First Steps To Implement Special Education Review
Associate Education Minister Lianne Dalziel today announced the first steps of a package to help schools to support children with special education needs from the beginning of next year.
“This Government has listened to families and schools throughout the country, and it believes better support is needed,” Lianne Dalziel said.
In the Budget we allocated $48 million over four years to enable us to respond quickly to the findings of the Wylie Review. Today's announcement will use up $30.2 million of that funding.
“It is our intention to see that schools really can include all children with special needs in their programmes.”
Today’s announcement follows a review of the Special Education 2000 policy earlier this year by Dr Cathy Wylie, who carried out a wide consultation with schools, parents, educationalists, special education providers and disability organisations.
Lianne Dalziel said that from next year:
Eligibility for inclusion in the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme will be widened to take into consideration children with combined moderate needs in three areas – therapy, specialist support, and requirements for curriculum adaptation. Currently, eligibility is restricted to children with high or very high needs in at least one of the categories.
New funding will specifically support students identified as having fragile health needs.
The Ongoing Resourcing Scheme will be amended so that reviews will be requested only for students whose need for support is likely to change significantly.
Lianne Dalziel said other aspects of today's package focus on supporting schools provide a better service for all children with special education needs.
For special schools and schools with units for students with physical disabilities, funding will be allocated over a further three years to fund physiotherapists and occupational therapists, and a research project has been commissioned to identify best practice.
Lianne Dalziel said the Ministry of Education would establish a working party to look at staffing issues, particularly around staffing for units and schools that have a higher than average number of students with moderate needs. Current bridging funding would be extended through 2001 to support those schools through the period of transition.
A key priority for special education was to provide sound professional development, as well as a high standard of advice and information to schools. There would be:
New funding for professional development for teacher aides
$1.2 million to develop and distribute best practice guidelines and resource materials developed in consultation with the sector
Funding for new facilitators
Raising with teacher training providers the need for special education component for all pre-service teacher training.
“These first steps being taken by the Government to address the needs of our students with special education needs can be implemented from the beginning of 2001,” Lianne Dalziel said.
“While they will make significant progress towards resolving the major issues identified by Dr Wylie’s review, there are further important decisions to be made before the end of the year.
“I anticipate that in November, the Government will be in a position to announce decisions regarding the recommendation to establish a national network of support and resource centres and about the future role of Specialist Education Services (SES).”