Budget 2018: More for early intervention services in education

The Government has released another titbit from the upcoming Budget, promising more money for early interventions services for pre-schoolers.

"All the evidence shows that children who have a high quality early childhood education (ECE) have a head start on their learning that can set them up for life," says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

"But a lack of funding for early intervention services has meant that far too many children have missed out on behaviour, learning, or speech and language support they need to get the full benefits of ECE."

She and Associate Minister of Education Tracey Martin have announced $21.5 million will be spent over four years to ensure help is available for another 8000 children.

Another $272,000 will be spent on the IT costs associated with hiring additional staff.

"The extra funding is expected to halve the current waiting list for services, as well as help meet future demand pressures," says Ms Martin.

According to the Ministry of Education website, early intervention services include psychologists, speech language therapists, advisors for deaf children, educational support workers and Māori cultural advisors. 

"This Budget increase will see an extra 1750 children receive help in this coming year and contracted early intervention specialist service providers will support an additional 150 children with the highest needs," says Ms Martin. "Within two years this number will increase to an additional 200 children.

"To achieve this, more frontline early-intervention staff will be employed. Over 60 additional Early Intervention Study Awards and Speech Language Therapy Scholarships will be available to build the workforce who provide early intervention services."

The Budget will be released at 2pm on Thursday.