'The plan for education outlined in today's Budget comes directly from Treasury advice,' said Paul Drummond, President of the New Zealand Principals' Federation, 'and will not improve the educational experience for Kiwi kids in school,' he said.
Making savings by cutting back on teacher numbers and increasing class sizes has been on the government's agenda since 2009, but was not included in National's 2011 election manifesto. Since the announcement, the increase in class sizes has drawn strong response from parents, teachers and principals alike. In particular it has agitated the parents of children who struggle with learning or have special learning needs.
'Parents know it will be the specialist support programmes such as reading recovery that will be first affected,' said Drummond. 'That means that our most vulnerable kids, the ones we are told the government is most concerned about, will be hardest hit,' he said.
Increases in class size will also mean there will be less opportunity for flexibility and innovation, and any school teaching intermediate level children, will lose their special allocation for technology teachers.
'Technology sits at the heart of a quality 21st century education,' said Drummond. 'Children would be hugely disadvantaged if they lose access to these subjects,' he said.
'Today's Budget is not creating an environment in which quality teaching can flourish,' says Drummond.' 'Our parents and the profession are reeling,' he said.
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