Budget boost of $21.5mil for tamariki with extra learning needs

By Jessica Tyson

Nearly 8,000 children with extra earning needs are expected to benefit from $21.5mil in extra funding before they start school.

 In a pre-budget announcement, Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin says the funding will be spent over four years towards behaviour, learning, and speech and language support.

“Intervening effectively and early for children with learning support needs makes a real difference to children’s development and learning," says the minister.

“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”.

As part of the funding, early intervention services will also receive an extra $272,000 capital to support the IT costs of hiring additional staff.

“This budget increase will see an extra 1,750 children receive help in this coming year and contracted early intervention specialist service providers will support an additional 150 children with the highest needs”.

Within two years this number is expected to increase to an additional 200 children. 

Martin says the funding is a significant increase on the previous budget and is expected to half the current waiting list for services and help meet future demand pressures.