December 16, 2005
Most Schools Doing As Well As They Can In Special Education Provision
"Educating children with special needs requires more than just giving schools a quantum of money and leaving them to get on with it," says NZEI Te Riu Roa National President, Colin Tarr.
His comments follow the release today of two ERO (Education Review Office) reports that assess how effectively schools use Government funding provided for children with special educational needs.
ERO found that schools use of the Special Education Grant, (SEG) which is money provided for students with moderate special needs, varied from highly effective to ineffective. A separate review of Ongoing Reviewable Resourcing Schemes, (ORRS) which provide resourcing for individual students with a higher level of special needs, found that the majority of schools are using this resourcing effectively to improve student outcomes.
"The reports contain no surprises," says Colin Tarr. "It's generally recognised that most schools are doing as well as they can, with the resourcing they have available for special needs education programmes."
"There are, however, some significant questions as to the adequacy of the funding."
"The reports show us that as well as providing schools with funding for special education, its vital that every school can access the help it needs, to ensure the resourcing is used effectively."
It's good to see that ERO acknowledges this view in its report on the use of Special Education Grants. It states that schools ability to improve student outcomes, through the use of the grants, would be enhanced by providing them with advice, support and guidance.
"We want to see follow through from ERO and the Ministry of Education to ensure that advice, support and guidance, is provided to the schools who need extra help in their use of the Special Education Grants," says Colin Tarr.
A review of school operations funding has just begun and NZEI hopes it will take note of the findings made in these ERO reports. "One of the outcomes we want to see from the review is that schools are given the funding and resources they need to provide quality special education."
It's essential that every school has the core resources it needs to ensure special needs students are given an equitable education. "Teacher aides play a vital role in assisting with the education of special needs students, but it's essential that every school is staffed to ensure that teacher aides are not used as a replacement for teachers in this area," says Colin Tarr.