Anne Tolley, Pita Sharples1 September, 2010
Brighter future for Alternative Education studentsEducation Minister Anne Tolley and Associate Education Minister Pita Sharples have announced a funding increase of $1.5 million alongside changes which will see Alternative Education better meet the needs of students.
From next year each Alternative Education provider will be required to involve a registered teacher, and will receive funding to cover the costs. In addition, funding for each Alternative Education place will rise, as part of an overall 8.4 per cent funding increase, the first since 2000.
"The needs of these students have been ignored for many years, and they deserve the opportunity to succeed," says Mrs Tolley.
"The involvement of registered teachers in all providers will mean staff can receive advice, professional guidance and support. In turn, this will lead to better outcomes for students.
"Teachers will need to be skilled at working with the diverse range of cultures and needs of Alternative Education students, and will focus on achieving results for all of these young people.
"Providers and Activity Centres will also need to supply the Ministry with consistent information on the progress made by students. That doesn't happen at the moment, but is vital if we are to measure the success of the programmes being offered."
Dr Sharples says all young people deserve the chance to reach their potential. "Alternative Education, which is accessed by more than 3000 young people every year, has for too long been a dumping ground for some of our most at-risk students," he says.
"A review of Alternative Education last year highlighted the need to do more for these young people. We are giving them the opportunity to achieve better results and qualifications, and making sure they have greater support in getting back into regular education.
"We must do everything that we can to lift achievement levels for all students," says Dr Sharples.
The new approach to Alternative Education builds on other Government initiatives designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, such as the doubling of funding to tackle truancy, and the roll-out of the Positive Behaviour for Learning Action Plan.