Government recognizes children with high needs have failed in school

Children with high needs are failing in school – this was accepted by the government today.

“For every seven kids who get support and learning supports, there are three who probably aren’t, well, that’s not enough,” said Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti.

It comes as Minister Tinetti announced the government is working on designing a new system that better supports children with the highest needs.

“It includes seven building blocks for change, a new service delivery system, tailored personalized supports, an integrated and inclusive school network,” Tinetti said.

But the new model has not yet been designed and there are still more than six months before delivery.

Currently, about 5% of students are likely to have high unmet need at some point in their school career. This means that over the course of a year, approximately 25,000 students may not receive the support they need to participate effectively in early learning or school.

National education spokeswoman Erica Stanford said today’s announcement was the panic of the government.

“What we heard from Jan Tinetti today was another report and another system, moving the deck chairs which did not solve the fundamental problem of how to get the money to the children who need it the most need,” Stanford said.

PPTA President Melanie Webber said she would not believe the announcement until she saw the corresponding funding in the 2023 budget.

“It’s been heartbreaking for teachers, to see the lack of support, it’s really difficult when you see this in your classroom and you can’t access it for them, so we want to see it very quickly,” said said Webber.

Minister Tinetti made the announcement at Berhampore School in Wellington this morning.

School principal Mark Potter said he’s been waiting decades to see these changes, and now he sees the potential for it to happen.

“What I’m looking for is where is the glue that will hold this together, where are the real resources and commitment to these aspects that will make the difference,” Potter said.

Mark Potter also added concerns about what would happen with the proposed new model if there were to be a change of government next year.

1News raised the concern with National Education Spokesperson Erica Stanford.

“National will be committed to ensuring that the funds we spend on learning support reach the children who need it most, which is what I will commit to,” said Erica Stanford.

The Department for Education will work alongside the Department for People with Disabilities to design and develop the new system, with a business case due to be presented by June next year.