Topics: BUDGET, Education

Budget 2016 -$46mil for at-risk children in schools

By Harata Brown

Children considered to be high risk in schools are set to get a funding boost.

This was an area of need addressed by the President of the Tai Tokerau Principals Association Pat Newman prior to the announcement.

Mr. Newman says he's fed up that teachers have to deal with the hardships of children.

"A third of the kids in Te Tai Tokerau are fitting in the high-risk area and we are not getting the funding that we need to effectively help those kids and then we get the blame," says Mr. Newman.  

The latest Budget allocation for Social Investment could be good news for Mr. Newman.

$43mil will be allocated to schools, targeted at children most at-risk of not achieving at school. 

$199.9mil will also be allocated over four years to implement a system-wide reform of services for vulnerable children. 

Mr. Newman says, "I think that the schools need to be very much involved in the wrap around services. Often it is the agencies that parents trust." 

In the last Budget, schools received an operational funding increase of just one percent.

Mr. Newman, who is also the Principal at Horahora Primary School in Whangarei, says current funding doesn't address social needs in schools.

"We run a breakfast club here three mornings a week. We probably have 30-40 kids going to that. We still run the sandwiches every day that we make here and there's probably another 30-40 kids who grab those."

Meanwhile, Mr. Newman believes the $43 million boost will only amount to $300 per child annually.