News the Government is funding another 600 places for teenagers to learn a trade will limit their choice of subjects at school, a Hawke’s Bay teacher says.
A funding transfer from the Youth Guarantee fees-free programme has made room for hundreds more places at Trades Academies from the beginning of next year.
Education Minister Hekia Parata announced the extra funding of $21 million, which comes from a drop in demand for the Youth Guarantee scheme, at the Post-Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) annual conference in Wellington on Thursday.
But Havelock North High School deputy principal Maria Neville-Foster said schools couldn’t financially sustain paying for teachers in subject areas where class rolls significantly dropped on the days some students went to Trades Academies.
“The class still exists but the funding for a kid leaves when it goes off to Trades Academies,” Neville-Foster said.
She used an example of a small school and a class of 12 students, six of which attended Trades Academies on a Friday.
“You can’t sustain it financially to have a teacher for the six remaining kids so you have to collapse the class so therefore there’s less subject choice for kids.”
“I’m in a school with 927 students and it’s an issue we’re faced with. It’s particularly problematic in small schools.”
With fewer subject choices students’ learning options become more and more limited, she said.
Actually the Trade Academies give them more options.
But Parata said the Government already “significantly supplemented” Trades Academy places to “recognise exactly that concern”.
“The funding for Trades Academy places was way above what the funding is for a student who is not going to a Trades Academy place, to recognise a school needs to have basic funding to maintain its programme.”
And there is funding for the displacement.
Parata said a report by the Education Review Office showed Trades Academies were delivering “overwhelmingly positive outcomes” for students.
“Trades Academies not only lift student achievement, they help students into further education or careers in industries such as building and construction or the primary industries,” she said.
That’s what matters – the outcomes.