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Extra funding for inclusive education welcomed

Extra funding for inclusive education welcomed

13 May 2018

The Prime Minister's announcement of an extra $21.5m for early intervention in behaviour, learning, and speech and language support will change the lives of thousands of children aged under five.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart was at the Auckland Education Summit for the announcement today and said the news was positive, but the funding for more early intervention frontline staff had to make provision for a pay equity settlement for support workers.

"We have been negotiating with the Ministry of Education for a settlement for support workers for more than a year without progress. You can't truly say these children are valued if the skilled and essential people supporting their learning are earning little more than minimum wage," she said.

Education Support Workers are employed directly by the ministry and work with individual children in early childhood services, giving support around medical, health and toileting needs, and using teaching strategies to support the child's learning.

"We also hope that further funding will be announced to ensure that these children can continue to receive the necessary support after they start school," said Ms Stuart.

"Getting educational intervention and support for their children is a constant battle for many parents, and children have long been missing out on meeting their potential because of inadequate funding," she said.

"This additional funding is not going to ensure equitable access to education for every child. There is a massive unmet need that can't be fixed overnight, but it's a step in the right direction that will be welcomed by educators, families and their children," she said.

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