A petition is being handed over today to the Green Party to urge the Government to invest in the education of all children regardless of disabilities.
Three hundred people signed the ‘Education for All’ petition which will be handed over to Catherine Delahunty, education spokesperson for the Green Party. The petition calls for the Government to stand by its commitment to establishing and maintaining a “world class inclusive education system”.
Children with disabilities are just as legally entitled as non-disabled children to received the highest quality of education and experience the proven life benefits of a solid education.
Education for All believe that there is not enough being done to ensure that this right becomes available to disabled children and their families in all school settings.
They say that there are examples of early childhood centres and schools rejecting enrolments of children with disabilities, families paying out of pocket for support staff for their children, a lack of professional development for teachers on inclusive education as well as a lack of inclusive content in education systems.
“Participating and learning at school is the right of every child and young person in New Zealand, whether they have disabilities or not,” says a parent on the Education for All forum.
“Teachers and school leaders want to provide the best education for every child in their community. That is their job. But it is hard to do when the government demonstrates little commitment, leadership, resources and action to support centres and schools to understand and provide an inclusive education for all.’
Education For All is urging the government to create legislation for the enforceable right to inclusive education for all school age children in New Zealand.
While critical of the Government on the topic, Education for All has acknowledged the efforts of the Ministry of Education in a trial for a new learning support service in the Bay of Plenty region.