9 Sep 2014

Greens promise special education boost

8:04 pm on 9 September 2014

The Green Party is promising a major boost to special needs education by doubling the number of children who receive the highest level of support at a cost of $95 million a year.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Greens' co-leader, Metiria Turei, made the policy announcement at primary school in Christchurch on Tuesday.

Under the plan, more than 8000 additional children would be able to access the Ongoing Resources Scheme, a programme which provides support to students with the highest level of need. At present, 7900 students receive that support.

"An arbitrary cap on the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme means only one per cent of kids are funded for support, regardless of the actual number of kids who need it. That's unacceptable," Ms Turei said.

She said the increased funding would also free up money available through grants to support children with more moderate needs.

The Greens would also inject another $15 million into early intervention services to help identify which students needed more support while in preschool.

Ms Turei said early childhood education centres were at crisis point, with it taking almost a year to get a service provided by the Ministry.

The Green Party is also promising to carry out a review of special education in New Zealand. The entire policy would cost $345 million over three years.

The National Party last week pledged to provide an extra 800,000 teacher aide hours for children with special needs at a cost of $18 million a year.

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Photo: AFP

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