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Expertise Needed to Deal with Learning Differences


Expertise Needed to Deal with Learning Differences in Schools

Government plans to invest millions more into school leadership to lift under-achievement has been welcomed by SPELD NZ. However SPELD NZ’s Chairperson, Marion Fairbrass, says expertise in students’ learning differences would be the key game changer.

The Government intends to invest an extra $359 million over the next four years to fund four new school roles – Executive Principal, Expert Teacher, Lead Teacher and Charge Principal. The funding is designed to help lift student performance in every school.

“It’s great that the government is making education a major issue this year and committing more funding,” says Marion Fairbrass.

“Those with dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities make up much of the tail of under achievement but improving management will only assist these students if their needs are taken into account. What is required is expertise in dealing with learning differences and preferences.

“One in ten students in New Zealand schools has dyslexia and struggles with many aspects of learning. Dyslexia is a life-long condition but with expert help, many people with dyslexia can learn to read and write well. Most people with dyslexia need help from a teacher with specific training in using an individualised, multi-sensory, structured language approach. It is critical that students with learning differences such as dyslexia have early identification and treatment to achieve in school and life.”

Background on SPELD NZ:

Established in the 1970s, SPELD NZ is a not-for-profit organisation that works with people with dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities. SPELD NZ provides assessment and one-one tuition for adults and children, support for families and whanau and training for parents, whanau, assessors, teachers, teacher aides and other interested professionals.


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