The Government has admitted the new $217 million education package is just a start.

The package will fund 600 dedicated staff in primary and secondary schools to support children with special learning needs such as dyslexia, autism, physical disabilities and behavioural problems.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins told Mike Hosking there is still a long way to go.

“It’s a significant announcement but we know we have got more to do, we are going to need more than 600 but it’s certainly a very, very good first instalment.”

“I think we will need at least twice that many we have got to work out what the best ratio for these people is and having the first 600 gives us an opportunity to fully test this system to make sure it’s working.”

He said this was something the Government committed to doing before the election and isn’t driven by the upcoming strike.

“Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens all recognise the need for this change. It certainly helps with the unions claim because this is something they want to see.”

“I’ve always said we can’t do everything all at once and actually if we want to have a collaborative process around building the things we want to do then we can’t do everything in a bargaining round.”

Hipkins said they currently have a very active teacher recruitment campaign to fill these positions.

“At last count, we had about 400 people ready to go, these are people who have applied and are deemed to meet New Zealand’s requirements.”

Listen here as Mike Hosking talks to Education Minister Chris Hipkins.

Source: Newstalk ZB

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