Hon Tracey Martin, Associate Minister of Education
A major funding increase for learning support will ensure that more young children receive access to the extra learning support they need before they start school, Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin announced today.
“Over the last 5 years we have seen a demand increase of 21% for the Behaviour Service, 15% for the Communications Service and 15% for the Early Intervention Service,” the Minister says.
“Intervening effectively and early for children with these needs makes a real difference to children’s development and learning. This includes benefits to language development, social interactions and behaviour, and engagement and attainment in school – and we know success in school supports better outcomes later in life.
“That’s why the Wellbeing Budget provides an extra $24.8 million over the next four years to provide learning support, what is called ‘early intervention’, to pre-school children who have communication, behaviour, development or disability needs.”
The funding in this year’s Wellbeing Budget is on top of an extra $21.5 million for early intervention services in Budget 2018. “Under this Government an extra $51.9 million is being invested in early intervention over five years,” Minister Martin said.
“But it’s not just about investing more money, we are also changing our practice to provide services more quickly to these children and their families.
“Together with other changes that are underway, including the development of a Learning Support Action Plan, the roll-out of the Learning Support Delivery Model and trialling changes in practice to bring the services to the child, we are addressing long-term underfunding in this area and improving the provision of learning support for young children in New Zealand.”
The new funding in Budget 2019 will be used to recruit additional specialists, employed by the Ministry of Education, to work with children across all regions in the country.
“In addition, to build the specialist workforce we need, I am providing 35 additional Early Intervention Study Awards worth $20,000 and 28 Speech Language Therapist Scholarships worth $5000 over the next four years,” Mrs Martin said.