Cautious support for extra funding for young children with learning needs
“We owe it to every child to make sure they have the support they need to succeed at each step of the way through the education system” says Clare Wells, chief executive NZ Kindergartens. “We welcome increased resourcing to support young children with additional learning needs but that should not be at the expense of children as they move through their schooling years.”
“One in ten children attending ECE receives some form of ‘special education’ support: these children all go on to school. That’s 20,000 children and their families for whom earlier intervention and support could make all the difference in the world,” said Clare Wells.
"There will be many children who will continue to need considerable support as they move through the system. However, targeting resources for earlier intervention, particularly around communication and behaviour, will mean many young children will need limited or perhaps no additional support as they progress through their schooling years." says Clare Wells. "That has to be a good outcome for the child and family."
In 2015, the kindergarten sector published a report Success for every learner: . The report examined current policy and practice and made a number of recommendations. These included the need for more timely access to learning support, greater consistency in access to services across regions and better access to qualified early intervention teachers. The report noted the current emphasis on sustained interventions is predominantly focused on the school years and in order to ensure every child succeeds, we need to recalibrate the current framework to focus more boldly on what happens before children start school.
“It is welcome news for children and their families, over 180,000 of whom attend a teacher-led ECE service,” Clare Wells said. “To maximise the benefit, it is time for the government to make a stand and require all staff to be fully qualified and registered teachers, be well supported by experts and have access to effective professional development.”
"It is critical that the resources are tagged to providing quality services for all young children who need learning support, along with expert advice and support for parents and whānau and the ECE services the children attend. These are the conditions that will mean all young children experience success as learners," Clare Wells says.