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$1m to improve special education transport

Hon Nikki Kaye

Associate Minister
of Education

29 May 2014 Media Statement
$1m to improve special education transport

Associate Minister of Education Nikki Kaye today released recommendations to improve Special Education School Transport Assistance (SESTA).

“Last year I established an independent reference group to provide advice on how best to improve SESTA services for special education students,” Ms Kaye says.

The group has been chaired by Graeme Daniel, Principal of Allenvale Special School and President of the Special Education Principals’ Association. Members represent the special education and disability sectors, commercial operators and government.

“I want to thank the Chair and members of the group for their work. There are 14 recommendations in the report that are, or will be, implemented. A further four will be investigated further.

“The recommendations that are being implemented include integration of SESTA into special education students learning plans, changes to driver training, regular audits of services agents, and a review of wheelchair transport regulations.

“A number of the recommendations are already underway and a Ministry of Education work programme is in development to give effect to further changes.

“Around $1 million will be prioritised from baseline funding over five years to support the programme. This complements $1.7 million committed in Budget 2014 to provide in-class teacher aides for an additional 80 students with high health needs.

“I recognise that it is very important to many families using SESTA that they have access to safe, high quality services for their children. I believe that the work of the reference group and the Ministry of Education will lead to better services for special education students and their families,” Ms Kaye says.

The Ministry of Education provides school transport assistance to over 100,000 students each year at an annual cost of more than $170 million, of which $30 million ensures around 6,000 students access SESTA.

A link to the independent reference group report and a summary of its recommendations can be found at www.minedu.govt.nz/sestareferencegroup

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