Progress Report - 2006/2007
Objective 3: Provide the best education for disabled people.
Access to education is a building block for full participation where people establish social networks, learn, make decisions about their future, and start participating in wider society.
It is generally accepted that disabled children achieve better outcomes when they attend mainstream schools and are integrated with their non-disabled peers.
Since the 2001 Disability Survey, the proportion of children participating in mainstream classes has increased significantly. In 2006, 88% of disabled children, aged 5-14 years attended only mainstream classes; 10% attended both mainstream classes and a special unit, which means 2% of children have no mainstream participation. This is a big improvement over 2001, when 74% of disabled children attended only mainstream classes, 16% attended both mainstream classes and a special unit, and 10% of children had no mainstream participation at all.
To enable disabled people to get the best education requires action on many levels, including schools being accessible, teachers being responsive and having the right tools to do their job, and having enough teachers with the right skills.
The following activities by Ministry of Education are contributing to this objective:
- Better Information to Address Barriers to Learning – seeks to help children achieve improved learning outcomes (including social and cultural outcomes) by providing classroom resources to enable teachers to identify and address barriers to learning.
- Resources for parents, carers, and teachers to improve learning for children and young people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) – this includes an evidence-based Guideline for Autism Spectrum Disorder, emphasis on early interventions, information and education for parents and carers, and ongoing professional development for teachers and other professionals.
- Better Outcomes for Children Action Plan 2006-2011 – to raise achievement and improve services for children eligible for special services through Group Special Education.
- Professional development of the Special Education workforce – to enhance capacity and capability of the workforce, including study awards, workforce planning and contracts to ensure training is accessible.
- Survey of Special Education resourcing – looking at what is available and how individual and school targeted funding is deployed.
- Behaviour Screening Tool – to be implemented, including training initiatives, in early 2008 – this will better identify high risk children for earlier intervention and is intended to be linked to the ‘Incredible Years’ programme for positive parenting.
- Interim Support Fund – provides additional support to schools to better manage the immediate impacts of severe behaviour and to enable better integration into the school of children who have received specialist or off-site support.
- Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Early Intervention Services Development – to enable Group Special Education to have the capacity to deliver early intervention services to children aged 0-3 years diagnosed as deaf or hearing impaired through universal screening.