The education system is set to fail quarter of new students

7 July 2022
Media Release

IHC says a report out today showing a quarter of all preschool children have developmental difficulties shows the broken education system must be fixed today.

It’s been reported today that the study of more than 6000 children aged between 4 and 5 measured four areas of development; physical health, motor skills, emotional and behavioural development and communication and learning. The study was conducted by a paediatrician and a consultant developmental paediatrician at Starship Hospital.

Since 2008, IHC has been campaigning for the government to fix an education system that doesn’t work for everyone.

IHC’s Inclusive Education Consultant Trish Grant says the resourcing and funding systems don’t work for children or for schools.

“Disabled students are not getting the funding and support they need to have a fair go at education like their peers,” she says. “We want a system that provides the right support so children can attend, learn and participate in all parts of school life – swimming sports, camp and maths instead of being left to colour-in or being sent home.

“Many of the children identified in this study do not have an intellectual disability but are starting school well behind the start line. The study suggests school won’t work for a quarter of the students lining up to start in the next year."

The study shows poverty is a lead indicator of poor development and children with disabilities are twice as likely to live in poverty. 20% of disabled children live in poverty compared with 10% of non-disabled children.

IHC has recently conducted its own education survey and found that 99% of family members supporting a child with a disability say the system doesn’t work. That rises to 100% in educational and health professionals surveyed.

“We started campaigning and legal action to address the broken education system in 2008,” says Trish. New entrants in that year have now finished school and 14 years later new entrants are still heading into a system that won’t work for them.

“We have been calling for the Ministry of Education to gather this data themselves as a beginning point for building a system that works for all learners – but still nothing.

“It’s time for all children to be counted and count in New Zealand with an education system that will give them a fair start in life