Home About Out and About Events

Key priorities

There are four main priority areas.

1. Improving the way children and young people are assessed for learning needs

We want to be able to identify all children’s needs more quickly and respond earlier.

We propose to do this by working across government departments including the Ministry of Health to develop a set of assessment tools in both English and te reo Māori that work together to identify and assess children’s needs in a more joined up way. This could include:

  • Universal health checks at age 3
  • Consistently measure children’s needs when they first enter school
  • Screening for dyslexia and dyspraxia between the ages of 6 and 8
  • Identifying gifted children between the ages of 6 and 8
  • Standard health and wellbeing checks when children move from primary to secondary school.

2. Strengthening the range of support for children and young people with disabilities and additional learning needs

We want to fill the current gaps in the system so there are a range of responses that meet different levels of needs, including at-risk children and young people.

We propose to do this by:

  • Establishing a Learning Support Coordinator (currently known as Special Education Needs Coordinator or SENCO) in schools, to build capability and knowledge amongst teachers and coordinate support in the classroom.
  • Providing more flexible support for children and young people who are not eligible for the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS)
  • Investing more in early intervention services across both health and education
  • Implementing a dispute resolution process so that parents, whānau and schools have a next step if there are issues
  • Improving support for at-risk young people so that more students can engage in school, or go on to training or employment
  • Aligning health and education support and services for disabled children aged between birth and 8 years old. 
  • Identifying additional support so that young people with extra needs can access careers advice and move on to further education.

3. Improving how we respond to neurodiverse and gifted learners

We want neurodiverse and/or gifted children and young people to achieve their full potential. Neurodiverse learners include those with dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, autism, ADHD, FASD, Tourette’s and others.

We propose to do this by:

  • Supporting teachers to recognise and respond to learner's needs, including exploring options for initial teacher training and professional learning development
  • Providing more information about teaching and learning for neurodiverse students, and explore the potential for new tools
  • Working with experts in the sector to provide flexible support to meet the specific challenges neurodiverse and gifted students experience in secondary school.

4. Ensuring that learning support has the resources to increase support and services

We want to be able to make sure there are enough resources to meet identified needs and the flexibility to do this in the right way.

We propose to do this by:

  • Responding to cost pressures across specific supports such as Residential Special Schools, Early Intervention, Te Kahu Tōi/Intensive Wraparound Service, and New Zealand Sign Language and Deaf Education
  • Clarifying the role of special and residential schools, satellite units and other facilities within inclusive communities of provision.

It’s important we get the balance right between better coordination of services, supporting teachers, support in the classroom, and one-to-one services.