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Time For Special Needs Battles Is Over

04 April 2002

Lianne Dalziel should work with the families of special needs children, not take them back to court, Green Party Disabilities spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

Ms Kedgley said the Associate Minister of Education should accept the High Court decision, which found that the shift to main-streaming special needs students was illegal, not appeal it as she threatened to do yesterday.

"This is not a criminal case to be appealed on technical details. The 14 families who took this case deserve help not another battle.

"Simply throwing special needs students into main-stream classes does not work - parents know it, teachers know it, the High Court knows it. It's time the Government knew it too, and did something about it."

Ms Kedgley said the only way mainstreaming could work was if extra resources were targeted to help each special needs student keep up with the class.

"The Government now has to stop bulk-funding schools for special needs students. Schools should be funded for each special needs student they teach, not an average number likely to be enrolled.

"Real life is more complicated - one school might have five, one might have none. Funding should reflect real people and their needs, not some accountant's ideal world."

Ends

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