An education union is calling for greater government support after its survey found only one-in-10 special education needs co-ordinators (Sencos) believed support for students was adequate.

NZEI has today released its survey of special education needs co-ordinators in schools.

It showed 89 per cent of respondents thought students with special education needs had inadequate support.

NZEI national president Louise Green said the co-ordinator role was crucial but was often made more difficult as a lack of money meant it was an extra or "add on" task for a senior staff member.


The co-ordinator role was not formally recognised or adequately resourced.

"Two-thirds of [co-ordinators] in our survey said they did not have enough time to fulfil this role adequately. This is made more difficult because of the complex funding system schools and families face when seeking support for children's learning needs."

The survey, sent to about 800 co-ordinators who were identified by NZEI field officers during site visits, had a response rate of 44 per cent.

Ministry of Education head of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said special education resourcing had jumped by 29 per cent in the past six years, to $530 million in 2014/15.

"In the 2015 Budget the Government announced an extra $62.9 million for special education over the next four years.

"It is estimated that overall about 80,000 children and young people receive some form of special education support each year."

In the past year ministry services were provided to more children and young people than in any previous year, she said. "As is the case with all ministry and school staff who work with children with special needs, Sencos play an important role."

She said this year the ministry would be piloting new ways of delivering services.