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A Parliamentary Select Committee report into the learning needs of students with dyslexia, autism and dyspraxia is well meaning but ineffectual unless tougher recommendations are implemented to give it teeth.

The Education and Science Select Committee report, tabled in Parliament on Friday 18 November, outlined 46 recommendations to improve education experiences for students with dyslexia, autism and dyspraxia. Several members of the select committee declined to support the report, instead compiling a Minority View section of the report, outlining 26 recommendations designed to give the main report more teeth.

The Minority Report says the Government’s hands off approach to recent issues around ‘Seclusion Rooms’ did not inspire confidence that urgent action would transpire. And extreme situations, such as year-long waiting lists for specialist support, parents paying for extra support in state schools, or a child only receiving one hour of education per day, could not be addressed without increases in specialist resource.

Guy Pope-Mayell, DFNZ Chair of Trustees, says the Minority Report is bang on in identifying actions needed to make the inquiry count.

“The main report recommendations are all sound, commonsense items for Ministry of Education to action which, as much as anything, reveal the Ministry has been paying lip service to supporting these students but not taking action,” he says.

“Yet the main report recommendations also fail to allow for much needed legislative changes and fail to set out clear directives for definitive action. Without this, the system will continue going in circles with limited funds available to support these students.

“For this reason, we urge the Government to implement the Minority Report recommendations which do take a stand on the issues of children’s rights, funding and accountability to ensure that inclusive education is developed in all schools. We support calls for the rights of students with learning differences to be enshrined in the Education Act, for the urgent collection of data so the issues and progress are measurable, and for increased special education funding to be made available to address the needs of said number of children,” Pope-Mayell says.

Download the full DFNZ media release here

Download the Select Committee Report here


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