10 Sep 2014

Greens special ed policy favoured

10:33 am on 10 September 2014

The Green Party's pledge to significantly boost special needs education and increase support has found favour with primary teachers and disability advocates.

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Photo: AFP

The Greens are promising to boost special needs education by doubling the number of children who receive the highest level of support - at a cost of $95m a year.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei made the policy announcement at primary school in Christchurch on Tuesday.

Under the plan, more than 8000 additional children would be able to access the Ongoing Resources Scheme, a programme which provides support to students with the highest level of need. At present, 7900 students receive that support.

It also said it would review the design and delivery of special education.

Primary teachers' union, the NZEI, estimates up to 60,000 children need more support for their special needs.

Union President Judith Nowotarski said the policy would ensure children with very high needs get the help they require.

"They won't miss out on having access or being able to be absorbed or participate in schools. I think all teachers and principals would definitely welcome that, as will support staff who assist the children."

IHC also said the policy would make a real difference.

Its director of advocacy, Trish Grant said the extra money is important, but an overhaul of the system would make a real difference.

"The amount of money is an interim sign of good faith. It certainly puts some meat on the bones that schools and children desperately need. But I think the bigger promise around a review and overhaul of the whole policy is significant."

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Photo: AFP

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