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Minister of Education’s Decision is a Victory for Families

Media Release

28 August 2012

Minister of Education’s Decision is a Victory for Families

CCS Disability Action says the Minister of Education’s decision to expand the Intensive Wraparound Service will enable more students and their families to have a wider choice in their education than ever before.

CCS Disability Action’s Chief Executive, David Matthews, said that the Ministry of Education had made a difficult decision, but that it was a positive one and has created a “win win” situation by retaining half of the residential special schools and introducing a wrap around service option.

“While I feel for the staff of the two schools closing, at the end of the day it is about what is best for students and their families. The bottom line is that more students will receive support and that this support will be available where they need it the most; in their local community and at their local school.”

“We need to develop more ways to include everyone in their local schools with their peers. This is the only way to create lasting solutions that enable everyone to become valued individuals in their community in later life”.

Under the changes, two schools will be retained and two closed. The overall numbers of students currently attending residential special schools will only be reduced by 15 to around 100 students because the schools have been running below capacity.

This small reduction will enable an extra 110 students to be supported by the Intensive Wraparound Service. Mr. Matthews was unequivocal that this would enable our education system to be more inclusive.

“Now is the time to move forward towards a truly inclusive education system that serves the needs of all students. The residential special school option will still be there for those who feel the level of support in their local school is inadequate, but more and more students will receive the support they need in their local school.”

“I know change can create concern, but we need to advance inclusive education in New Zealand. The students going to school right now will be the future generation. The future they face will be determined by the education they receive and the best possible future is one where people with disabilities stand alongside their non-disabled peers. An inclusive future begins with an inclusive education.”

Mr. Matthews hoped that the Ministry of Education and the Government would continue down the path of inclusive education to enable disabled students to have the best possible future.

ENDS


CCS Disability Action Background Information

CCS Disability Action works in partnership with disabled people, their families, and whanau to ensure equality of opportunity, quality of life, and by helping to create environments of inclusion. New Zealand is made up of disabled people, their families, and whanau; CCS Disability Action aims to assist all people who face barriers on the basis of disability.

CCS Disability Action delivers regular services to over 4,900 people with disabilities, making us one of the largest disability support service providers in New Zealand. CCS Disability Action works closely with other disability agencies to make the best use of shared knowledge and resources, helping us to adopt best practice across the sector. CCS Disability Action also works with government to make sure that those with disabilities have the same rights to relationships, learning, work, recreation and community as everyone else.

Our foundation statement, Te Hunga Haua Mauri Mo Nga Tangata Katoa, forms the basis of our identity. It reminds us that all people have mauri, life force, and that all life force is equal. Our vision is to build a truly inclusive New Zealand; a country that embraces diversity.

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