The Green Party today announced a plan to prioritise improving inclusive education services so that every Kiwi kid gets to fully participate in school life.
In government, the Green Party will increase education funding by $315 million over three years to build a more inclusive education system. The Green Party will:
Properly fund a full-time Children’s Champion for every 400 children to coordinate support for children with high needs (currently called a Special Education Needs Co-ordinator), costing $70 million over three years.
A $5 million annual School Camp fund to support students with additional learning needs to attend camps and other activities that should be enjoyed by all kids.
Double funding for the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme and the Early Intervention Service at an additional cost of $215 million over three years to increase the number of students who can access these services.
Invest $25 million over three years in targeted learning support professional development for teachers.
Centrally fund school support staff to ensure that all students get the help they need.
Ensure every child can be included at their local school, by strengthening the child rights provisions in the Education Act.
Establish new processes to reduce the number of children who get suspended or excluded, especially those with learning support needs.
“The Green Party will ensure every child, regardless whether they have different needs or not, can have a world class education at their local school or ECE,” said Green Party education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.
“All children benefit when schools are inclusive and every child’s needs are being met.
“Less stress on teachers means happier kids who are more confident in their learning, and more creative strategies in the classroom creates a better learning environment.
“Thousands of children and their families have struggled to access the support services that they need, and our children’s education is too important to stuff up.
“Funding a Children’s Champion for every 400 kids means there will be one in almost every school freeing up teachers’ and principals’ time to focus on actually teaching.
“Having more school support staff in the classroom allows teachers to give more time to all children.
“School camps are an enjoyable part of the school year, but some kids are being left out because of funding pressures and attitudinal barriers.
“Many children with learning support needs like autism and dyslexia are not having their needs met in our schools at the moment, and the education system needs to be better funded and changed to make support more accessible,” Ms Delahunty said.
Read more about the policy here.