Improving child wellbeing through education and taking pressure off parents, part 1
We know that child wellbeing, and the potential for positive outcomes later in life, is linked to educational outcomes early in life. Through the Wellbeing Budget, the Coalition Government is making a number of significant investments to improve New Zealand's education system. This includes investing in more teachers, meeting demand pressures and setting aside funding for a 10-year school property programme.
The Coalition Government is also taking a number of practical steps to reduce the financial pressure on families when it comes to their children's education.
Replacing school donations
Families of nearly half a million children at 1,700 schools stand to benefit from no longer being asked to pay school donations as a result of the Wellbeing Budget.
All decile 1-7 State and State-integrated schools, attended by about 63 per cent of all students, will be eligible to receive $150 per student per year if the school agrees to stop requesting donations from parents.
"We know how difficult it is for parents to afford the fees that schools charge. We are making school education free again. Many students will now be able to get the education they need with less financial pressure on their parents. With 83 per cent of all Māori and Pacific school children attending these schools, they will particularly benefit from this.
The Government is also taking financial pressure off parents by removing fees for NCEA and NZ Scholarship.
More than 145,000 households are estimated to benefit from the removal of the $76.70 NCEA fee that families pay every year for around 168,000 secondary students.
"Abolishing these fees will make things a bit easier for families to make ends meet and ensure every student who achieves NCEA can receive their qualification," Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.
"Where schools opt to continue to seek donations, those donations remain voluntary – meaning parents and caregivers are not required to pay them," Chris Hipkins says.
The Ministry of Education will monitor schools that opt in to ensure they do not continue to seek donations.
"I will introduce legislation so funding paid to schools that do not comply with the scheme's conditions can be recovered," Chris Hipkins says.
The initiative will take effect from the start of the 2020 school year. It is budgeted to cost $265.6 million in the four financial years from 2019/20 through 2022/23.
The wellbeing approach in action – Healthy eating and physical activity in schools
Evidence shows that children's nutrition and physical activity are linked to academic achievement and improved physical and mental health.
Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson joined Minister of Health David Clark, Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa, and Minister of Education Chris Hipkins to develop a $47.6 million programme to promote a healthy eating and physical activity in schools initiative under the Child Wellbeing priority for Budget 2019.
As a joint Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Sport New Zealand initiative, all schools and early learning centres will be supported through new resources and guidance, health promotion staff, and school physical activity advisors.