Green Party announces $315m special education plan

The Greens have launched a $315 million plan to overhaul education for children with special learning needs.

It includes more specialist teachers, and funding to ensure those kids can attend school camps.

Election campaigns are typically full of bribes for the masses - especially when it comes to our schools.

There are some empty promises while other important issues can be overlooked.

"Right now the system is broken," says Green MP Catherine Delahunty.

Ms Delahunty's talking about special education services, and says it's a national shame.

"We need to fix it. We need to put more funding in and we need to create the environment where every child can thrive," she says.

To fix it, the Greens are proposing changes - with a pricetag of $315m.

Most of the money doubles the funding of both Early Intervention and Ongoing Resources Services.

And $70m would create a 'Children's Champion' for every 400 kids, who coordinates support for those with high needs.

More teachers would be properly trained, costing $25m, and there's $5m each year so children who need support can go on school camps.

Mark Potter is the principal of Wellington's Berhampore Primary. His school is run on the principles of inclusion and fairness for every single pupil no matter what their learning need, but it comes at a cost.

"The school quite often is putting back painting and maintenance," he says.

"The funding never quite goes far enough. The Ministry gives some but it's only ever a contribution."

IHC says that kind of sacrifice is putting back the entire country.

"These children have not had a fair go for a long time, and we need to act on this now," IHC advocacy director Trish Grant says.

National's defending its track record on special education, but admits there is more it can do - including new pilot programmes, as well as looking into why some kids with certain needs can't go on school camp.

Newshub.

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