School lunches essential but reinvest in education

File photo.

New Zealand's largest education union, NZEI Te Riu Roa, says the Government's decision to continue to fund Ka Ora, Ka Ao Healthy School Lunches programme is commonsense in ensuring successful learning outcomes for tamariki.

However, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has signaled the Government will look at ways to fully optimise the programme.

NZEI Te Riu Roa president Mark Potter says any savings from this review should be redirected into education to help kaiako and kaimahi manage the greater levels of complexity of students' needs in the classroom.

"The ministry's briefing to incoming ministers clearly shows the funding situation is tight and that even shallow cuts are likely to impact core services, including learning support.

"Although the Ministry says it will continue to recruit for vacant learning support roles, such as speech language therapists and early intervention teachers, the Government needs to invest significantly more into learning support after decades of woeful under-funding in order to fully meet the learning needs of our tamariki.

"Schools also need smaller class sizes, professional learning for teachers, and a teacher aide for every class – rather than recycling failed initiatives like increased testing and charter schools."

NZEI Te Riu Roa is a New Zealand Educational Institute and members work in every community in New Zealand, leading and advocating for quality public education.

"We are the 50,000 principals, teachers and support staff who work in primary, area and secondary schools as well as early childhood centres, special education and school advisory services," says an NZEI Te Riu Roa spokesperson.

"We come together as NZEI Te Riu Roa - New Zealand's largest education union, a Treaty based organisation and a powerful advocate for quality public education. We have the most important job in New Zealand - educating for the future."

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