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Parents Frustrated with Support From Govt

Friday 17 June

Parents Frustrated with Support From Govt

Over Gifted Awareness Week, 13-19 June, the New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education (NZCGE) ran an opinion poll to obtain a snapshot of parent and educator views regarding the funding support gifted learners receive in New Zealand.

Deborah Walker, NZCGE chief executive officer, stated she was not surprised by the feelings expressed. “We hear these stories on a daily basis at the Centre and, while not one parent expressed any desire for levels of support for other learners to change, all who responded questioned why their children were constantly left out of the mix.” There are an estimated 40,000 gifted children in the education system currently.

“The talents and creativity of all children should be nurtured by our education system rather than pitting groups against each other in a battle for special funding,” a parent comments.

Of the parents and teachers who completed the opinion poll, 50% had no idea what resourcing was targeted directly to gifted education services and 30% felt it was $900,000 or less. Funding for these services is currently provided under the Professional Learning and Development banner, at approximately $930,000 for 2016 and will cease to exist in 2017. Walker states, “Zero will be, unfortunately, an easy number to remember after 2016.”

85% of respondents were unhappy with the current level of funding and parents were frustrated at having to pay personally for programmes to meet their child’s needs when other children received this as a right. 95% felt it was the government’s role to appropriately support gifted learners, their programmes and the educators around them.

“I have a highly gifted 7 year old. Our start to school has been full of heart breaking bumps. I feel school wants to help him but don't know how. From our experience GATE [gifted and talented education] needs proper investment in time and learning with more professional development for teachers to help improve our children's educational opportunities and experiences.”

Parents and teachers who responded to the opinion poll were concerned gifted children seem invisible in the New Zealand education system, save for tiny pockets of excellence driven by the passion and expertise of charitable organisations, small groups or individual teachers. This is not news to the staff at the New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education who advocate for equitable services for young gifted New Zealanders and also supply services to these children and their schools nationwide, with no funding support from Government.

ENDS

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