Rt Hon Bill English
A good education equips our youngest New Zealanders with the skills they need to succeed well into the future.
Education remains a key priority for the Government, and it’s vital we future-proof education for our rapidly changing world.
In Auckland, one way we’re planning for the future is by investing heavily in modern school facilities. Earlier this year we announced 41 new classrooms will be built at eight schools across Auckland under Budget 2017, as part of our commitment to creating extra capacity for students in our fastest-growing city. And we announced another 30 new classrooms this month.
To ensure our education system keeps pace with technology advances, we’re investing $40 million to help young people fully participate in their digital studies. The investment includes funding for the professional development of teachers, more resources to support digital learning, and funding for external providers offering digital learning programmes.
Our investment in digital learning builds on the $700 million we have invested in digital education infrastructure, and ensuring all schools are able to connect to uncapped, fast broadband.
We want all our young New Zealanders to be digitally fluent so they can achieve a lifetime of success. This is why we’re making the most significant changes to our education curriculum in a decade, helping prepare New Zealanders for the 2020s and beyond.
To help achieve this, we will replace the decile system with a targeted funding system to better support students who are at greatest risk of not achieving.
The new Risk Index will allocate resources to schools based not on the characteristics of the neighbourhood, but on the circumstances of the students. This means we can better direct extra resources to where they are most needed, and help more students achieve.
It’s worth noting that no school or early learning centre will have its funding reduced as a direct result of the change. In some cases, we expect to see some schools gain considerably more funding.
The Risk Index has been designed to ensure young people’s privacy is protected at all times, and it won’t be possible to identify which children generate the additional funding.
To me, the most important part is that the Risk Index will end the unfair stigmatisation of lower decile schools, as well as the students attending those schools. No child should be hindered by the stigma of where they go to school.
A good education is the path to a better future – and the national-led Government is committed to delivering an education for young New Zealanders that will set them on the right path for success.