for East Coast Bays Erica Stanford is calling on Education Minister Chris Hipkins to work with National and revive her Member’s Bill to replace the decile system with a fairer school funding model.
“My Education (Social Investment Funding and Abolition of Decile System) Amendment Bill would have brought an equity index into effect by 2019 but was voted down earlier this year.
“It looks like Minister Hipkins intends to replace the decile system with an equity index model because the Census data the decile system depends on is delayed and unreliable. I’m heartened that the Minister will continue the work started by National when it was in Government.
“National announced it would scrap the decile system prior to the 2017 election, in favour of an equity index which would more accurately target funding to disadvantaged students.
“The Tomorrow’s Schools Taskforce also recently recommended adopting an equity index. National has done the work and prepared the policy, and my bill further enhanced the policy by addressing complex data and privacy issues.
“This is too important an issue for playing politics. National would support and work with the Minister to reintroduce my Member’s Bill this week so it can pass its first reading and go to a select committee over summer for closer scrutiny.
“I hope we can work together and get on with replacing the decile system with a smarter, more targeted and effective model that will deliver funding to our most disadvantaged students, to give them a better chance at educational success.”
Education Minister Chris Hipkins has refused to meet with Erica Stanford to discuss her Member’s Bill to replace the decile system with a needs index to more accurately target funding to disadvantaged students.
“Since my Member’s Bill was drawn from the ballot in March, Mr Hipkins has ignored several requests to meet with me about it,” Ms Stanford says.
“I was disappointed to receive a letter from Mr Hipkins at the eleventh hour, advising that Labour would not support the bill.
“He claimed he based this decision on a report from the Ministry of Education that he had been sitting on for three weeks.
“Had he taken the time to discuss my bill or the memo’s contents, I could have easily cleared up some of the misunderstandings in the Ministry’s misguided report.
“Mr Hipkins has been holding summits and calling for an ‘education conversation’, meanwhile stubbornly refusing to meet with a National MP to discuss a bill that would help some of our most vulnerable students.
“It is a real shame that Mr Hipkins is putting party politics above the needs of disadvantaged children.”
A Member’s Bill by East Coast Bays MP Erica Stanford to replace the school decile system with a needs index to better target funding to students at risk of underachievement has been drawn from the ballot today.
“By scrapping the decile system, we will remove a blunt instrument and replace it with a fairer school funding system that better reflects the needs of children and young people,” Ms Stanford says.
“My Education (Social Investment Funding and Abolition of Decile System) Amendment Bill will replace the decile system with a needs index that more accurately indicates which students are most at risk of not achieving in school and therefore in need of more support.
“This bill is about ensuring that schools are better equipped to have the funding and resources to help students with additional learning needs. It was developed because the decile system is not well targeted and has led to schools and students being stigmatised and unfairly judged.
“The needs index reflects a social investment approach and will better target funding to schools with students that evidence-based indicators show are most at risk of not achieving. These indicators would be determined by the Minister and must be updated annually.
“My bill will ensure that data is anonymised and safeguards are established to protect privacy. While it won’t be possible to identify the children that generate the funding, I have confidence that principals and teachers will know which young people need support.
“Under the policy National campaigned on, additional investment would be made to ensure that no school would see a reduction in their funding as a direct result of this change.
“Decile funding makes up less than three per cent of a school’s total funding and I would expect that schools receive at least the same level of funding that they would under the decile system, though some would gain significantly more.
“I trust the Government will keep an open mind about my bill, especially because it has talked about having a cross-party approach to child poverty – what better way to achieve that goal than to agree on targeting school funding to children who need the most support.
“I will be working with National’s education team to meet with schools across the country about my bill because I’m committed to ensuring that we have a fairer system that better supports every child to succeed.”
A Members’ Bill to replace the school decile system with a needs index to better target funding to the children and young people most at risk of not achieving has been lodged today by East Coast Bays MP Erica Stanford.
“The decile system provides funding to schools based on discriminatory socio-economic characteristics. It is a well-intentioned but blunt instrument that has led to schools and students being stigmatised and unfairly judged,” Ms Stanford says.
“My Education (Social Investment Funding and Abolition of Decile System) Amendment Bill will replace the decile system with a needs index that more accurately indicates which students are most at risk of not achieving and therefore in need of more support.
“The needs index represents a social investment approach and will target funding to schools with students that evidence-based indicators show are most at risk of underachievement. These indicators would be determined by the Minister and must be reviewed and updated annually.
“This is about making sure that we have a system that provides fairer funding that better reflects the needs of children and young people in our schools.
“The Bill would also establish safeguards to protect the privacy of individual students and ensure that their data is anonymised. It will not be possible to identify which children generate the additional funding. Principals and teachers know their students best and are well-placed to provide the right support to the right children.
“Under the policy that National campaigned on, additional investment would be provided to ensure that no school, early learning service or kōhanga reo will see a reduction in their funding as a direct result of this change.
“Decile funding accounts for less than three per cent of a school’s total funding and schools would receive at least the equivalent funding that they would under the decile system. I expect some would gain significantly.
“The Government has talked about its desire to scrap the decile system but doesn’t appear to have any idea what to replace it with. My Bill provides a fairer solution and is a meaningful step to provide better support to enable all children to achieve.”