Summary of submissions in response to the Deaf Education Discussion Paper 2010

Publication Details

In June 2010, the Ministry of Education released the Deaf Education Discussion Paper 2010 (the Ministry, the Discussion Paper, the Paper). The Review of Special Education sought feedback on a broad range of issues. In deaf education there are a number of specific drivers for change and we asked you to help improve specialist education services for deaf and hearing impaired children and young people.

Date Released on Education Counts: April 2011

Author(s): Ministry of Education

Date Published: October 2010

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This report is available as a download (please refer to the 'Downloads' inset box).  For links to related publications/ information that may be of interest please refer to the 'Where to Find Out More' inset box.

Executive Summary

In June 2010, the Ministry of Education released the Deaf Education Discussion Paper 2010 (the Ministry, the Discussion Paper, the Paper). The Discussion Paper sought feedback from stakeholders that would assist the Ministry to improve specialist education services for DHI children and young people1.

The Discussion Paper outlined four different options for delivering such services, and asked which option readers preferred. These options were as follows:

  • Option 1 (the current system)
  • Option 2 (a single national provider)
  • Option 3 (a national coordinating body)
  • Option 4 (regional fund managers).

The Discussion Paper focused on the issue of which approach to service provision would best meet the needs of DHI children.  However, it invited feedback through questions that gave scope for commenting broadly on the provision of DHI services, as follows:

  • “Do you think the current system needs changing? If so why?”
  • “Which service model, Options 1 to 4, you think would provide the best service? Why?”
  • “Are there other issues concerning the provision of deaf and hearing impaired services that we should consider?”

A breakdown of expressions of preference for the service provision options identified in the Discussion Paper is as follows:

  • 97 submissions selected Option 1
  • 105 submissions selected Option 2
  • 7 submissions selected Option 3
  • 13 submissions selected Option 4
  • 3 submissions selected both Options 1 and 2
  • 1 submission selected both Options 1 and 4
  • 5 submissions selected both Options 2 and 3
  • 1 submission selected both Options 3 and 4
  • 11 submissions selected Other as an option
  • 17 submissions selected none of these options.

The factors most frequently mentioned in connection with Option 1 in submissions were as follows:

  • Overall satisfaction with the current service (50 submissions); for example, 23 submissions expressed satisfaction with the service provided by DECs
  • Problems with the current service provision model seen as arising from a lack of resources rather than structural causes (12 submissions)
  • Acceptance of the fact that there is scope for improvement, which can be achieved within the current model (17 submissions).

The factors most frequently mentioned in connection with Option 2 in submissions were as follows:

  • Option 2 would provide a more consistent and coordinated approach to service provision and would reduce fragmentation and duplication (38 submissions)
  • Support for the concept of one national provider to coordinate services, employ staff and provide consistency (20 submissions).

The factor most frequently mentioned in submissions in connection with Option 3 was that it would add additional layers of management and bureaucracy (13 submissions).

The factor most frequently mentioned in submissions in connection with Option 4 was that it would lead to further fragmentation and inconsistency in service provision (14 submissions).

1.1  Overarching issues raised in submissions

The overarching issues raised in submissions were as follows:

  • Issues associated with delivery of Deaf Education services by different providers, as follows:
    • The need for services to be integrated, including issues of fragmentation, duplication and lack of clarity over roles; issues relating to the integration of services provided by GSE and DECs, and of services provided by the two DECs; issues around having a multiplicity of services provided to an individual DHI child
    • Consistency of service delivery between regions, and between service providers
    • Issues around ensuring the delivery of the services that most benefit DHI children, including the choice of services available, and access to services according to need as opposed to other determining factors.
  • Issues around the adequacy of the resources available for Deaf Education services, as follows:
    • Quality of services, including issues of professional development
    • The level of services, including the adequacy of the resources available to enable the use of NZSL
    • Issues around the distribution of resources, including the availability of services in rural as compared to urban areas, regional distribution of resources, and the amount of resources tied up in maintaining DECs.
  • The desirability of parents having a greater say in the direction of Deaf Education services
  • Comments on the review of Deaf Education services, including comments on overall aims and process used by the review.
     

1.2  Introduction

1.2.1  Background

In June 2010, the Ministry released the Discussion Paper. The Discussion Paper sought feedback from stakeholders that would assist the Ministry to improve specialist education services for DHI children and young people.

The Discussion Paper outlined four different options for delivering such services, and asked which option readers preferred. These options were as follows:

  • Option 1 (the current system): a combination of a centralised and regional provider model.  Frontline specialist deaf education services are provided through the Ministry of Education to all of New Zealand through 16 district offices and through two DECs, van Asch (which serves most of the North Island) and Kelston (which serves the lower North Island and the South Island)
  • Option 2 (national provider): would involve combining existing service providers into a single organisation with responsibility for funding and provision of all specialist services for DHI children
  • Option 3 (national coordinating body): would involve creating a new organisation that could take the form of a formal or semi-formal body with responsibilities that could range from decision making on the allocation and coordination of resources to influencing providers to achieve deaf education goals
  • Option 4 (regional fund managers): would involve creating new regional-based organisations to manage the funds and purchase agreements for specialist services on behalf of the Ministry of Education.

The Discussion Paper focused on the issue of which approach to service provision would best meet the needs of DHI children.  However, it invited feedback through questions that gave scope for commenting broadly on the provision of DHI services, as follows:

  • “Do you think the current system needs changing? If so why?”
  • “Which service model, Options 1 to 4, you think would provide the best service? Why?”
  • “Are there other issues concerning the provision of deaf and hearing impaired services that we should consider?”

