2015 Client Satisfaction Survey

Publication Details

This report presents findings from the Special Education Services 2015 Client Satisfaction Survey.

Author(s): Evidence, Data and Knowledge Group, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: September 2016

Executive Summary

Special Education Client Satisfaction Survey

The Ministry of Education surveys parents and educators annually to learn what aspects of special education service delivery it is doing well, and areas for improvement. This report presents findings from the 2015 Special Education Client Satisfaction Survey.

Overall 20% (503) of parents surveyed and 23% (575) of educators surveyed responded to the survey. The findings presented in this report should therefore be interpreted with some caution as they may not be representative of all parents and educators.

Key findings

Parents' and educators' satisfaction with the overall quality of service delivery

Seventy-eight per cent of parents and 63% of educators were satisfied with the overall quality of service delivery. Overall 71% of respondents were satisfied.

I think that our particular team was excellent. We are so grateful for their service, care and sensitivity. They worked above and beyond. And they allowed our son's transition into mainstream school smooth. Thank you.[Parent feedback]

Our local special education staff were extremely supportive and guided me every step of the way to ensure we created an inclusive environment with our students with special learning needs. [Educator feedback]

Aspects of service delivery that parents and educators rated most highly

The aspects of service delivery that parents and educators rated most highly were:

  • they were treated fairly (85% of parents and 81% of educators agreed, overall 83% of respondents agreed).
  • staff were competent (84% of parents and 76% of educators agreed, overall 80% of respondents agreed).
Aspects of service delivery that parents and educators were least satisfied with

The aspects of service delivery that parents and educators had the lowest levels of satisfaction with were:

  • satisfaction with the child's progress after the service from Special Education (76% of parents and 61% of educators were satisfied, overall 69% of respondents were satisfied).
  • the time it took to get the service (63% of parents and 54% of educators were satisfied, overall 59% of respondents were satisfied).

The delay in getting the service was detrimental - this does need to be addressed.[Parent feedback]

I was very disappointed with how this was handled. Got very little help/support with this young man. He still needs ongoing support but this is unlikely.[Educator feedback]

Performance relative to the Special Education Service Promise

The Special Education Client Satisfaction Survey provides a measure of how well Special Education is delivering on the different aspects of its Service Promise. The survey findings show that Special Education is performing well on the five components of the Service Promise. The areas of the Service Promise that most need improvement are 'do what we say we will do in a timely manner' and 'together, find what works'.

Parents and educators of Māori and Pasifika learners are as satisfied with the service as other parents and educators

There were no significant differences in overall satisfaction with the quality of service delivery between parents and educators of learners who were Māori or Pasifika and learners of other ethnicities.

Trends in satisfaction over time

Both parents' and educators' levels of satisfaction have remained stable over the last four surveys (run in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015). There has also been little change in the level of agreement with aspects of service delivery between 2011 and 2015.

Inclusion – attendance and participation

The same proportion of parents and educators (87%) reported that children attended school all day. However, a significantly greater proportion of parents and educators reported children receiving Communication services were attending school all day than children receiving a Behaviour service.

Parents and educators reported different proportions of students 'always', 'sometimes' and 'never' having opportunities to participate in out of classroom activities, with significantly more educators (77%) than parents (61%) considering that children always had opportunities. Both parents and educators reported significantly greater proportions of children receiving a Communication service always had opportunities to participate in out of classroom activities, compared to children receiving other service types.

Ways Special Education could improve the service to increase parents' and educators' satisfaction

Parents and educators who were less than 'very satisfied' with the overall quality of service delivery were asked how Special Education could improve services to get a rating of 'very satisfied'. Key areas for improvement that both parents and educators reported were:

  • provide more services – be in more regular contact, and increase the amount of actual support (realistic and useful tools to use on a daily basis).
  • improve communication - respond to phone calls and emails, describe processes, provide prompt feedback.

Respond to emails and phone calls, actually meet me and my child, provide advice and tools to help my child. We have received no service at all.[Parent feedback]

More direct help or direct teaching of the child's need not just tips for the teacher. There is not a lot of time for solid one to one teaching in a collaborative classroom.[Edcucator feedback]

Implications of findings

The survey findings highlight the areas where Special Education is delivering well, and provides feedback on the areas where Special Education service delivery could improve. The findings show that overall 71% of parents and educators report satisfaction with Special Education services. This is below the Ministry's target of at least 85% satisfaction for 2015/2016, and below the target of 75% for previous years. In addition, parent and educator satisfaction with particular aspects of service delivery has changed very little over from the first survey in 2011, indicating little improvement in the perceptions of the overall quality of Special Education service delivery.


  1. 'Overall respondents' means both parents and educators.

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