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Top Marks for Tomorrow's Schools Review

IHC has given the Government’s review of Tomorrow’s Schools an A minus grade.

But IHC warns it will be keeping a close eye on whether the outcomes match the rhetoric – and is launching an annual education survey to keep track of progress.

“Today’s announcement goes a long way to ensure disabled children get a fair go at school,” says IHC Director of Advocacy Trish Grant.

“Families of disabled children have experienced lots of changes and disappointments over the years. There are encouraging signs they’ve been listened to and consulted.

“This a big step towards a world class inclusive education system.”

Trish Grant also welcomed the announcement the Ministry of Education will continue to work and consult with disability rights groups.

“There is more focus on structural and systemic changes to help students achieve success. Disabled children have faced disadvantages around enrolments, fair processes and getting the same opportunities as other students. This announcement goes towards acknowledging and addressing that.

“It’s great that they’re removing the enrolment schemes that created ‘magnet schools’. A more regional approach to resourcing and services means every student should get what they need to learn and participate at their local school.

“Does the review go far enough? No.”

Trish Grant says IHC had wanted to see an Independent Education Review Tribunal established, to ensure that decisions made about students are subject to scrutiny external from the education system.

While the relationship between the new Education Service Agency and schools isn’t clear, IHC hopes that resources will be unlocked so that students and schools have easy access to the building blocks of an inclusive education system.

Trish Grant welcomes the new objectives for school boards to ensure children’s rights to safety and wellbeing and learning outcomes, implementing the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and inclusion and equity.

However, while the announcements today read well, Trish Grant says more detail is needed for families to have confidence that these changes will result in an inclusive education system.

“IHC will be conducting an annual survey of families, schools and disability groups to track whether students with disabilities experience improved outcomes.”

The first survey will be carried out later this month and establish a baseline for future results, Trish Grant says.


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