Mum’s the word

Yesterday there was a statement released that the funding model for NZ schools is going to be reviewed and overhauled. It was published in several papers round the country, much like this article on stuff.

What is really distressing me about this article is the 4 ‘risk factors’ identified and suggested as markers for future funding

‘A preliminary proposal floated the concept of paying schools more for students that met one of four risk factors: a parent who had been to prison; if they or a sibling had suffered child abuse; if their family had relied on a benefit for a prolonged period; or if the child’s mother had no formal qualifications.’ (quote from the STUFF article)

Which lead me to 2 questions

  1. How on earth are we going to find out 1 of those 4 things about our students without being a big brother state
  2. On the 4th point – the link between a mother education and a child’s well being is really well documented. So why are we STILL failing mothers by not supporting them to get back into education with young children, or preventing them from becoming mothers before they are ready at all?

And as a side note, where do the Dads fit in?

So, ponderings around this

As it stands, I am not really certain of how schools in NZ are funded. I am learning more about that through NAPP this year. But it is an amazing thing despite the current flaws and flops and challenges in NZ education that anyway can get access to education. While too many still slip through the cracks despite support networks in place, if students value or want an education they can generally find a way to get one. I really feel for some of my students who are working long hours after school in part time jobs to support their families, while perhaps others work it to have the new phone, while others have the new phone already, along with a tutor to help them study and get top marks. But when they come to school, teachers the country and world over do there best to help all the kids in front of them. We try to be fair and responses and reasonable. Many teachers do AMAZING things with diverse groups or students on the smell of an oily rag or less.

So if we start tagging funding to individual students (appreciating that this already happens in the more complicated cases such an wrap around services or learning support for ORS students etc) then how will we identify those students? By screening their families…????? Can you imagine the new school enrolment form? What qualification does your Mum have? Have your parents been in prison? And then what happens if those students change schools? Or are agencies going to talk to each other more? Will this information come to schools? Or just the ministry?


On to my second point of the correlation between a mothers educational status and her child’s chances of success. A simple google search revealed numerous studies around the educational stats of a mother effect infant morality, reading words, job prospects. I had heard of this correlation several times in presentations and readings.

So why is NZ not doing more to prevent teenage pregnancies? And if teenagers do become mothers, how can we support them to continue in some sort of education. There are so few teen parent school partnerships in NZ which could do more than just help the teen parents, the numbers show they also help the babies achieve more.

And why is it just the mother? Dad’s don’t feature in this correlation at all. This says so much around the fact that despite all of the improvements in woman’s rights, Dads still don’t feature. How can we involve NZ fathers in their children’s lives and education to ensure that all kiwi kids have a better future.

So if we are going to change the funding in schools, lets make sure we put the roadblock a the top of the cliff and keep our young woman in education. Lets target all kiwi families so that we are not having to fund more ‘disadvantaged’ kids in the future.


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