Ministry’s about turn on Chloe

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Disabled teen finally gets ear of officialdom.

Education officials responsible for disabled Arrow Junction teen Chloe Sturt are now promising her parents they’ll try to increase her teaching time.

The 13-year-old quadriplegic with cerebral palsy hasn’t been to school for a year because essential support was allegedly withheld by the Ministry of Education.

Her parents have been battling MoE’s Special Education unit, which is meant to arrange specialist teachers and resources like speech therapy for special-needs kids.

After Chloe’s story appeared in Mountain Scene last week, mum Sheralyn Sturt finally managed to arrange a meeting with Special Education, ACC, Southern Regional Health School, Access Ability and the Child Development Centre. “I managed to get five managers together within 48 hours after it had gone in [Mountain Scene], which I hadn’t managed to do before.

“For the last year-and-a-half when I’ve asked for a manager it’s always been, ‘good luck with that, you
won’t get that’.”

At the meeting, Special Education confirmed Chloe will get only 2.5 hours tuition a week. “[But] they said they’re going to explore other ways

to see if they can increase that,” Sturt says. “We’re having another meeting on the last day of term.”

Chloe also had a visit from a speech therapist on Monday – her first in over a year.

The teen was forced into “home detention” last year because she couldn’t be transported to Wakatipu High due to restrictions set down by the MoE.

Wakatipu High principal Lyn Cooper says when Chloe was at school, she “seemed to be doing really well”.

“She’s a lovely girl and we look forward to having her back at some stage but it’s just a matter of getting over all these problems, I guess.”

Cooper agrees 2.5 hours tuition a week isn’t much.

“If she’s here at school, we certainly put a lot more support in out of our own operations grant – but when she’s not here we can’t really do that.”