20 Oct 2010

Special needs plan to address failings in schools

7:21 pm on 20 October 2010

The Government has launched a plan it says will address the failing of half of schools to be inclusive of special needs students.

The plan has stemmed from a review of the special education sector and was launched by Associate Minister of Education Rodney Hide in Auckland on Wednesday.

It follows an Education Review Office report earlier this year which found that only 50% of schools were inclusive.

Mr Hide says the focus of the plan is to change the culture of schools so that pupils can choose to go to any mainstream school.

He says the Government plans for 80% of schools to be inclusive by 2014 and for the others to be on track to being so.

Some 1100 students will benefit from Ongoing and Reviewable Resourcing Schemes for teacher aides and other help, while 1000 more children will get individualised specialist support for the first three years of their schooling.

It will be compulsory for training teachers to learn about inclusive education. Special schools will not be closed.

The majority of money was already allocated in this year's Budget and only $6.4 million of extra funding is being granted as part of the plan announced on Wednesday.

The Labour Party says the Government's plan to reform the special education sector will fail unless it pumps in more resources.

Labour spokesperson Grant Robertson says without more resources, he doubts the Government will achieve its goal.