21 September 2018

NZEI Te Riu Roa is welcoming the Government’s plan for a Learning Support Coordinator in every school to work with our most vulnerable children and to get them the support that they need as part of a draft disability and learning support action plan published today.

Acting Minister of Education Tracey Martin has said that the design of the role would be completed with the sector this year with the goal of funding one in every school in Budget 2019.

“This is something that NZEI has been campaigning on for a long time - the formalisation of the SENCO role. Teachers and parents have also been asking for resourcing to support this role," said NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart. 

“The SENCO role has been tagged on to teachers’ and principals’ other duties, and with more children being identified as having additional needs, schools are struggling to get children the support they need."

She said it was critical that the new role was properly resourced, with release time for teachers taking up the role, professional development and financial recognition of the skills and expertise the job required.

Introducing new teacher staffing and resourcing entitlement for schools to employ, train and pay a SENCO, is a key claim by teachers in the current negotiations for the Primary Teachers Collective Agreement.

“We welcome this initiative but we want to see it rolled into any final settlement of the Primary Teachers Collective Agreement, along with guarantees of funding in budget 2019.

“We also want to celebrate with all the tamariki and their families who have struggled in the past to find help. Establishing this role and implementing the other actions in the action plan give us hope that that the increasing number of children identified with additional learning needs will get the support they so badly need."

NZEI Te Riu Roa has done initial costing on an in-school learning support coordinator role pro-rated depending on school roll, at $108-111 million, in its Briefing Paper.