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IHC Urges Budget Decision To Protect The Most Vulnerable

IHC is urging the Ministry of Education to think hard and act fairly when it comes to finding ways to meet the Government’s savings target by ensuring there is funding to address inequities.

IHC’s From Data to Dignity Report on the health and wellbeing indicators for people with intellectual disabilities shows the rates of participation in early childhood education (ECE) for Pacific and Māori children with intellectual disabilities needs to be on a par with non-disabled children – and it’s not.

“Bottoms on seats are a poor indication of educational achievement or inclusion,” says IHC Director of Advocacy Tania Thomas. “Collecting learning outcomes data is needed not only to show that the system is working but that it is value for money.

“ECE is crucial for cognitive, social, emotional and physical development, and better prepares children for school.

“Key to ensuring the participation of Pacific and Māori children is ECE teachers being cross-culturally trained and having the capacity to teach diverse learners, including those with an intellectual disability.

“ECE also needs to be affordable, as poverty and low attendance at ECE are linked, which compounds disadvantage for these children.”

IHC’s report does show that there has been increased achievement of intellectually disabled students in compulsory schooling, but Tania says there is still a lot of work to do to make our education system inclusive.

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“Cuts to learning support will severely undermine future achievements. Intellectually disabled Pākeha students are currently the group with the lowest rates of qualifications and any cuts will lower their achievement rates further.

“We may have a new government but the issues being raised about the discrimination against intellectually disabled students are old, so it would be good to get some new action from a new government.

“New actions that would see a drop in the number of disabled students stood down, suspended from school and having to move schools.

“New actions that make it easier for a quarter of young disabled students and 40 percent of older students to play and make friends.

“New actions that stop intellectually disabled students in specialist residential schools as young as eight being physically restrained.

“New actions that support increasing teacher capacity, monitoring, collecting, reporting, and using learning outcomes data.”

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