A recent article made some really interesting points about the possible effects of introducing performance-based pay on children with special needs.
“The Government wants 80 per cent of schools to be ‘fully inclusive’ of students with special needs by 2014, with the remaining 20 per cent to follow. A review called, ‘Success for All – All Schools, All Children’, maps out the direction the Government is taking on children with special needs:
– an additional 1100 students in Ongoing and Reviewable Resourcing Schemes (ORRS).
– 1000 more children aged 5 to 8 years will receive individual specialist support for their first three years of schooling.
– Teaching resources will be allocated to the blind and low vision education network NZ (BLENNZ) and the two Deaf Education Centres (DECs), meaning students will have increased access to specialist teachers, interpreters or notetakers.
– Special schools will be encouraged to provide an outreach service of specialist teacher support for children in mainstream education (see Success for All – Every School, Every Child).
“Education Minister Hekia Parata says the Government ‘aims to build an inclusive education system where all learners with special education needs are welcomed and supported in all schools. Our goal is to have all schools demonstrating inclusive practices by 2014’. Brian Coffey, Ministry of Education group manager for special education, denies funding is being cut. He says principals in the Henderson area initiated a review of their area’s special needs service in 2009 and found that when specialist teachers were confined to a special class in a school, only those students received support and other students in teh area missed out. He says the principals agreed that specialist units were unfair for learners in other schools. ‘They decided to bring West Auckland schools in line with the rest of the country, and use the itinerant model,’ says Mr Coffey. …
Mr Coffey says the move means taking teacher support to learners and their teachers rather than expecting learners to be enrolled at a special needs unit. ‘This is the model of practice across NZ and it provides the opportunityfor the RTLB, as they work with the learner, to also work with the learner’s teacher.’ He says that, in turn, instils confidence in the teacher. / ‘Local Ministry of Education managers are supporting these schools as they transition to the itinerant RTLB model and working closely with the Ranui principal, parents and RTLBs to develop transition plans for each student in these classes.’
Mrs Stewart is not convinced this is the better way and fears her son will fall through the cracks. She points out that with the policy of performance-based pay looming, teachers may worry about having special needs children in their classes. ‘Children with special needsdon’t learn at the same pace as the mainstream students and can bring down the perfrmance of the class as a whole. That, in turn, will be reflected in the teachers’ pay, so who will want to teach children with special needs?’ she asks.
Ref: Rowena Orejana ‘Fighting the Mainstream’ The Aucklander 7th June 2012, pp2-3