14 Oct 2016

Funding for vulnerable school kids won't scratch surface - principal

8:02 am on 14 October 2016

Extra funding being introduced to help vulnerable children in schools will not even scratch the surface of their needs, a Northland principal says.

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Photo: 123rf

The government has set aside $12 million for children from families on long-term welfare across New Zealand.

However, Ruakaka Primary School principal Marilyn Dunn said for her school that worked out to only four hours of teacher aid time per child, per year.

"I think that the [education] minister really needs to acknowledge the difference in our modern-day child, really," she said.

"We have so many children coming to school now, affected by so many social issues out there.

"There's drugs and alcohol and unemployment, gangs, that sort of thing. All that makes it very difficult for children coming into a school environment."

Mrs Dunn said such children needed one-on-one attention all day to adjust to school life.

A growing number of them had recently been thrust onto elderly grandparents to raise because the parents were meth addicts, she said.

Ruakaka school had set up a grandparents group to help them, she said, because they often did not understand how modern schools worked or how to deal with WINZ.

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