Warning sounded on funding
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.’’
About 400 Central Otago teachers met for a union meeting on Wednesday.
Sophia Kimpton started at Cromwell Primary on July 29