NCCD figures show huge under-funding of students with disability

20 December 2016

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

AEU Deputy Federal President Maurie Mulheron said the data exposed years of inaction by a Federal Government which had failed to keep its election commitment to properly fund students with disability.

The Federal Government has known about this data for over a year and done nothing. It is time to act and deliver children with disability the funded support they need to succeed at school,” Mr Mulheron said.

“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.”

The Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on Disability (NCCD) Data for 2015 shows that 12.5% of students needed supplementary, substantial or extensive support for a disability or learning difficulty – more than twice the number currently receiving funded support in our schools.

This number includes 13.6% of students in public schools, which have consistently educated a higher proportion of students with disability than private schools.

The most recent research from the Productivity Commission found that only 5.1% of all students (and 6.3% of public school students) received funded support for their disability in 2014.

“This means over 270,000 students who need funded support are not getting it,” Mr Mulheron said.

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

“Inconsistencies in the data should not be allowed to distract us from the fact that thousands of students with disability need funded support in our schools, but are not getting it.

“This is backed by surveys of parents of children with disability and the AEU’s own surveys of educators.”

“The AEU’s State of Our Schools survey from April 2016 found 87% of principals reported having to shift funding from other parts of their school budget to assist students with disability, up from 84% in 2015.

“There is a huge and growing number of students not getting the funded support they need at school, and whose education is being compromised as a result.

“The Federal Government went in to the 2013 election promising to fund all students with disability from 2015.

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.”

Media Contact: Ben Ruse 0437 971 291