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Special education funding needed urgently, say principals

Principals are calling for additional resources to deal with the growing number of students presenting with high behavioural and learning needs.

Whetu Cormick, president of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF), says he is receiving calls from principals “up and down the country, desperate to accommodate students with very high behavioural and learning challenges, who simply do not have access to expert professionals, support or resources to keep these challenging students in their schools”.

It is not a case of schools not wishing to be inclusive, it is a question of keeping all students and their teachers safe and engaged in their learning and teaching.

“The complexity and severity of some young peoples’ needs calls for much more than capable and inclusive teachers,” says Mr Cormick. “Teachers are not trained to be psychiatrists and social workers.”

He suggests it is time for a multi-disciplinary approach.

“We need a three-pronged approach including the Ministries of Education, Health and Social Development to provide urgent help to schools who cannot otherwise be expected to accommodate these very high-needs and challenging students.”

 

About Anna Clements

Anna Clements is the School News print and digital editor. She has a background in journalism spanning 25 years across newspapers, magazines and television, and spent six years working as an editorial advisor to a group of ECE centres.

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