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Issue #1763      February 1, 2017

Urgent action needed

More than half of students with disability who need funded support at school are not getting it, recent data released by state and federal governments shows.

The much-anticipated report from the 2015 Nationally Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD) shows that 12.5 percent of students needed supplementary, substantial or extensive support for a disability or learning difficulty – more than twice the number currently receiving funded support.

“The federal government has known about this data for more than a year and done nothing. It is time to act and deliver children with disability the funded support they need to succeed at school,” NSW Teachers’ Federation president Maurie Mulheron said.

The damning data – released on the last day of the 2016 school year – flies in the face of NSW Department of Education claims that no students with disability are missing out on the services they need.

Take Action

The data release coincides with a NSW Legislative Council inquiry underway in parliament. The inquiry is looking into the access and provision of resources to students with disability, including the impact of the Department’s Every Student, Every School (ESES) policy.

The Teachers’ Federation is calling on every workplace and member to make submissions to the inquiry to demand improvement, by presenting teachers’ experience and evidence of what is needed to equitably and effectively support students with disability in public schools.

Access and provision face significant barriers in NSW due to the ESES cost-capping mechanism and the federal government’s refusal to deliver the Gonski Students with Disability loading, which has been withheld for two years.

Mulheron condemned the repeated delays in granting disability funding.

“The federal government went into the 2013 election promising to fund all students with disability from 2015,” he pointed out.

The promise was repeated by then Education Minister Christopher Pyne in June last year when he said that from 2016:

Every child in Australia with disability will be able to receive the correct loading, as they should, to match their disability;

“Now we are being told that this funding will not be delivered until 2018 at the earliest.

“The NCCD process has been running for six years and has consistently shown huge under-funding of disability in Australian schools.

“Every year we delay is another cohort of students with disability who will miss out on vital support and the chance to benefit fully from their education.”

Next article – Open letter from Centrelink staff

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