Education Disability Standards Review shows Turnbull Government must deliver promised funding increase in 2016

3 December 2015

The Turnbull Government must outline how it will deliver promised increases in funding to schools for students with disability from 2016, the AEU said today.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said that today’s release of the Review of the Disability Standards for Education was more evidence of the need for better resourcing of disability in schools.

“The ABS has found that half of all students with disability (127,000 people) are getting no funded support at school. Their education is being compromised due to a lack of funding,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“The Disability Standards Review identified resources as a key issue stating that “significant variability was reported in the sorts of supports that were available” with this being attributed to the impact of funding.

“It found that: ‘Many submissions commented on the reliance in many cases on individual goodwill or commitment of particular schools or individuals to go ‘above and beyond’.

“In-class support, equipment, individual learning plans and increased professional development for teachers can make a huge difference to students – but all of these things take time and money that many schools don’t have.

“The Review’s recommendations and the Federal Government’s response have failed to address the issues of resourcing, which is at the heart of ensuring that students with disability get the education

“The Federal Government promised to increase resources to students with disability at the 2013 election and the promise was repeated by the Education Minister Christopher Pyne in June this 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’

“We need to know how this promise is to be kept. We are into the last month of 2015 and schools still have no certainty as to how the promised extra funding is to be delivered.

“Next Friday’s (December 11th) Education Ministers meeting was the last chance for Education Minister Simon Birmingham to meet the promise of properly funding disability in schools.

“We know that the National Consistent Collection of Data on disability (NCCD) has finally been completed, and can now be used to deliver the right level of support to all students with disability.

“The NCCD in 2013 showed that 13.1 per cent of students had some kind of disability, compared with just 5 per cent who receive funded support at school.

“Today is International Day of People with Disability, and we need to remember the thousands of students in Australian schools who are missing out on opportunities due to a lack of resources,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“Minister Birmingham has already added to the confusion by telling Senate Estimates in October that some States or sectors could be worse off under the Federal Government’s proposed changes to disability funding for schools in 2016.

“This would be an extraordinary breach of the Federal Government’s promise and would leave thousands more children without the resources they need to benefit from school and make the most of their ability.

“Children with disability want to learn and make the most of their education, and their parents want them to be included in school life. Ensuring they can benefit from school is an investment which will make them more likely to be employed after they leave.

Media Contact: Ben Ruse 0437 971 291