Thousands of tamariki are already missing out on the learning support they need to thrive, and any cuts in government budgets must not affect support they need, NZEI Te Riu Roa said today.
NZEI Te Riu Roa has today written to the Secretary for Education to seek assurance that budget cuts announced by the Minister of Finance will not impact on learning support provision, including Learning Support specialists employed by the Ministry of Education.
Specialists such as speech language therapists, early intervention teachers, teachers of the deaf and psychologists work directly with students with learning needs in schools and ECE services but funding for them was frozen under the previous National Government because they were not considered “frontline” staff.
President Mark Potter said that the current Government was already aware that too many students were not getting the learning support they needed because the funding was not keeping track with the need.
“For every seven students who receive learning support, there’s around three who may have a potential unmet high need at some point during their education journey.
Our Ngā Aukaha – All In For Tamariki campaign is drawing attention to the unmet need in learning support, and we need urgent investment in learning support to help tamariki thrive."
Note to editor:
Ngā Aukaha campaign states five clear immediate solutions for an inclusive education system:
- Fund a dedicated Learning Support Coordinator or SENCO in every school and early childhood centre.
- Expand the ORS criteria and increase the funding available so that it is based on need, rather than a fixed amount of funding available.
- Increase dedicated teacher aide funding in early childhood centres and schools.
- Increase the number of specialists (e.g. psychologists, physiotherapists and resource teachers) to meet student need.
- Develop and provide greater professional development (including career pathways) and specialist opportunities for educators to develop their understanding of learning support, including Initial Teacher Education.