The paper was sent to a range of stakeholders including parents, teachers, schools, education and other interested agencies (see Appendix 1 for a full list of organisations to which the paper was sent). 

1.2.2  Submissions received

In total, 261 submissions on the Discussion Paper were received.  Submitters were in the following categories2:

  • 119 parents/caregivers
  • 59 teachers
  • 8 students
  • 21 advisers
  • 22 service providers
  • 37 other
  • 14 unknown.

In terms of geographical distribution, the submissions came from the following regions:

  • 7 Northland
  • 44 Auckland
  • 12 Waikato
  • 16 Bay of Plenty
  • 1 East Coast/Poverty Bay
  • 8 Taranaki
  • 11 Hawkes Bay
  • 11 Manawatu/Wanganui
  • 32 Wellington/Wairarapa
  • 3 Marlborough
  • 5 Nelson
  • 9 Otago
  • 55 Canterbury
  • 1 Tasman
  • 10 Southland
  • 13 not applicable
  • 23 unknown.

Submissions ranged from brief comments to comprehensive responses on multiple themes. 

1.2.3  Process for summarising submissions

In order to summarise the submissions received, the Ministry provided an initial list of themes for analysis. An initial scan was then undertaken to identify themes for analysis.  These themes were presented to the Deaf Education Steering Group for comment and approval.

Following this process, all comments in the submissions were grouped under the themes for analysis, which were as follows3:

  1. Overall support for the status quo in Deaf Education services
  2. Resource and service requirements of Deaf Education services   
    2.1. Resource/service levels  
    2.2. Integrated services  
    2.3. Cost effective 
  3. Structure of Deaf Education services 
    3.1. Vision

       3.2. Type of setting
       3.3. Quality of service
       3.4. Flexible/responsive services
       3.5. Type of service
       3.6. Management/administration 

    3.6.1. Governance

    3.7. Accountability
    3.8. Seamless provision

  4. Equity of access to Deaf Education services 
    4.1. Students with multiple needs

       4.2. Students in remote areas
       4.3. Access to NZSL
       4.4. Māori and Pasifika students
       4.5. Equity of access - other

  5. The relationship between Deaf Education services and parents/whanau 

    5.1. Relationship with parents/whanau

  6. Other.

Comments relating to the themes for analysis from individual submissions were entered into a Microsoft Access database.  The comments under each theme were then reviewed and summarised and the overall list of themes revised and condensed.  This report presents the information as a summary under each theme. In addition, there is an overview section that discusses overarching issues raised in submissions.

Overarching issues are defined for the purpose of this report as those that were specifically raised by 20 submissions or more. A number of issues raised by fewer than 20 submissions are also mentioned  in the Overview section, as examples or to give a more complete overview of the range of views on a particular issue.

Direct quotes from submissions have been included to ensure the voices of submitters are clearly represented. Care has been taken to ensure that all key concepts and concerns in the submissions are represented in the overview section.

It is acknowledged that some comments in submissions could be coded to multiple themes, and that there is a significant level of cross-over between themes.  For example, issues of access to NZSL are raised under multiple themes, including:

  • Resources/service levels - issues of the adequacy of resources available to provide access to NZSL
  • Type of setting/learning environment - issues of the availability of NZSL in learning environments
  • Flexible/responsive - issues around DHI children having the option of access to NZSL
  • Type of service - issues of whether Deaf education services include access to NZSL as an option
  • Students with sign language needs - general issues of access to NZSL.

Submissions sometimes included additional descriptive information outside of the scope of this review.  While this information has not been included in this report, it has been flagged in the Access database submitted to the Ministry with this report.

1.2.4  Navigating this report

This report is divided into four main parts:

  • An executive summary
  • An introductory section, that describes the background to the Deaf Education review, the Discussion Paper and the approach taken in this report to the analysis and presentation of submissions
  • An Overview of submissions, that summarises the main issues raised in submissions (where main issues are defined as those raised by 20 or more submissions)
  • A more detailed summary of issues raised in submissions, broken down into Themes for analysis developed for the report.

1.2.5  Referencing submissions

All comments, viewpoints and quotations in the detailed summary section are referenced to individual submissions. The single exception to this is where, under each theme, summary statistics of whether submissions responded with a direct “Yes” or “No” to the question: “Do you think the current system needs changing?” are provided.

Where ten or more submissions are associated with any collective comment or theme, a breakdown of categories of respondent is included.

Where 20 or more submissions are associated with any collective comment or theme, a breakdown of submitters' region of origin is included in Appendix 2.

Readers should note that the number of submissions reported as being associated with any collective comment or theme (eg, “five submissions expressed the view that ...”) in most cases almost certainly understates the number of submissions that supported that particular view. This level of understatement arises because there were many instances where submissions appeared to support a particular viewpoint, but where this could not be confirmed to a reasonable degree of certainty. For example, a submission might appear to refer to a particular education service, but using terminology that was open to different interpretations.

A number of submissions were made by organisations representing groups of people or as group submissions.  It is not possible to identify how many individuals these views represent.

Footnotes

  1. From this point onward in the report, references to "children" or “students” should be understood as referring to "children and young people" or “children and students".
  2. Some submissions selected more than one category e.g. parent/caregiver and teacher.
  3. Brief explanations of themes are provided in the “Summary of Findings” section of the report, that presents summaries of submissions by theme.