Budget 2019

An Auckland family with three children is delighted to see the end of school requests for "donations", but feels little has been done to help their eldest son who has extra learning needs.

Frian Wadia and Burzin Mehta have three boys aged 11 to 14 at school, paying "around $70 or $90" in annual donations for two of them.

But their eldest, Khushru, has autism and a genetic condition and attends a special school because the local mainstream intermediate school would not accept him.

Wadia, an administrator of the "VIPs - Equity in Education" Facebook group for families of children with extra needs, is sad that there is not much in the Budget for those children.

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"The [end of] school donations for schools in deciles 1 to 7 is fantastic," she said. She is on the board of Chaucer School in Blockhouse Bay, a decile 4 school which the family's youngest son, Zeus, attends, where the board "has always wanted to make things easier and more accessible for our families".

She also welcomes confirmed funding for 600 new learning support co-ordinators in schools. But she worries where they will come from when schools are already short of teachers, and whether they will have any expertise or training.

Frian Wadia is a member of the board of trustees of Chaucer School in Blockhouse Bay, Auckland. Photo / Supplied
Frian Wadia is a member of the board of trustees of Chaucer School in Blockhouse Bay, Auckland. Photo / Supplied

"The additional support that schools are asking for is not really there," she said. "In terms of our children with special needs, it doesn't really benefit us in any positive way because there is no guarantee about whether our children are going to be excluded or not."