President of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF) Denise Torrey has welcomed Education Minister Hekia Parata’s announcement that $2.5 million will be allocated to support children in classrooms with high learning needs in the next two terms.
She says this is “a great start, chipping the surface of what has become a seriously problematic area of schooling”.
“We are delighted that the Minister has turned her focus to special education right at the beginning of the year,” Ms Torrey says, “and we are pleased that there will now be some real support for the teachers of at least 1500 students who represent some of our greatest classroom challenges.”
Ever since NZPF collected the results of a survey on special education issues over a year ago, principals have been advocating for a re-examination of special education provision including how funding is allocated and administered. A cross- sector hui to thrash out the problems was proposed by NZPF but roundly rejected by the Minister at that time.
“I am optimistic that the acknowledgement by the Minister that the special education space is in need of attention will herald a renewed commitment to looking more deeply into how we can work together to give our special needs children the appropriate schooling experiences they so richly deserve and which so many schools are not currently equipped to offer,” Ms Torrey says.