2016 Client Satisfaction Survey
This report presents findings from the Special Education Services 2016 Client Satisfaction Survey.
Author(s): Evidence, Data and Knowledge Group, Ministry of Education.
Date Published: August 2017
This report presents the results from the Ministry of Education's 2016 Special Education Client Satisfaction Survey. The Ministry carries out this survey every year to learn from parents and educators what aspects of service delivery is doing well, and areas for improvement.
Overall 22% (541) of parents surveyed and 27% (665) 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.
Parents' and educators' satisfaction with the overall quality of service delivery
Seventy-one per cent of parents and 59% of educators were satisfied with the overall quality of service delivery. Overall 64% of respondents were satisfied.1
Aspects of service delivery that parents and educators rated most highly
Parents rated the following aspects of service most highly:
- I was included in developing the plan and goals for my child (85%)
- I feel cultural needs were well considered in the way Special Education staff worked with the child and family (82%)
- I was treated fairly (81%).
Educators rated the following aspects of service most highly:
- I was treated fairly (78%)
- Staff were competent (75%)
- I was included in developing the plan and goals for the student (75%).
Aspects of service delivery that parents and educators were least satisfied with
Parents and educators experienced the lowest levels of satisfaction with the same aspects of service delivery. These were:
- Satisfaction with the amount of time it took to get the service (parents 58%, educators 54%)
- I was satisfied with the child's progress after the service from Special Education (parents 71%, educators 57%)
- It's an example of good value for tax dollars spent (parents 73%, educators 58%).
Satisfaction of parents and educators of Māori and Pasifika learners
There were no significant differences in overall satisfaction with the quality of service delivery between parents of learners who were Māori or Pasifika and learners of other ethnicities. Educators of Pasifika learners appeared significantly less satisfied than educators of Māori learners and learners of other ethnicties; however, these findings (which are derived from a small number of educators of Pasifika learners) are not clearly explained by the rest of the data and may be a statistical anomaly.
Trends in satisfaction over time
In 2016 parents expressed their lowest satisfaction ratings since the survey began (in 2011) with nine out of the ten aspects of service delivery2 they have been asked about annually. Similarly, educators expressed their lowest satisfaction ratings since the survey began with seven of these ten aspects. These low levels of satisfaction with individual aspects of service delivery are reflected in the comparatively low levels of satisfaction with the overall quality of service delivery, shown in the table below.
Attendance at school
Of those children attending a school, 87% of parents and 93% of educators reported that children attended all day (unless justifiably absent).
Participation in out of classroom activities
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 (79%) than parents (62%) considering that children always had these opportunities.
Additionally, educators reported significantly greater proportions of children receiving a communication service (89%) always had opportunities to participate in out of classroom activities, compared to children receiving a behaviour service (67%).
Welcome at school and early learning services
Overall, 89% of parents said that their child was made to feel welcome at their school or early learning centre. However, a significantly smaller proportion of parents of children receiving a behaviour service said that their child was made to feel welcome (73%) compared to parents of children receiving other service types (between 89% and 94%).
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:
- Clear, transparent and prompt communication in relation to the entire process, including:
- actively providing information about the range of possible Special Education services, the process and criteria for accessing these services and waiting times
- clarifying the roles and responsibilities of all involved
- communicating the results of assessments, the decision making processes and implications of decisons.
- Much shorter waiting times, and more frequent services that are driven by a well-informed focus on the child's needs and not by resource constraints.
- A stronger focus on providing advice and interventions that will facilitate children's learning and improve their lives, rather than simply describing the situation; Special Education staff advocating for the child's education.
- Reliability and regularity of services, especially when staff changes might affect continuity; staff doing what they say they will and promptly following up as appropriate after meetings and assessments.
- Respectful and responsive relationships with all involved, including:
- Special Education staff meeting the child for whom services are being considered or provided, and
- valuing the input of parents, teachers and teacher aides.
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 64% of parents and educators report satisfaction with Special Education services. This is below the Ministry's target of at least 85% satisfaction for 2016/17. In addition, parent and educator satisfaction with particular aspects of service delivery has largely decreased compared to previous years.
What we're doing to improve service delivery
We are working to make learning support easier to access, child-centred and better integrated with health and social services, so that children and young people with learning support needs get the right support when they need it. You can find out more about the Learning Support Update on the Education Government website and read about the extended trialing of more flexible and accessible approaches to Learning Support in the fact sheet: Extension of Learning Support Trials
- 'Overall respondents' means both parents and educators.
- The 10 aspects of service delivery' are: I was treated fairly, Staff were competent, I was included in developing the plan and goals for the student, Staff did what they said they would do, Special Education made it easy for me to work with them, I feel cultural needs were well considered in the way , I feel my individual circumstances were taken into account, I got the information I needed, I am more confident in knowing how to support the student, It's an example of good value for tax dollars spent, and I was satisfied with the child's progress after the service from Special Education. This list excludes two satisfaction questions asked for the first time in 2016 and the two questions about expectations prior to service delivery and whether these expectations were met.
Where to find out more
Education Data Requests
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Email: Requests EDK
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