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Children’s Commissioner welcomes ERO report

Children’s Commissioner welcomes ERO report on special education

23 July

Children’s Commissioner John Angus welcomes the Education Review Office report on special education released today.

“The conclusions of the report are consistent with the type of stories we hear when frustrated parents of special needs children ring our advice line,” he said.

“In the past year we’ve received about 250 calls related to education. One of the most common issues is special education, and many of the parents we hear from are at the end of their tether. Some are distraught after continued attempts to get funding and resources for their child’s education.

“I particularly agree with the recommendations from the ERO about better leadership in schools and the need for professional development of teachers school-wide. On a more fundamental level, the culture in our education system needs to change so that special needs children get the education they deserve.

“In my submission to the Ministry of Education’s review of special education, my office stressed that teacher attitude is paramount. Attitude contributes more to a child’s success in education than funding or policies and legislation.

“I am meeting with the Minister responsible for special education next week, and I look forward to discussing some of these matters with her.”

Examples of the types of issues faced by students with special needs:

• Students are told they cannot attend school full-time or they must stay home whenever the teacher aide is not there;
• Students with disabilities are being sent home whenever they ‘misbehave’;
• Students with behavioural difficulties are not allowed to go on school camp;
• Students with diverse educational needs have faced Board of Trustees disciplinary hearings and are regularly stood down, suspended, or excluded for behaviour that is a recognised symptom of a medical condition or disability;
• Students with high physical and intellectual needs are not taken on school outings because they require too many resources;
• Children with diverse needs are often the targets of bullying by their peers.


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