How many Learning Support Co-ordinators (LSCs) will there be?
The plan is to have around 600 in place by the start of the 2020 school year, with more to come. The goal is to eventually have one in each urban school and for each rural school to have access to one.
What exactly will LSCs do?
LSCs will be a specialised point of contact for parents and caregivers. They will liaise with staff, students, whanau and outside agencies to support a child’s educational needs.
LSCs will not teach children – instead, they will support classroom teachers and Teacher Aides, and provide expert advice to them.
How will the LSC role be defined, and how is it different to a SENCO?
SENCO roles are almost always tacked onto a teacher’s or senior staff member’s other roles, meaning they have only a few hours per week dedicated to SENCO work. The LSC role will be a dedicated one, focused solely on learning support.
Tracey Martin (NZ First) said in the Coalition Government’s press release: “Feedback from public consultation, which has just closed, will inform what the final job description looks like and the appropriate ratios for both urban and rural schools. This will also inform the final number of coordinators.”
Will LSCs only help students that are struggling?
No. An LSC’s role will be to support any student with specific special educational needs, including learning and physical disabilities, neurodiversity, behavioural issues and also giftedness.
How will so many LSCs be found, given the current teacher shortage?
There is no specific information about how the LSCs will be found and placed yet.
However, Tracey Martin said government is “deliberately taking a two-phased approach to rolling out coordinators across all schools.” She noted that this government “inherited a significant teacher shortage and implementation of the new role in full from the beginning of 2020 would place huge pressure on the education workforce supply.”
Martin said that once the first cohort of LSCs is in place and “a clearer picture of medium and long term workforce needs emerges,” planning for the second phase of LSCs will take place.
How is LSC funding different to the current SENCO funding?
SENCOs are paid for by Boards of Trustees – SENCOs are not centrally funded like teachers are. In contrast, LSCs will be centrally funded.
What will the new LSCs cost government?
LSC implementation will cost $217 million over four years, and the money will be allocated in the 2019 Budget.
This funding is on top of the $272.8 million allocated for learning support in this year’s Budget.
SOSNZ will share new information as it arises. But so far, this looks very positive move indeed, and we would like to thank Tracey Martin (NZ First) and Catherine Delahunty (Green party) for their long-term dedication to making this happen.