Improvements Needed To Make The Most Of Learning Support Coordinators
A report released today evaluating the effectiveness of Learning Support Coordinators (LSCs) in schools shows a glaring gap between schools that have access to these specialists and those that don’t – and it needs to be addressed, says Melanie Webber, PPTA Te Wehengarua President.
“The intention behind this initiative is great, but the way these positions have been allocated unfortunately adds to the inequities among schools in Aotearoa New Zealand.”
The LSC roles were introduced in 2020 to improve schools’ response to the one in five learners who have learning support needs. The role is designed to add capacity and capability to kura/schools and clusters of kura/schools (clusters) to better meet the needs of students with mild to moderate, neurodiverse, or high and-complex learning support needs.
Melanie Webber says many dedicated and extremely skilled specialist teachers work as Learning Support Coordinators in secondary and area schools. “We just need more of them. The model needs to allow schools more flexibility to have a dedicated Learning Support Coordinator within their school, to meet the needs of the students and community.
“The evaluation shows that to be more effective there needs to be a leadership role, better professional development and a career pathway. These are points that have been made consistently by PPTA since the role was first announced.
“The evaluation highlights what our members have been telling us that working across a diverse range of schools in a cluster, including with Māori medium and special character schools, is extremely difficult, especially when there are long distances between them.
Melanie Webber says the evaluation shows the high level of skill and experience that LSCs are bringing to their work is making up for issues with design and infrastructure support. “These teachers need to have better recognition to keep them in these roles.”