Budget 2018: Learning support funding ‘just tinkers around the edges’
IHC is pleased learning support has received a funding boost in today’s education Budget, but says a complete rebuild is needed so that every child gets what they need to learn.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced earlier today the Government would invest $273 million over the next four years into learning support.
The largest slice of the pie will be used to include roughly 1,000 additional children in the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) which provides vital support for students with the highest and most complex learning needs.
“This boost is in recognition of the desperate need for additional funding that has been recognised by families, principals and others for decades,” says IHC’s Director of Advocacy Trish Grant.
But while this is a good start, IHC questions whether the additional spaces will meet the current need and what will be in place for those who do not reach the threshold for ORS.
“We see this as an interim solution, and we hope the larger system-wide review will include identifying exactly how many children require additional support to learn, and how much that will cost.
“Every child with learning disabilities should get the help they need to learn.”
Teacher aide funding will increase by $59 million, and there is an additional $30 million to provide more support to deaf and low-vision students.
“Although this is big money, and it will be welcomed, we hope this will initiate a larger conversation around equality, including accurate costing around how many children require support.”
Early childhood education received $590 million in new operating funding over four years, as well as a 1.6 per cent funding increase for ECE centres from January 2019.
The Government also announced on Sunday that early intervention services will receive an extra $272,000 capital to support the IT costs of additional staff.
“It will help those with communication and behavioural challenges to access the curriculum when they start school, but if they enter into a system with a flawed funding framework then those benefits will not be sustained in the long-term.
“We hope Government will have the courage to rebuild this policy and its framework.”