CDA survey shows urgent need for better support for students with disability

15 May 2015

A new survey of parents by Children with Disability Australia shows the need to increase resources to schools to allow them to properly educate students with disability, the AEU said today.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said the survey showed the devastating effects that a lack of resourcing and exclusion from schools had on children with disability.

“The fact that our school system does not have the resources to give children with disability the education they need is a national shame,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“When 68 per cent of parents believe their children are not receiving adequate support due to a lack of resources, and 17 per cent of children can only attend school part-time, then we have a serious issue with under-resourcing of our schools system.

“We know that there are at least 100,000 students with disability not receiving funded support in our schools, and that the Abbott Government has failed to deliver its promised increases in funding.

“The school system needs to allow children with disability to reach their potential and to prepare them for work and life.

“There are thousands of passionate teachers doing a great job for students with disability, but we need the resources to back them up.

“We need in-class aides, individualised lesson plans, equipment, better training and professional development, and all of these things require funding.

“This survey backs up our own State of Our Schools survey which found that an extraordinary 84 per cent of principals say they have had to divert funds from other parts of school budgets because the resources are not there for students with disability.

“The survey also showed the high prevalence of students with disability with 39 per cent of principals saying that more than 10 per cent of students at their schools had a disability which required assistance in the classroom, and 16 per cent of principals saying the figure was over 20 per cent.

“We need Education Minister Christopher Pyne, and the States and Territories, to commit to properly fund students with disability from 2016.

“The National Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD) will be finished this year, and this must be used to increase funding so all students with disability get funded support.

“Preliminary data from the NCCD in 2011 estimated that there were 290,000 students with disability in Australian schools, this is far in excess of the 190,000 who are currently receiving funding support, according to figures released by the Productivity Commission in February.

“Instituting a disability loading which covered all students with disability was a key recommendation of the Gonski review and a bi-partisan election commitment from Labor and the Coalition.

“Minister Pyne said through a spokesman on April 4th this year that: more targeted funding would flow as a result of the first nationally consistent data collection for students with a disability, expected to be finalised at the end of the year.

“He must deliver on this promise in 2016.”

Media Contact: Ben Ruse 0437 971 291