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MIL OSI – Source: New Zealand First – Press Release/Statement

Headline: Government Ignores Special Needs Students At Its Peril

Major cracks are emerging in the education sector as the government’s one-size-fits all approach to education leaves schools and special needs students in the lurch, says New Zealand First’s Education Spokesperson Tracey Martin.

“Northland principals are struggling to cope with funding shortfalls as more new entrants arrive at school with extreme behavioural problems,” says Mrs Martin.

“Surely, when principals describe extreme cases in which five-year-olds threaten to kill the government should be taking emergency action.

“The government is also cutting a special needs programme in Auckland, by turning a preschool into a playgroup, and stopping funds for many of the children attending.

“There seems to be an attitude that schools just have to cope.

“Parents of special needs pre-schoolers should not be left without options when the government claims it’s simply enforcing policy when it stops schools from running preschool special needs programmes.

“Lack of funding for special needs and the lack of investment in activity centres and alternative education providers has created this situation and it is getting worse.

“New Zealand First would review the budget for Special Education to meet the needs of all students.

“We’d tackle the shortage of specialists in the special education sector, including psychologists and speech language therapists.

“New Zealand First would create professional development training for teacher aides.

“There are too many children in need of extra help in education who are being pushed aside, putting more pressure on schools already under financial strain. 

“We’re heading for a dire situation in the not so distant future,” says Mrs Martin.