The first tranche of the new education professionals who will help provide learning support to children in more than 1000 schools and kura has now been allocated.
Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin made the announcement today at Otumoetai Intermediate School.
"This Government is rebuilding our education system so that it is fair and meets the needs of all students, including the one in five who need extra support," Martin said.
"The 623 new Learning Support Co-ordinators (LSCs) starting in January are an integral part of a more flexible and joined-up approach to learning support, called the Learning Support Delivery Model, which is already being implemented across New Zealand."
The ministry said 20 coordinators were being allocated to Rotorua and 12 to Tauranga.
In addition, one cluster of schools spread across multiple local authorities, including Tauranga and Rotorua, would receive seven coordinators.
The coordinators would work alongside teachers, and with specialist providers and parents to ensure children and young people receive the support they need to learn.
They would be fulltime, qualified teachers and focus on identifying the learning support that students needed.
Ministry of Education staff would then be responsible for accessing the supports and services that were required.
"This first tranche of coordinators will work in the schools and clusters that are the most advanced in working within the Learning Support Delivery Model,"
"An example is in the Ōtūmoetai Kāhui Ako [learning cluster] where the early learning services, kōhanga reo, schools and kura have identified their local needs and resources and work with other agencies and providers to plan the support their children need."
The coordinators would not have other classroom teaching or management responsibilities and was a funded role that was additional to the SENCOs that some schools currently had.
Budget 2019 included an extra $217 million of operating funding over four years to cover the cost of the new positions.
There were about 300,000 students covered in this initial allocation and there would be about one Learning Support Coordinator for every 500 students, though the allocation model recognises the different needs of various schools and regions including rural and urban dimensions.
Coordinators may work across several smaller schools in the same cluster, or several LSCs may work in one very large school.
"I have ensured they will work in a wide range of different types of schools and settings, so we can test the new role in practice and make any necessary adjustments before it is rolled out more widely in future years," Martin said.
To help schools ensure they have suitable working space for the coordinators, a new capital allocation of $95 million was also included in Budget 2019 to be spent once the placement of Learning Support Coordinators has been determined by schools and clusters.
"We have consistently heard that people place a high priority on having a dedicated learning support role in schools and this new workforce will be a game-changer for kids with learning needs."
Allocation of first tranche across student and school type
Learning Support Coordinator roles
Learning support clusters 124
Total number of schools 1,052
Rural schools 350
Māori Medium kura 28
Total number of students 300,750
Māori students 89,694
Pacific students 34,701