CATHERINE DELAHUNTY: Every kid gets a chance

01/09/2017

OPINION: Every kid gets a chance

The Green Party are passionate about improving inclusive education services so that every Kiwi kid gets to fully participate in school life. We just announced our inclusive education policy to increase funding by $315million per year for children with additional learning needs.

Our education system is broken and not working for thousands of children around New Zealand, but we can do better.

The Green Party would 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). 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. We would double funding for key programmes that help children, like the Early Intervention Scheme, and the Ongoing Resources Scheme.

Too many children with learning support needs like autism and dyslexia are being overlooked. Learning support resources are stretched too thinly, and kids are being denied their human right to learn. Currently, support and funding is fragmented and complicated to apply for, with thousands of children missing out on the support they need.

Schools and teachers need better funding and training so they can help their students to have the best possible education experience and build an inclusive classroom culture. The Green Party wants to see greater professional development for staff across our education system. This includes teachers in our primary, secondary, and early childhood sector, as well as support staff. This PD is needed at initial teacher education, but also to change things for the children currently being educated.

The Green Party is keen to see every kid being able to enjoy participating at their school camp. Currently, many 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 School Camps Fund, providing financial assistance to include all students in school camps.

Children with additional learning needs have not had a fair go for a long time in this country. All children benefit when schools are inclusive and every child’s needs are being met.

Catherine Delahunty Green Party Spokesperson on education