© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Calls to further fund high needs education

Leighton Heikell

A Maori educator who runs a "life-changing and ground-breaking" class for children with high needs says more funding is needed to get more students educated.

Dot Singh, Kaihautū and deputy principal at Te Pā o Rākaihautū, says the class of 10 students she runs with the help of two other teachers, focuses on life skills and achieving an NZQA qualification. 

Te Pā o Rākaihautū is a special charter Maori-median school set up to educate students from pre-school to tertiary.  

Singh says she saw a need for the class after student time with specialist teachers wasn't enough.

"There is lack of money that goes to our children with needs, this is due to money that was taken away quite a few years ago."

Singh hopes the Government will further fund high needs educational programmes across the board so more students can reap the benefits. 

"We are all crying out for more funding for our kids with high needs, and we're hoping the government will come to the party. This is a battle I've been fighting for since I started teaching 20 odd years ago - not enough funding for our children with high needs."

This is the last week of the programme's first term and Singh says the class has been challenging but equally as rewarding. The hands-on approach and life skills focus has seen students already improve, she says.