If we aspire to a flourishing country of equal opportunity we have to recognise some people need more help.
Nine months ago the Coalition Government committed to providing 600 additional learning support coordinators to schools by next year.
It was really disheartening to find out last week just how inequitable and unfair the allocation of the policy has been with many schools and children missing out in communities that have huge numbers of children with additional needs.
It appears the Government has not actively targeted the policy to schools with the most need, but instead only allocated to schools that are implementing the Government’s learning support delivery model.
Many principals are upset and angry. They didn’t know this would be the criteria and weren’t offered the opportunity to be part of it. A school that may already have huge resource might get one or two extra coordinators and schools with little or no resource and high needs miss out.
Investment in early intervention and learning support is a positive step for children and families who need assistance. National invested record amounts for learning support of around $658 million a year by the time we left office, a 30 per cent increase since 2008.
Rather than just pour more money in we knew we needed to reform the system itself and we kicked off an update of learning support which included testing a new model that aimed to make accessing learning support simpler and quicker.
It’s imperative this Government ensures all children have access to world-class educational services to reach their full potential. I am working with my colleagues to encourage the Minister to change her decisions so children with complex needs get the support they deserve and communities like Bay of Plenty don’t miss out.