New data shows crisis in disability – Federal Government must fund all students who need support

12 March 2016

The Turnbull Government must keep its promise to extend Gonski funding to cover all students with disability according to need in the wake of new data showing that more than half of students with disability in public schools do not get any funded support, the AEU said today.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said data from the Federal Government’s own Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on Disability (NCCD) for 2015 showed that 13.6% of students needed funded support at school for their disability, but only 6.2% were receiving it.

Data from the report showed that one-in-five students had some kind of disability or learning difficulty.

“The lack of funding for disability in schools is a crisis – the situation where less than half of students who need funded support in our schools are getting it must not be allowed to continue,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“Every year that we delay is another cohort of students with disability whose schools don’t have the resources that these students need to equip them for work and life.

“There are thousands of passionate and skilled educators committed to ensuring that children with disability get a great education, and we need to back them with resources.

“Things like in-class support, equipment and individualised lesson plans can make a huge difference to a child’s experience at school, but they cost money which many schools don’t have.

“The Federal Government promised to increase resources to students with disability at the 2013 election, to ensure that all students who required support, received it.

The promise was repeated by the 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’

“However there has been no increase in funding to schools, and no timeline for when one may happen.

“Our State of Our Schools survey has found that over 80 per cent of principals reported diverting funds from other areas of the school budget to meet the needs of students with disability.

“The Turnbull Government must do what it promised – and extend Gonski funding so that all students with disability get the support they need for their education.”

Media Contact: Ben Ruse 0437 971 291