It all hinges on the label the Teacher’s Union have given it; is it bulk funding or not?

Teachers in Auckland this week held the first of 50 planned stopwork meetings around the country over a Government proposal called a “global budget”…

It would be a pity if this idea was stifled before the public has had a chance to understand it. Teachers’ unions have been calling it “bulk funding”, a proposal they resisted from the previous National Government in the 1990s. But as the “global budget” is described by the Ministry of Education, it does not look like the earlier scheme.

That one would have put all funding in the same pot and let schools decide what to spend on staffing and what to spend on buildings and other facilities. This one expressly proposes a separate allocation for property.

It is hard to know why the public has been hearing from teachers that schools might have to reduce staff to pay their power bills. Those will be the subject of separate grants.

The teachers’ real concern is that the global budget for learning is not exclusively for teachers. It is not power bills that worry them, but electronic equipment perhaps. Rather than be funded for a fixed ratio of teachers to students, principals and boards would be able to balance a school’s global budget between teaching staff and other instruments of learning.

The fear causing so many to leave their classrooms and attend stopwork meetings is the possibility that principals and boards might decide they can make do with fewer teachers if they organise all their educational resources for possibly better results. It is a possibility not a probability.

Schools that already have this flexibility, private schools and charter schools, do not replace teachers with machines. They value small class sizes above almost everything, as do parents.

But it is doubtful that every school needs the same ratio of teachers to pupils. There ought to be room for each school to decide how to spend its budget for best value. The present Government has been more determined than most to tag its funding of all social services for measurable results. It has published a set of specific targets to concentrate the minds of providers at all levels on concrete improvements.

…Global budgets sound capable of producing better value for the taxpayers’ outlay and should not be abandoned because teachers fear their jobs would be less secure.

– A Newspaper


  • sandalwood789

    I don’t care what it is or what it’s called – if the teachers are against it, chances are that it’s good for the children.

    • Jon Low

      The teachers really have no opinion, one way or the other. The union leaders, on the other hand, have an eye on their real prize: a high placing on the Labour/Green list to be an MP. These union leaders will stack the union stopwork platforms with fellow-alarmists and scaremongers, and quickly close down the faintest voice of question or dissent from the bemused teachers on the floor of their politburo-parade, all pre-kitted with lollipop signs to display the official union line. Then, they’ll rig the “ballot” and declare wide pseudo-democratic support for the opposition to the government. Haven’t we seen all this before? Aren’t we all adequately cynical yet?

      • Carl

        If you are a teacher that is not in the union you won’t go to the meetings so you won’t vote I presume. Of coarse there results are going to be wonky.

        • peterwn

          A major reason for teachers to be in a union is it is like an insurance policy in case a teacher is wrongfully accused of unlawful acts involving pupils. Historically another reason to be in a state sector union was being able to be a PSIS (now Co-operative Bank) member with access to second mortgages and retail discounts (at a time when there was limited competition in the retail sector).

        • GMAK

          Non unionised teachers are small in number. I am treasurer on a BOT of a school with approximately 20 teachers and only 1 is is not a union member. Even the principal is a member and against the proposal and he is the one that would benefit most from it….so would good teachers. In my experience the BOT is both far more invested in children’s development and achievement, and more accountable too

      • curry4me

        I am 100% cynical about anything the left say, or do. I just don’t believe a word they say.

    • Aucky

      Do you mean teachers across the board or unionised teachers? There is a difference.

  • peterwn

    I suspect is that any proposal which moves away from a rigid national formula for teacher numbers and pay scale progression rules will raise the ire of the teachers unions. Indeed the unions’ objective would probably be to include teacher aides and similar in a rigid national formula rather than ‘bulk fund’ such staff. So this would make discussion of terminology rather redundant. The ‘fair and just solution’ regarding Catholic schools would have had similar overtones. Monks and nuns traditionally were the teachers in Catholic schools. As fewer prospective monks and nuns went into holy orders, Catholic schools had to start employing lay teachers and sought Government grants for this purpose – which was effectively bulk funding. this got to a point which raised the ire of the teaching unions and led to ‘integration’. The unions conceded the schools could retain their ‘special character’ in exchange for the rigid state school rules regarding teachers numbers and remuneration applying to integrated schools together with ‘non compete’ provisions. As far as I know Catholic schools can only offer a limited number of places for those not baptised into the Catholic faith.

    • Aucky

      Teachers other than the principal at Catholic schools do not need to be of the Catholic faith although there are a minimum number of positions that require to be filled by Catholic teachers. It’s interesting that a) positions are highly sought after in Catholic schools & b) union membership is lower than in state schools. Bulk funding was not a contentious issue in earlier times in Catholic schools and I don’t believe that it will be in its new form. Ironically despite the outmoded bias by many against Catholicism their education system is way more open to change than the union-dominated state schools. That is evidenced by the huge demand by non-Catholic families to have their children educated in the Catholic system.

      We are not a Catholic family but our kids attended a Catholic primary school before attending Anglican private schools. We still support that primary school.

  • cows4me

    Isn’t teaching about the promoting of new ideas and concepts for their pupils ? It seems when you become an unionized teacher you disregard and shun the very things you want for those you teach. Teaching for many isn’t about what’s best for their charges but whats best for the teaches and even that is debatable.

  • kloyd0306

    When ever I read the word “union” I am suspicious of their true motives and in the case of the teachers’ union, what’s best for children is not at the top their list.

  • XCIA

    if “teachers” are being led by the nose by a Union whose leaders have ulterior motives and secret agenda’s, are they of sufficient caliber to be instructing our young and impressionable?

  • arnietm

    Everyone knows teachers can,t understand anything other than dollars in their pockets. This scheme has promise as if irt does come about will be controlled by teachers (headmasters etc.

  • OneTrack

    The teachers seem to have little confidence in their principals.

    • LovetoTeach

      As anyone who’s had a bad boss knows, they are certainly out there. I’ve got a great boss but I’ve also had some doozies.

      Interesting to note that with all the people bagging teachers they’re not making the connection that principals were/are teachers.

      So teachers = bad but principals = good. You think teachers aren’t worth what they’re getting paid BUT you also think these same people will be able to manage something like global funding which will require good business acumen as well as educational nous.

    • kloyd0306

      …..and many parents have little confidence in the teachers’ union’s principles.