NZEI welcomes Govt support for children with extra needs


NZEI Te Riu Roa welcomes the education policies outlined today in the agreements between Labour and New Zealand First and the Greens.

NZEI President Lynda Stuart said parents and educators would be especially pleased that the Labour-Green confidence and supply deal included ensuring that children with special needs and learning disabilities can fully participate in school.

“Too many children are missing out on the support they need because the current funding for specialists, teacher aides, professional support and other learning resources is so inadequate.

“To enable full participation in school, we’ll need to see a huge boost to special needs funding. That will make a world of difference for our students,” she said.

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The education aspects of the Labour and NZ First coalition deal are also welcome, she said. They are: Restore funding for gifted students and Computers in Homes, pilot counsellors in primary schools, free driver training for all secondary school students and restarting Te Kotahitanga teacher professional development.

Ms Stuart said the improvement in family incomes from the increase in the minimum wage up to $20 BY 2020 would have a positive benefit for children and their learning, as well as helping low-paid education workers such as teacher aides.

Ms Stuart said the three parties agreed on a number of key education policies beyond today’s deals that educators wanted to see speedy progress on.

“We’re looking forward to the immediate scrapping of National Standards and charter schools, and the restoration of funding for 100% qualified teachers in ECE,” she said.

“Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First have all promised to restore funding for schools and early childhood education.

“The biggest challenges that schools and ECE services are facing are underfunding and a teacher supply crisis. A funding jolt for schools and ECE services, pay equity for school support staff and a significant pay rise for teachers are needed to rebuild New Zealand’s public education system into a world class one.

“The incoming minister and coalition government have the opportunity to make children a priority once again. Our children deserve the best education in the world, and New Zealand can afford to provide it.”