Government Responds To Special Education 2000 Concerns

  • Wyatt Creech

The Government has announced additional transitional arrangements to ease the introduction of Special Education 2000 - particularly for special education units.

The Minister of Education has also announced two extra components of Special Education 2000. There will be more funding for students with special education needs in the senior secondary school and extra funding for students on the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme.

"There has been concern from some communities over recent weeks about the logistics of putting in place changes to special education units," Mr Creech said.

"To ensure that schools can manage the new student focused approach to funding special education units, the Government has agreed to a $7.3 million transition package for 1999.

"The Ministry of Education will be contacting schools with units to reassess arrangements for next year. The Ministry will work with schools and clusters of schools on transitional plans to get them on to the new footing by the year 2000.

"Under the transition package there should be no reason for a special education unit, with a viable number of students, to close. The one year transition programme is important to help with the smooth implementation of the policy.

"Special Education 2000 has enormous potential to improve the education of young people with special education needs," Mr Creech said. "But for it to succeed it needs to work in practise and schools have to be able to cope with the change."

Mr Creech said the Government had also made further decisions which would be a permanent part of Special Education 2000.

· From 1999 extra funding of $2.9 million per year will be provided to clusters to support students with learning and behaviour difficulties in Years 11, 12 and 13.

· From 1990 $2.25 million per year will fund extra administration and operations grants for students in the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme:

$250 per student with high needs
$500 per student with very high needs

"Special Education 2000 is a complex new policy, which is being phased in because of the enormity of the task.

"We want schools, parents, teachers, and students to experience the difference Special Education 2000 will make for them. But they have had to cope with significant changes to the way children with special education needs are funded.

"I am certain that the new transitional arrangements for next year and the new initiatives announced today will reassure people that Special Education 2000 will work for them."