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Research Reports on Special Education Policy

NEWS RELEASE

2 March 2000 Immediate Release

Research Reports on Special Education Policy

New research into special education policies brought in over the past two years showed that there was still further work to be done in bedding down the policy, the Ministry of Education said today.

The special education budget provides over $350 million in resourcing to schools and early childhood centres, and assists with the education of about 10% of New Zealand children throughout the country.

"We acknowledge that families and schools have faced difficulties in working through the changes. The research project provides an opportunity for the views of families and schools to be heard," said Sally Jackson, the Ministry's project manager for special education. "Special Education 2000 has significantly changed how education is provided for children with special needs".

"The new Government is firmly committed to reviewing aspects of Special Education 2000. The research reports released today will play a very valuable part in helping to meet the Government's intentions."

The research reports present a picture of Special Education 2000 near the beginning of the initiative. They were commissioned by the Ministry of Education to give an independent evaluation of all of the separate strands of the special education policy and to see how they work together for the benefit of students in schools. They were conducted for the Ministry by a specialist team from Massey University.

Today's research reports cover the five components of the Special Education 2000 policy: the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS), the Speech Language Initiative; the Severe Behaviour Initiative, the Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour and the Special Education Grant (SEG).

The analysis is based on the response to a thousand written questionnaires and four hundred visits to schools and early childhood centres.

They indicate areas for further attention to be given to Maori, early childhood issues, professional development, residential special schools, support services, and issues for parents.

Two of the major features of the research are the baseline data it contains and the voices of schools and parents. Follow-up reports will be able to indicate further impact on schools, kura and early childhood institutions.

The Massey University team has been contracted to undertake further evaluation from now until August 2001, and the researchers will be going back to schools and to early childhood centres in the next few weeks to collect the second round of data.

"The Ministry of Education and the research team also acknowledge the big contribution that schools and families have made to the research reports by the generous response they have made to the wide-ranging questionnaires and interviews."

END

Ministry of Education contact: Sally Jackson, Project Manager, Special Education Phone: (04) 471 6184 / 025 283 0727

Research Co-ordinator Roseanna Bourke Massey University College of Education Phone: 025 2434 121


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