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Radical Change Urgently Needed In Alternative Education – Children’s Commissioner

Children’s Commissioner Judge Frances Eivers welcomes yesterday’s report on Alternative Education in Aotearoa by the Education Review Office (ERO).

An alternative education? Support for our most disengaged young people looks at how the education system is serving mokopuna in Alternative Education, a model that provides for more than 2000 of our most disengaged secondary school students.

“I join ERO in calling for a complete and urgent reform of Alternative Education to significantly improve learning for these mokopuna, who are the ones who most need therapeutic, wraparound support.

“The quality of this model is something I’ve voiced my concerns about for some time and I welcome ERO’s report. It is imperative that its recommendations are taken seriously by decision-makers,” Judge Eivers says.

Among its findings, the report reveals that fewer than one in 10 mokopuna in Alternative Education go on to achieve NCEA Level 2. They are more likely to receive jobseeker support, be imprisoned and earn far less than the median wage later in life.

It reports that facilities are rundown, there is inadequate funding and a lack of specialist support for the mokopuna in this system.

It also found 68% of learners in Alternative Education were Māori and 63% were male.

“In my view an alternative education system that is not equitable is a breach of Article 29 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“Alternative Education deals with young people with complex needs. Kaimahi are committed and caring and work hard to help their students stay in education, but only one in five are registered teachers.

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“Māori continue to be disproportionately represented in Alternative Education, therefore there must be an increase in by Māori, for Māori approaches to support our mokopuna in a way that is culturally safe and responsive.

“Mokopuna need to have an education where they feel supported and where they have the opportunity not only to learn, but to want to learn. Education should be an enjoyable experience for them.

“Government has a responsibility to ensure that all students have access to an inclusive and equitable education.”

The ERO research paper can be read here:

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