Up to 300,000 children with diverse learning needs are getting better support to learn, with the first tranche of Learning Support Coordinators (LSCs) off to a strong start, Associate Minister of Education, Jan Tinetti said today.
“It’s now been just over a year since the first LSCs started work in 1,052 individual schools and kura around the country, grouped in 124 clusters, serving 300,000 ākonga,” Ms Tinetti said.
“The evaluation report I’m releasing today shows great results so far – it’s clear that LSCs are doing excellent work to assist the one in five students who need some level of additional support for their learning.
“We’re seeing positive benefits for teachers, students and whānau, and this evaluation means we can continuously improve the LSC role and fine-tune how we assist students with diverse learning needs.”
Introducing the first tranche of 623 LSCs is one of the six strategic priorities to make the greatest difference for children and their learning in the Learning Support Action Plan 2019-25. It supports the Government’s commitment to ensure children have access to the tools and professionals they need for their learning.
“The first tranche of LSCs are adding much needed capacity and capability within their schools, kura, and across communities – we have consistently heard that parents, educators and whānau place a high priority on having a dedicated learning support role in schools, and the evaluation shows how important the team approach in learning support is,” the Minister said.
“The findings show LSCs are proving effective in working with whānau as a ‘bridge’ between home and school. They coordinate a team of school leaders, teachers in the classroom, whānau and other learning support staff to better assist ākonga with learning support needs.
“Educators have been asking for extra resource for some time to better support learners who may not have received the help they have needed before – such as neuro-diverse needs such as dyslexia, those with more moderate needs, or those who are gifted.”
“We are deliberately taking a phased approach to rolling out coordinators across all schools. We’ve inherited a significant teacher shortage, and planning for the second phase will be worked through as a clearer picture of medium and long term workforce needs emerges.
“As the Learning Support Action Plan continues, I am confident we will see continued progress towards better learning outcomes for all children and young people, particularly those who have additional learning support needs.”
The $217 million over four years to fund 623 LSCs came from Budget 2019, and forms part of the $1.1B of new money invested directly into learning support initiatives since Budget 2017 to Budget 2020.
“That is a huge investment into supporting both our kids and our teachers and will help build a strong foundation for the future success of our tamariki, and for our country,” Ms Tinetti said.