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Principals Disappointed in Ministry’s Latest Response

Principals in Te Tai Tokerau Disappointed in Ministry’s Latest response

Ministry of Education don’t seem to accept the reality of what is actually happening in schools around Behaviour and Special Needs funding, is now at crisis point.

Pat Newman, President of Te Tai Tokerau Principals Association is very disappointed in the latest response from the Deputy of Education, as in relation to their genuine calls for help.

The Education Ministry's head of sector enablement and support, Katrina Casey, said there was no hard evidence that schools were dealing with more children with behaviour problems when speaking to Radio New Zealand.

Mr Newman responded, “What evidence is needed? What is hard data? Do we have to wait until a child or teacher is seriously hurt? There is not one principal in New Zealand and certainly not in Te Tai Tokerau, that is not telling the Ministry that this is the reality! In fact a few years ago, in Te Tai Tokerau we in partnership with the Ministry researched the levels of violence we were putting up with in the North and the Ministry has that information.”

Ms Casey said the ministry spent about $95 million on behaviour assistance for about 10,000 children last year, and that number of children had not changed much in the last couple of years.

“If this is the case,” said Mr Newman, “Why are we receiving only help to cover 2 hours a day on average, for high end behavioural needs? The answer is always, there is no more money available!

Why is there little help for psychological counselling for these children?

Why does it take a year to get a Foetal Alcohol Assessment done, and little funding to actually help the child once diagnosed?”

Ms Casey said stand-downs and suspensions for assaults had remained static for the past six years and a recent survey of secondary school teachers by the Council for Educational Research found student behaviour had become less of a problem.

Mr Newman stated, “I can’t talk on behalf of secondary, but “P” babies are now in primary schools. Foetal Alcohol children are more than common. Severely abused children are in our schools. The Ministry itself has the figures in Whangarei of the high needs behavioural children currently ion Early Childhood in this town, due to come through the primary service and it is huge!”

Mr Newman however did welcome the suggestion that "If they have got cases that they think that we have not provided support for, then we need to talk to them about that,“ and will be urging his colleagues to make sure that they did this.

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