Education investment rises to $10.8b

Education Minister Hekia Parata says a Budget 2015 investment of $686.7 million will take total spending on early childhood, primary and secondary education in the coming year to $10.8 billion.

She says “Budget 2015 includes $442.9 million of operating funding over the next four years for education and $243.8 million of capital, reflecting the Government’s determination to help young New Zealanders achieve their potential."

“Since this Government took office in 2008, the proportion of 18-year-olds achieving Level 2 NCEA has risen from 68 per cent to an estimated 81 per cent.

“Level 2 achievement rates and ECE participation are both key indicators of future success. But there is more to be done to lift those lagging behind, especially Māori and Pasifika, those from poorer families and those with special needs.

“For that reason, the Government is continuing to invest in initiatives that have been proven to make a difference.”

The Budget’s extra investment in education also includes $74.9 million for early childhood education over the next four years to enable more children to attend ECE from an earlier age and for more hours.

The Budget includes an extra $62.9 million for special education. This will continue the additional in-class teacher aide support for 1,500 students with special needs which started in February, and increase Ongoing Resource Scheme funding to assist more students with high needs.

In addition, as announced previously, the Budget provides capital expenditure of $243.8 million to build seven new schools and kura kaupapa, expand four existing schools and build an additional 241 classrooms at existing schools.

Given the success of Trades Academies, about 300 extra places will be added to support students to achieve NCEA Level 2 while also gaining industry-specific skills. There is also a package of initiatives for vulnerable children to ensure they receive the health and education services they need.

The new investment of $686.7 million over four years is in part funded by savings within the Ministry of Education of $64.9 million.