YouthLaw Aotearoa

10 July 2018

Taskforce Chair Bali Haque (bottom right) and member Barbara Ala’alatoa (bottom left) met with representatives of YouthLaw Aotearoa in Auckland this week. 

YouthLaw told them that the right of children and young people to an education is often lost in the suspension process, many young people feel powerless in the schooling system, and the variability - school to school, suburb to suburb, and between cities in length of suspension from school. They said that in some cases suspensions have been extended for months in others a few days.

YouthLaw Aotearoa

“You can’t go through an appeal process when you’re removed from school – you have the right to appeal a red card in a football game yet you don’t have this right in the schooling system.”

Learning Disabilities Association New Zealand conference

6-7 July 2018

Taskforce member Professor John O’Neill (far left in the photo) met with attendees of the Learning Disabilities Association New Zealand conference on the weekend. Here he is with one of the focus groups he heard from.

Learning Disabilities Association New Zealand conference

There was a lot of discussion about the need for better, and more frequent, teacher education and training on learning disabilities. There were also some comments about the structure of our schooling system including this: The Tomorrow’s Schools model of self-managing schools creates a lot of duplication, as there needs to be expertise in various areas (SENCOs, etc.) in each school. There needs to be clustering to support greater consistency and avoid reinventing the wheel.

And one on the impact of competition: Tomorrow’s Schools created a competitive environment between schools. Schools now spend money on media advertisements and promotion which diverts this money away from uses that support the existing students at the school. The competitiveness doesn’t fit well with a model of collaboration.