The Green Party supports the call for the Government to set up an independent tribunal that families can use to appeal schools' disciplinary actions.
Just a week after reports that kids with learning support needs have been locked in a seclusion room, YouthLaw has today released a report showing that a large number of New Zealand kids are being pressured out of school in a way which is inconsistent with the Education Act.
“Hekia Parata’s hands-off attitude is letting kids down, especially students with learning support needs. She is letting them be locked in small dark rooms and allowing them to be pressured to leave school, instead of ensuring they get the education they deserve,” said Green Party education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.
“These kids need to be in school; turfing them out is not the answer.
“An independent tribunal that determines whether a child has been unfairly excluded from school would give parents somewhere to turn when the system tells them that they’re out of options.
“We support the Government setting up a mediation service for families and schools but they also need the option of an independent tribunal when all else has failed, because the cost to these children and their families is too high.
“We also support the other calls from YouthLaw - training for principals, advocacy, and ERO reporting on informal suspension by asking how or why kids leave.
“This report reflects what we have been hearing at our Select Committee inquiry into learning support for autism, dyslexia and dyspraxia. Kids who need help are missing out and families are too often left having to pick up the pieces and work out how to find an education for their child.
“Many schools are doing a great job but some families are being let down because this Government is not supporting schools with the right guidance, and funding.
“It’s really concerning that the kids who need the most help and guidance from our education system – Māori kids and those with learning support needs – are not getting it.
“The Government needs to step up and support schools and families, not leave the kids that need educational assistance the most, out on their own,” said Ms Delahunty.