Associate Minister for Education Tracey Martin announced the first tranche of new education professionals – the Learning Support Coordinators (LSCs) – who will help provide learning support to children in more than 1,000 schools and kura.
“This Government is rebuilding our education system so that it is fair and meets the needs of all students, including the one in five who need extra support,” Assoc. Minister Martin said.
The LSCs will work alongside teachers, specialist providers, and parents to ensure children and young people receive much-needed learning support. These professionals will be fulltime, qualified teachers, and will focus on identifying learning needs of students, they will then relay those requirements to the Ministry of Education.
“The LSCs will not have other classroom teaching or management responsibilities and it is a funded role that is additional to the SENCOs that some schools currently have,” the Assoc. Minister said.
“The 623 new Learning Support Coordinators (LSCs) starting in January are an integral part of a more flexible and joined-up approach to learning support, called the Learning Support Delivery Model, which is already being implemented across New Zealand”.
The 2019 Budget included an extra $217 million of operating funding over four years to pay for these new positions, while the first tranche of LSCs will work in the schools and clusters that are the most advanced in working within the Learning Support Delivery Model.
According to Assoc. Minister Martin, an example of one learning cluster is the Ōtūmoetai Kāhui Ako “where the early learning services, kōhanga reo, schools and kura have identified their local needs and resources and work with other agencies and providers to plan the support their children need”.
This first batch allocation will cover 300,000 students and there will be approximately one LSC for every 500 students. These coordinators may work across several smaller schools in the same cluster, or several LSCs may work in one very large school depending on the needs of the students.
In addition, a new capital funding allocation of $95 million was also included in Budget 2019 to ensure there will be suitable working spaces for these LSCs in their new schools.
“We have consistently heard that people place a high priority on having a dedicated learning support role in schools and this new workforce will be a game-changer for kids with learning needs,” Assoc. Minister Martin said.