Priority 1: Implementation of a new Learning Support Coordinator role in schools and kura
The first tranche of around 600 full-time equivalent Learning Support Coordinators will be put in place from January 2020. The coordinators will work to build the learning support capability of teachers, identify and plan for the disability and learning support needs of children and young people in the school or kura, and lead school-wide and kura-wide engagement with parents and whānau.
Learning Support Coordinators will be able work together across schools in a cluster and connect to a range of specialist supports through the Learning Support Delivery Model.
We will work with the education and disability sectors, parents and whānau to ensure the role is successful and the necessary systems, guidance and processes are in place.
Priority 2: Strengthening screening and the early identification of additional learning needs
Working with the education sector, Māori, Pacific peoples, and key stakeholders, the Ministry will develop evidence-based screening tools focused on the early identification of learning needs (not formal diagnosis of particular conditions).
We will progress a consistent measure at school entry and screening for dyslexia, dyspraxia, and for gifted children and young people. Early childhood measurement and teen health screening will be explored with the Ministry of Health.
The screening tools will be culturally responsive, and incorporate Māori concepts such as tino rangatiratanga, whānau, mana whakapapa, mana tikanga, and mana tangata. The aim is to produce the tools in Te Reo Māori and New Zealand Sign Language.
Priority 3: Strengthening early intervention
We will identify the mix, volume and additional types of services that are needed to support children. This will include looking at what information and support families and whānau need, and will build on the new services introduced since 2017 for young children, the additional funding provided in 2018 and the roll out of the Learning Support Delivery Model.
The Ministry will work with other agencies to integrate and provide greater flexibility across the services and supports they deliver. The Ministry is currently working on this as part of Mana Whaikaha — the MidCentral Prototype for disability system transformation led by the Ministry of Health.
The Ministry is also working with Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust (TKRNT) to co-design and deliver an awareness campaign to ensure that kaiako, parents and whānau are aware of (and confident to access) learning support.
Priority 4: Flexible supports and services for neurodiverse children and young people
The Select Committee Inquiry identified a need for an improved range of supports and services for neurodiverse children and young people, their parents and whānau, and teachers and other educators. This is particularly important for those with moderate needs who don’t qualify for the highest level of support and resourcing.
We will work with a user group of educators and parents, including Māori whānau and Pacific parents, to identify tools and resources for educators and parents to better meet the needs of neurodiverse children and young people.
We will also co-design a flexible range of specialist supports, building on existing supports and programmes.
Priority 5: Meeting the learning needs of gifted children and young people
It is important that the diversity of giftedness is recognised and supported. Giftedness does not mean that all learning is easy for these children and young people. With input from experts and stakeholders including parents and whānau, we will increase access to learning opportunities for gifted children and young people, with an initial package of supports available during 2019.
Priority 6: Improving education for children and young people at risk of disengaging
Disengagement from education can have a long-term impact on the wellbeing and life outcomes of children and young people. We are working with the education sector, Māori, Pacific peoples, and other key stakeholders to co-design more adaptable, flexible supports to prevent disengagement of children and young people from education, improve supports for those that need them, and ensure better support is available to assist successful re-engagement.