Warn­ing sounded on fund­ing

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

Cromwell ed­u­ca­tors Chris­tine Brown and Re­becca An­der­son know all too well about the re­al­ity of ‘‘liv­ing and breath­ing’’ global fund­ing - to their cost.

Con­cerns over the Gov­ern­ment’s global fund­ing or ‘‘bulk fund­ing’’ pro­posal were voiced at a union meet­ing in Alexan­dra on Wed­nes­day, and the pair told the 400 ed­u­ca­tors gath­ered of their ex­pe­ri­ences with bulk fund­ing.

Cromwell Kinder­garten teacher Chris­tine Brown said she be­longed to a ser­vice now where fully reg­is­tered, fully trained teach­ers were not al­ways the norm in early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion cen­tres.

‘‘We are liv­ing and breath­ing this al­ready - to our cost. Ev­ery early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre re­ceives bulk fund­ing or global bud­get based on a per child, per hour for­mula. This money has to cover teacher pay, as well as all the other costs of run­ning our ser­vice. In ECE bulk fund­ing is a mech­a­nism for un­der-fund­ing, we are al­ways fight­ing for re­sources.

‘In ad­di­tion the Gov­ern­ment has sought to re­duce qual­ity by only fund­ing ser­vices by up to 80 per cent qual­i­fied and cer­ti­fied teach­ers, mean­ing ser­vices that only em­ploy qual­i­fied teach­ers don’t get fully funded to pay for them.’’

Bulk fund­ing in ECE had led to less job se­cu­rity and the use of more ca­sual and un­qual­i­fied staff rather than qual­i­fied teach­ers in or­der to man­age the bud­get, she said.

Re­becca An­der­son, of Gold­fields Pri­mary School in Cromwell, said as a sup­port worker her role was al­ready bulk funded and she would not wish it on any­one.

‘‘Many sup­port staff are only paid just above the min­i­mum wage...we are not paid cen­trally like teach­ers, so the money has to be found by the school them­selves from their ops grant which is not au­to­mat­i­cally ad­justed to re­flect any ne­go­ti­ated in­crease in our wages.

‘‘Our hours can vary from term to term and year to year, depend­ing not on iden­ti­fied learn­ing needs of chil­dren or school’s ad­min­is­tra­tion needs but on how much the school can af­ford.

‘‘We are of­ten locked into fixedterm con­tracts and that means at the end of each year you don’t know if you have a job to come back to af­ter Christ­mas. We tend to be paid for the hours we are in front of chil­dren so there is lit­tle or no paid time to plan our pro­grammes to meet the par­ents or teach­ers or un­der­take any pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment.’’

JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

About 400 Cen­tral Otago teach­ers met for a union meet­ing on Wed­nes­day.

Sophia Kimp­ton started at Cromwell Pri­mary on July 29

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