Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Still Waiting….. Special Education District Report

3 April 2005
Media Release:

Still Waiting….. Special Education District Reports

After being told the nationwide district reports – 16 in all – on special education services were expected to be released in February we are now in April and still waiting.

The reports have been with the Associate Minister of Education David Benson-Pope since January.

These reports are vital to future policy development of special education services. They have been prepared as a result of the out of court settlement of the Daniels case. That settlement came after 4 years of protracted legal proceedings taken by 14 parents which argued that the government was not meeting its legal obligations to children with special education needs.

The Daniels settlement required Group Special Education to produce -

“Comprehensive district reports to be produced including parent perspectives of the adequacy and appropriateness of local resourcing; identification of gaps between resourcing and the needs of students; any recommendations for any changes needed in funding mechanisms and any recommendations concerning the need to have or maintain special educational units in that locality”

With this in mind we have high expectations that these requirements will be met and that in particular each of the 16 district reports which cover the whole country will contain -

- Parent perspectives on adequacy of local resourcing and the range of services available
- Quantitative measures of the gaps between resourcing requirements for special education and current provision
- Recommendations for changes to funding mechanisms
- Recommendations concerning opening and maintaining special needs units

At the outset of the report consultation process we expressed serious concern that the GSE consultation process involved gathering only qualitative data on resourcing needs. To provide quantitative data we conducted a survey of schools late last year and those results found –

- Serious underfunding across special education which is resulting in
--overworked professional staff
--lack of flexibility for schools
--lack of quality options for parents
--teachers/SE professionals struggling to provide quality learning opportunities for children with special education needs
- 97% of schools indicate the Special Education Grant is inadequate to meet the needs of their children
- 89% believe the SEG grant must be increased by at least 100% to meet their needs with 25% indicating it must be increased more than 200%
- 80% indicate the funding for ORRS students is inadequate
- The ORRS threshold being set too high so that many children with high needs are missing out
- The desire for a range of quality options for children with special education needs including properly resourced mainstreaming, special education units and special schools
- Poor targeting of some existing funding (eg SEG is bulk funded to schools so that a school with 20 children with moderate special needs gets the same allocation as a school with just 2 children with moderate special needs)

The full report can be read on our website at

We confidently expect that the regional reports shortly to be released will reinforce the points made above and the need for specific changes to the funding mechanisms which QPEC has been seeking in special education since the introduction of Special Education 2000 7 years ago.

These changes include -

- Extension of ORRS to 2% of the school age population as opposed to the 1% currently funded
- Targeting the SEG to schools which actually have children with moderate special needs enrolled as opposed to bulk finding this money to all schools - many of which discourage these children from enrolling (eg Cambridge High School – refer to last ERO report) because it doesn’t suit the “image” they want to project in the community.
- Government to resume responsibility for staffing of special needs units – 1/3 of which have closed in recent years under financial pressure.

These reports will have big implications for the budget process and we are therefore keen to see them acted on rapidly.

In the meantime we wait….


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Reuben Moss' Property is Theft! & Kaitani at The Physics Room

Property is Theft! continues Moss’ interest in the contemporary urban environment as a space controlled by pulsing and unequal flows of capital and labour. Kaitani features work by the University of Canterbury Fijian Students Association and Kulimoe’anga Stone Maka. More>>

Handcrafted Form: Rare Treasures From Japan

This unique exhibition at Expressions Whirinaki represents 90 everyday objects made by contemporary Japanese artisans who employ various traditional craft techniques made in regional workshops. The works used in daily life are crafted from raw materials with techniques appropriate to bringing out the best of its medium, balancing ease of use with aesthetic appeal. More>>

Howard Davis Article: A Musical Axis - Brahms, Wagner, Sibelius

Brahms' warm and exquisitely subtle Symphony No. 3 in F major, Wagner's irrepressibly sentimental symphonic poem Siegfried Idyll, and Sibelius' chilling and immensely challenging Violin Concerto in D minor exemplify distinct stages of development in a tangled and convoluted series of skirmishes that came to define subsequent disputes about the nature of post-Romantic orchestral writing well into the following century. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: A Pale Ghost Writer

Reviewed by Ruth Brassington, Richard Flanagan's new novel is about a novelist hastily ghost-writing the biography of a crook about to go to trial. The reader is kept on a cliff-edge, as the narrator tries to get blood out of his stone man. More>>

New Zealand Wars Commemoration: Witi Ihimaera's Sleeps Standing Moetū

The second of several articles to mark Rā Maumahara, remembering the New Zealand Land Wars. The first was a Q&A with Vincent O’Malley, author of The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800–2000. More>>




  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland