Monday, May 28, 2012

Lucia Education funding changes will affect intermediates the most

I have a child in intermediate this year. It's his first year back to school after a number of years home-schooling. One of the highlights for him has been getting on the bus once a week to travel to the local college for his technology class.

Back in the day for me, I remember it being called "Manual". It was a special class where we learned sewing, woodwork and cooking. I personally found it the most valuable for the sewing lessons which continued on into college level to form four. I was so proficient at sewing that I was able to put together quite a few fashionable items of clothing that my family would never had been able to afford to buy me.

I don't know how every one thinks about their "Manual" days, but I feel like they were sort of rite of passage. And now it looks like this is going to be their final year with the funding changes for education that have recently been announced.

Hundreds of technology teachers nationwide could lose their jobs, and aspiring builder Matt McAlpine, 11, only has two words to say: "I'm bummed."

At Tawa Intermediate School yesterday, Matt found out his hard materials teacher – that's woodwork, metalwork and electronics – might not be at the school next year. Technology time each week was likely to be halved, and might be taught by his regular classroom teacher.

Changes to funding for teaching staff announced in yesterday's Budget would alter the way technology teachers were funded at intermediate schools.

It is not known exactly how many teachers would be affected, but the Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) has calculated up to 1122 teachers would lose their jobs across primary and intermediate schools.

Wow. So, when Hekia Parata was on the radio last week talking about how 90% of schools would gain or lose one teacher, she was probably aware that mentioning what would happen to the other 10% would be the explosive part and best not brought up at that time.

Raroa Normal Intermediate principal Kevin Ryan said the changes were shocking, and signalled the "demise of intermediates."

"This is going to have an enormous impact – since intermediates were set up in the 1930s they have always had specialist funding. My kids were gutted today, they were just devastated. It's a place they can find success that is outside the general academic areas."

His school would have to raise class sizes to 37 pupils or lose four teachers.

Hutt Intermediate School stood to lose six teachers, or bump classes up to 45 pupils, principal Mike Gillatt said.

Education Minister Hekia Parata said the extra technology funding for Year 7 and 8 pupils had been a "historical anomaly," and had now been spread out to benefit all pupils from Years 2 to 10.

A historical anomaly? I really wonder if politicians are attracted to changing things things that have been a certain way for a long time, to make them feel like they are doing something. But without any understanding of why they are that way.

Related link: Intermediates face big teacher losses

2 comment(s):

Ciaron said...

Epic fail by the government here. Hands on classes where the students produce something tangible are invaluable.

Lucia Maria said...

Ciaron,

Yes, it's just pathetic really. I don't think National "get" education. This is one area that I have to admit Labour have been better at.

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