Families let down by Education Select Committee report

An Education Select Committee inquiry report into learning needs for children with significant challenges has found large holes in the current system, but does not go far enough to address them, the Green Party said today.

An Education Select Committee inquiry report into learning needs for children with significant challenges has found large holes in the current system, but does not go far enough to address them, the Green Party said today.

Green Party education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty helped initiate the select committee inquiry into identification and support for students with learning challenges, including dyslexia, dyspraxia, and autism spectrum.

“Despite initiating the inquiry, I am unable to stand behind the final report as it doesn’t go far enough to get these children and families the support they need,” said Ms Delahunty.

“The report is a start, but as we have made clear in the Labour, Greens and NZ First minority report; without increased funding and enshrining in law a child’s right to an inclusive education, our broken system cannot be fixed.

“The inquiry heard from hundreds of parents and children about how hard it is to access genuine inclusion and resources for kids who need learning support.

“When a select committee hears these kinds of stories, there is a duty for MPs to take heed and to make recommendations that will fix the problem.

“The report, which was presented to Parliament on Friday, does not go nearly far enough to get the kind of help – more teacher aide hours, speech therapy, and access to specialists – that these kids need.

“The Ministry currently doesn’t know how many kids have learning support needs, and so we don’t know how many kids are missing out on help and their learning potential.

“When the funding for learning support is capped, and parents have to compete against each other to gain funding, no one gets the assistance they need.

“The rights of learners with disabilities to access an education need to be enshrined in the Education Act – we shouldn’t need to keep having this debate.

“Thank you to all the children, parents, families, teaching professionals, and carers who submitted to the inquiry; the struggle to get an inclusive education system goes on.

“There will be a community response to the select committee report held at the Parliament Theatrette on December 8, which everyone with an interest in learning support needs is welcome to attend. This event will focus on best practice for learning support on an issue that affects many New Zealand families,” said Ms Delahunty.  

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