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“Closing the Gaps” in Special Education Resourcing

“Closing the Gaps” in Special Education Resourcing

Report to be Released Tomorrow on Nationwide Survey of Special Education Needs Funding

On Tuesday morning the Quality Public Education Coalition will release the results of a nationwide survey of special education resourcing in New Zealand schools.

The QPEC survey results contain quantitative data of the resourcing needed to “close the gaps” between government funding and student need.

This major project was undertaken over the past 3 months by QPEC National Secretary and Special Education Co-ordinator Linda Williams. It was undertaken because of the urgent need for a quantum measure of the gaps in special education resourcing which are preventing so many children with special education needs from becoming effective learners.

This is a task which we believe Group Special Education (GSE) should have undertaken but specifically declined to do so.

GSE are currently holding a series of consultation meetings around the country to gain feedback from teachers and parents on delivery of special education services. However they are not gathering specific, quantitative information despite the requirement from the Daniels agreement (the settlement reached in the court case taken against the government by 14 parents of children with special education needs) that GSE produce district reports which include -

“…parent perspectives of the adequacy and appropriateness of local resourcing; identification of gaps between resourcing and the needs of students; any recommendations for any changes needed in funding mechanisms and any recommendations concerning the need to have or maintain special educational units in that locality”

The report is a collation of responses from 344 schools and teachers nationwide. It includes educators in the primary, secondary and early childhood sectors with principals, teachers and support staff responding. Geographically the areas responding include:

Invercargill, Blenheim, Auckland (Central, North and South), Rotorua, Hawke’s Bay, Hastings, Dunedin, Christchurch, Waikato, Whitianga, Dannevirke, Manawatu, Pahiatua, Oamaru, Wellington, Taupo, New Plymouth, Nelson, Tararua, Aka Aka, Pahoia, Waihi, Rangiora, Pahiatua, Whangarei, Tauranga, Maungakino, Wanganui, Napier, Kaikohe

The survey questions were –

Question 1: What is working well for you and your students in the current system?

Question 2: What needs are not being met currently?

Question 3: What do you see the solutions to be?

Question 4: Is your school adequately funded for your students’ special education needs?

Question 4a: Is your school adequately funded in terms of ORRS students?

Question 5: Does the SEG cover your Special Education needs?

Question 6: If not how much more, percentage wise, do you think the SEG would need to be raised by to cover the demand for programmes or resources?

Question 7: On a scale of 1-5 how important is the retention of the following?

Well resourced mainstreaming

Special Education units

Special Schools

Question 8: Would you support the SEG being targeted to students on the same basis as ESOL funding is now, with an easy set of criteria covering literacy, numeracy and behavioural issues, to assess students against their age level group?

The survey results give a dramatic, crystal clear snapshot of special education services as well as specific, quantitative feedback on the gaps in resourcing.

The report will be released tomorrow morning – 19th October.

John Minto - National Chairperson Linda Williams - National Secretary

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