COMMENT:

A bouquet today for the Government.

A week out from the next round of teacher strikes, they've very smartly announced 600 more learning support staff to go into primary and secondary schools.

These new learning support co-ordinators will be dedicated fulltime registered teachers, helping children but also freeing up teachers who currently juggle both hats.

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This commitment will cost $217 million over four years.

The first lot of co-ordinators won't be in place until 2020, but the Government hopes to roll out more in future years. I hope they stick to that, if they're still in government of course. And I hope they can find them, given the difficulty we have getting teachers.

The pressure on the Government's been immense from striking teachers: to address poor pay and conditions, as well as widespread teacher shortages - teachers say low pay and high workloads are part of the reason they're struggling to recruit.

The expectation on teachers these days is intense, and for parents of special needs children, it's a daily battle too.

Often times parents and caregivers feel as though they're talking to a brick wall when trying to agitate for help for their child.

It's easy for kids with unique learning styles and abilities to become invisible, especially inside big schools.

I'm heartened by the fact the Government seems to be recognising that not one size fits all, that our very blunt approach to education in this country actually ends up often times disadvantaging some children.

This move frees up teachers to get on with their job, plus gives parents a direct line of communication and point of contact.

What we don't know yet is where these co-ordinators will be going, what their exact job description is, and the pupil to teacher ratio.

These will be critical indicators of the success or otherwise of this investment.

There'll need to be a lot more than 600 of them too, if it's going to make a strong positive impact.

They'll also need to be qualified and competent, across all areas of the behavioural and learning spectrum.

And the access will have to be fluid - getting them into as many schools as possible, engaged with as many students as possible.

So much to still be ironed out. But, after this sector's been ignored for so long, it's a good step in the right direction.