School reaches crisis point over lack of funding for high needs students

A Lower Hutt school says it's reached crisis point, with barely enough funding or support for its high needs students.

Wainuiomata Primary school pupil Jakob Shaw, 10, has two Y chromosomes, because of this he has learning difficulties similar to autism and ADHD, behaving like a five-year-old.  

He receives no extra support despite needing up to 25 hours of one on one education a week.

However Wainuiomata Primary only has 50 hours a week of extra support to share around more than 330 students.

Deputy Principal and special education needs co-ordinator Tute Porter-Samuels says "When you think about it he should have 25 hours that will give him the best chance at primary level. I could name 10 kids in my school that need 25 hours each."

Jakob isn't deemed sufficiently high needs enough to get extra support under the Ongoing Resources Scheme which Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin says that's not good enough.

"I'm horrified actually. I'm really saddened that this young man and his family are in this situation."

Ms Martin says she'll be following up Jakob's case, and that the system needs more funding.

 "This has been broken for some time, so we are moving as fast as we can but as responsibly as we can to make the changes needed to support these children and these families better."

But that's still no comfort for Jakob's mum Jackie.

"Jakob is like having three kids in one, things were never easy and I was a single mum, so with the other kids and Jakob it was really really hard."

The New Zealand Education Union says this is part of a wider funding crisis across New Zealand schools, which is leaving students with high needs behind.