The Green Party is passionate about 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 to build a more inclusive education system.
- 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).
- Create 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 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.
- 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.
- Centrally fund school support staff to ensure that all students get the help they need.
Freeing up support for children
The Children’s Champion for every 400 children would ensure that students are properly supported. Currently, many staff in these roles are part-time and untrained in the specific learning support needs of individual students. They often do not have the time, training or resources that they need to do a good job. This will cost $70 million over three years.
School camp fund
School camps are a key part of the curriculum and something that many kids appreciate and enjoy. Children with high and moderate learning support needs have often been excluded from camps due to funding pressures and attitudinal barriers to their full participation. The Green Party will create a $5 million annual School Camps Fund to provide financial assistance to include all students in school camps. This will help pay for the support staff, equipment, and infrastructure required to make sure that school camps are more accessible.
Keeping kids in schools
The Green Party will establish new processes to reduce the number of children who get suspended or excluded, especially those with learning support needs. Around 1,000 students with disabilities (high learning needs) are suspended from school every year. And we will strengthen the Education Act with a child rights focus to ensure all children with all levels of needs have a legal right to be educated alongside everyone else.
Working with staff
Funding to support children with additional learning needs is currently taken from schools’ operations grants. This means some schools have to choose whether to fund their students’ needs, or pay their power bills. The Green Party is committed to centrally funding staff so that every child who needs help can get it. We are also committed to invest $25 million more into professional development for teachers for additional learning needs.