8 Sep 2017

Speech therapy for pupil after media coverage

7:23 pm on 8 September 2017

A pupil with a cleft palate who needed speech therapy has finally been approved for help - but only after his mother and the school went public, a Northland principal says.

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Photo: 123rf

The 11-year-old from Kaeo in the Far North was beginning to fall silent because he was embarrassed by his speech impediment.

Kaeo primary principal Paul Barker said that after RNZ ran stories about the boy back in April, the Ministry of Education offered to help the school apply for specialist support, which had since come through.

"We've had several other attempts to get the appropriate support for him that weren't successful.

"It just seems a terrible shame to me that he had to spend some time in the public view to get something he deserved and needed right from the start," Mr Barker said.

The Ministry's Deputy Secretary Katrina Casey said it did take a little longer than she would have liked to get the child the support he needed.

"We're pleased that the school feels he has now got that support and that the right outcome has been achieved," she said.

The Ministry was working to make learning support services easier to access as part of the Learning Support Update currently underway, Ms Casey said.

Mr Barker also spoke out recently on RNZ's Checkpoint about a sudden influx of new pupils from homeless families who had been put up in a local holiday park.

He said he was pleased the Ministry had responded quickly with more resources and funding for a new classroom.

Kaeo school is expecting a visit this afternoon from the Labour leader Jacinda Adern, but Mr Barker said he was not expecting any promises from her.

He said he hoped whatever government is elected this month would begin trusting teachers and listening to schools about the resources they need.

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