Asia-Pacific, News Apr 18, 2016
NEW ZEALAND: To put this plain and simply, New Zealand children have a right to attend their local school and more needs to be done to ensure this is a reality for children with disabilities.
We know it is still the norm for families of kids with disabilities to battle just to get their child into school, on a school camp or to access the support they need to receive a good education.
The UN Committee on the Rights of People with Disabilities consistently tells us we need to up our game, the Ministry of Education should include the rights of disabled students in their current review of the Education Act.
I’ll say it again, all New Zealand children have a right to attend and be included in their local school and more needs to be done to ensure this is a reality for children with disabilities.
The government needs to define disability consistently across sectors so we can collect better data and track the life of a disabled child through to adulthood. While there is a consistent call for better resourcing this doesn’t always mean an increased budget.
We’ve seen significant underspends in the Special Education budget – $31 million – this could go a long way if spent wisely.
A school’s attitude matters: how confident and competent a principal and teachers are when it comes to educating all their students, including those students with a disability, makes a huge difference.