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Govt supporting parents to lift educational achievement

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced the Government is investing $80.5 million of operating funding over four years in Budget 2013 to help support parents and communities play their role in lifting the educational achievement of young people.

Of that $80.5 million, $63.6 million over four years will go towards the Positive Behaviour for Learning suite of programmes targeted at parents, teachers and schools, to address problem behaviour in children and young people.

"Ensuring each and every child gets a good education is the most important thing our Government can do to raise living standards and create a more productive and competitive economy," Ms Parata says.

"At the moment, on average, four out of five kids are successfully getting the qualifications they need from school. Our plan is to get five out of five.

"To help us achieve that we have set Better Public Service targets for early childhood education participation and secondary school achievement, and have also set a target at the critical bridge of National Standards.

"In Budget 2013 we are continuing to invest in all the areas that contribute to lifting achievement for young New Zealanders, including helping parents and communities support their children.’’

Budget 2013 operating initiatives include:

- $63.6 million over four years for Positive Behaviour for Learning

- $14.5 million over four years to support Boards of Trustees

- $2.4 million over four years for Connecting Communities to help support families to confidently engage with their early childhood services and schools.

Positive Behaviour for Learning was introduced in 2009 to improve behaviour in children and young people, increase educational engagement and achievement, and decrease the long-term costs of difficult behaviour continuing into adulthood.

"Preliminary reporting shows the majority of children involved in the programme are experiencing sustained improvements in their behaviour,’’ says Ms Parata.

"When we address the behaviour of children it helps families, and schools.’’

The Government had already committed $81.7m over four years to the Positive Behaviour for Learning Programme. The $63.6 million investment over four years in Budget 2013 means that funding for Positive Behaviour for Learning will rise to $145.3 million over four years, that’s a 78 per cent increase.

"The $63.6 million investment over four years means an extra 200 primary and intermediate schools will be able to access Positive Behaviour for Learning School-Wide programme over the next four years. It will also be available to all secondary schools by 2016.

"The funding will also ensure that the Positive Behaviour for Learning Incredible Years Parent and Teacher programmes will continue to be available for parents, teachers, and communities.’’

"Kids behaving have a better chance of doing better throughout their education, and are better behaved at home and in their community, as well as their schools."

The Government is also piloting two new programmes as part of the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health initiative: Check and Connect and My FRIENDS Youth.

"Check and Connect is a long-term mentoring programme for students at risk of disengaging, underachieving or dropping out early from school.

"Up to a fifth of our teenagers fall out of the education system at Years 10 and 11. That’s unacceptable,’’ says Ms Parata.

Check and Connect will be piloted in some secondary schools in South Auckland, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington and Tai Tokerau over the next 18 months.

"The My FRIENDS Youth programme aims to build students’ self-esteem and resilience and help them cope with depression and anxiety. The programme will be piloted in ten secondary schools this year."

The Government recognises the contribution parents make to their children’s school through serving on Boards of Trustees. Over 16,000 trustees are elected and voluntarily carry out a full range of governance roles aimed at raising achievement so $14.5 million is being invested over four years to help support them.

"We currently invest around $4.2 million per year in Boards of Trustees. I am pleased to announce that in Budget 2013 we are increasing that funding by around $3.6 million per year to around $7.8 million per year, that’s an 86 per cent increase.

"We will be working with the New Zealand School Trustees Association to strengthen its capacity and capability fit for 21st century governance so that they can best support Boards to support their schools with this funding.’’

The Government wants to ensure all parents are informed and engaged in their children’s learning so is investing $2.4 million over four years into a new Connecting Communities initiative.

"There are a number of reasons why some parents are not involved in their children’s learning, but often it is because they have limited time and want to be sure they know where best to put their efforts,’’ says Ms Parata.

"The Connecting Communities initiative will focus on providing information to families, whānau, aiga, and communities so they can confidently engage with their early childhood services and schools.

"It is vital that everyone with a role in a child’s education - parents and caregivers, whānau, communities, early childhood services, schools, Boards of Trustees, teachers and other school staff - are supported to do the best possible job.

"We all need to work together to ensure each and every child gets a great education and the skills they need to reach their potential in a modern economy."

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