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NZPF disgusted by Govt attitude to health camps

For Immediate Release

NZPF disgusted by Govt attitude to health camps New Zealand Principals' Federation, 24 October 2008

The New Zealand Principals' Federation is disappointed by news that the Health Camp Foundation may close a residential school in the South Island. Unless funding from the Ministry of Social Development increases, the health camp in Roxburgh, Central Otago will have to close, with other closures in Rotorua or Otaki a possibility in the future.

NZPF President Paddy Ford says the lack of funding support for the Health Camp Foundation is disgusting. "The health camps support at- risk children, many of whom have severe behavioural problems. At a time when families are requiring more help and schools are struggling with inadequate resources, it is unbelievable that one of our most valuable tools for dealing with these children is being withdrawn."

Ford says there is already inadequate resourcing available to meet the high and complex needs of the children who use health camps. "This lack of recognition, in essence, minimises the extent of the needs of our vulnerable children. These are children who have become, or are at extreme risk of becoming marginalised within our education system, and within society as a whole."

Ford says that the Health Camp Foundation has been pursuing additional government funding for the last five years. As a consequence of inadequate government resourcing, they have since exhausted any funds they previously had. "The Health Camp Foundation should never have been forced to sell assets to cover its' costs, but they had to do that because they simply weren't getting the funding they needed. That is a damning indictment on the support given to the education system by this Government."

The NZPF is pleading with the Ministry of Social Development to find the required funding, so the health camp system can continue. "Principals need health camps, they do a fantastic job. The reality is that if some of those health camps close, more pressure will be brought to bear in our classrooms. This will result in all childrens' learning being interrupted. The loss of health camps would be devastating for those involved, and will have wider implications for schools across New Zealand."


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