The Ministry of Education has proved that students are not the only ones who make mistakes the ministry itself has owned up to giving a wrong answer to Parliament.
The ministry prepared an answer to a written parliamentary question for Education Minister Nikki Kaye in May asking for the approval rates of applications for Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) funding for students with special needs since 2010.
But when asked today to explain the declining trend in approvals, down from 69% in 2010 to 57% in 2015-16 and 55% in the 10 months to April, the ministry said its facts were wrong.
It now says the actual approval rates for the latest two years were 65% in 2015-16 and 64% in the 11 months to the end of May, producing a broadly flat trend since 2010.
Katrina Casey, head of sector enablement and support, said the parliamentary record had been corrected.
“Unfortunately I have made a mistake and given the minister incorrect information,” she
“As soon as I became aware of this, the correct information was provided to the minister and the answer has been officially changed. It was a mistake which I regret.” But Green MP Catherine Delahunty, who asked the original question, said the mistake was alarming.
“It’s kind of like really, who can we trust?” she said.
“Given that the parents have to go through merry hell to get this money out of them, it’s a little bit scary that the ministry got their figures wrong, because they expect other people to get it all right.
“If the parents did such a bad job of filling in forms as the ministry has done, they wouldn’t get funded.” ORS funding pays for teacher aides and specialist teachers for the most needy 1% of school students.
The corrected figures show that applications since 2010 have fluctuated between a low of just under 1400 in 2012-13 and a high of 1630 in the year to last June.
The approval rate has ranged between 62% and 73%, with no apparent trend up or down.
Earlier data provided to Youthlaw show that students with ORS funding are concentrated in the mid-to-low socio-economic deciles 3 to 5, where about 2% of all students are in ORS.
ORS-funded students made up only 1.2 of students in the lowest two deciles, 0.7% in the mid-to-upper deciles 6 to 9, and only 0.4% of students in the highest decile.
Youthlaw solicitor Kenton Starr said Youthlaw could advise families on how to appeal if their applications for ORS funding are declined.
NZME-New Zealand Herald