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Govt policy: special ed kids don't need no ed

Govt policy: special ed kids don't need no education

The Government's announcement of an action plan for special education is another sign it's failing New Zealand's most in-need young people.

"We don't need yet another action plan, which will be just words, words, words," Green Education Spokesperson Metiria Turei said. "What we need is some firm action and much better funding."

Mrs Turei said that while the extra $30.7 million over four years for special education announced today was welcome, it would not solve the most pressing problems facing special education.

"It's difficult to see how much value this funding will add to parents and students," she said.

"For example, the $9.8 million increase in funding for teacher aides will only help schools meet the special needs of students already receiving support through Ongoing and Reviewable Resourcing and Schemes (ORRS). It does absolutely nothing to address the fact that the narrow criteria for these schemes effectively prevent half of the children who require such funding from getting it.

"We know that at Mt Roskill Grammar in Auckland, there are at least six children with varying degrees of autism, none of whom receive ORRS funding. Today's funding increase will do nothing to help them or the hundreds of other children around New Zealand in a similar position.

"For another example, the increase in Supplementary Learning Support will see a continuation of special needs teachers being shuffled around between students and schools, with little coordination among teachers, and between teachers and parents. How does a continuation of this slapdash approach help special ed students?"

Mrs Turei said all children had the right to free education in New Zealand, and the Government was failing in its duty to ensure that right is upheld.

"It is simply not right that some parents feel the need to pay $10,000 a year because their children's state school isn't adequately funded to provide for special needs students. A much more substantial increase in funding is required, as well as a liberalising of the criteria under which children qualify for special needs funding."

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