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Speaker: Prospects for inclusive education after the 2014 general election

10 Responses

  • mark taslov,

    Thanks for this Gio, very helpful, and so dismissive of the Cons that you didn’t even bothered typing the word. That’s my kind of sentence. That IM alliance is problematic. .

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart,

    Thanks for this work Gio- hope it's okay to echo Mark and call you that. You've shown that there is significant progress and that if there is a change of government to the left, we have a chance to address some serious issues in education for children with disabilities. My (now adult) daughter went through physically handicapped units for her primary schooling, in the days before ORS funding. She vehemently insists that they are NOT a good way to go and I agree. Neither can we afford to allow the current situation where schools are effectively disadvantaged if they enrol disabled children to continue. New Zealand needs every child to have the opportunity to perform to his or her potential if we are to regain a successful economy and offer a reasonable quality of life for all our people.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Angela Hart,

    New Zealand needs every child to have the opportunity to perform to his or her potential if we are to regain a successful economy and offer a reasonable quality of life for all our people.

    A point that is seldom raised - although the Greens did - is that inclusion is good for all children, regardless of ability. The fear that having disabled children in the classroom will disrupt the teaching and learning of the group is simply unfounded, so long as a school is resourced adequately and applies a robust philosophy.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Josie McNaught,

    Good post and summary - but have to say after helping special needs students this week at Western Springs College, for their mock exams, all the talk about inclusion etc is wasted if the facilities are at the third world level that WSC has been allowed to sink to. The teachers do an amazing job in terrible conditions. The special needs 'facility' at WSC is one ageing, damp, over crowded, poorly lit prefab which is not big enough to comfortably hold students in wheelchairs, (and you should see the slippery rumpty ramp outside) It has old and inappropriate furniture, books and teaching materials compete for space with students and there is no separate computer area. The classrooms for mainstream are the same. Third world in a first world city.

    WSC was supposed to have a new school building project underway by now, but the current government have let it slide. The local MP Nikki Kaye (that was - it is now David Shearer's baby) never replied to any requests from the parent group to come and visit and see for herself how important a brand new high school is for the area - until I rang Nick Jones at The Herald and he started asking questions. Then she would only come and meet at 10 am on a weekday which was hopeless for so many parents. The outcome? A big fat don't know. She said maybe the land is not suitable now for a school because of subsidence (and of course equivalent land in the area has gone through the roof thanks to the rampant housing market that has been allowed to develop in Auckland) another fob off solution? Build a multi-storey mega school from Year one to 13. Where? They have no idea. Why? ditto and why should our children be going to a multi-storey school more suited to Hong Kong than Auckland? The $50 million cost was giving Kaye a bad hair day. $50 mill? Where was she when that and more was being spent during the RWC on useless facilities like stadiums. In fact the best solution is for WSC to move into the $100 million dollar + stadium at Eden Park. The government made a decision to spend millions on that very quickly and it has facilities that WSC - and the special needs children especially can only dream about. Proper access for wheelchairs for a start! Warm, dry, nice new toilets, carpeted areas….and it sits empty day after day after day, racking up more debt.
    So yes let's support the party that supports special needs, but it's an empty policy goal if it doesn't have the best facilities to back it up.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Thanks Gio - great summary. I'd love to see the Greens get the portfolio - and I reackon if they're in govt, there's a good chance (it's definitely not on the sexy-portfolios-for-the-ambitious list).
    I've also found myself impressed by Tracey Martin - a waste, as I'm just not ever likely to vore NZ First.
    As parent of a son in a special school, I'm only half-way on inclusion. It's a nice ideal, but it's sure not there yet, and I'm not convinced mainstreaming willl ever be the best for all children.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    I'm not convinced mainstreaming willl ever be the best for all children.

    It's a very legitimate point, but the balance to be struck is very fraught. Unfortunately units and special schools are also used as a backdoor to effectively remove the option of mainstreaming.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    the balance to be struck is very fraught.

    For sure. The ideal would be parents and children having choice - much more choice than currently, with quality specialist services available to support whichever choice we made. It's not impossible.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    As communications technology improves mainstreaming will be easier and more obvious for some students currently in units or special classes. We used to assume that non verbal students also had impaired ability - but no longer. At a recent conference a standout presentation was from a non verbal teenager with severe cerebral palsy which had him strapped into his high tech chair. Through eye recognition technology he had developed a multi media presentation which was way beyond the skills of many of the older adults in the audience. A generation ago he would have been deemed uneducable.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3203 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    The cost of such equipment is the main issue, also the availability of it and people who know how to fix it when it breaks down. Currently all beyond the Ministry of Ed.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3203 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    The cost of such equipment is the main issue, also the availability of it and people who know how to fix it when it breaks down. Currently all beyond the Ministry of Ed.

    Yes but- you're talking about a small group with specific needs and equipment which lasts for a good length of time, the cost/benefit equation works.
    And yes, although I'm out of education now I can see it would be utterly beyond Minedu. For shame!

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

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