Parent survey highlights funding crisis for students with disability

10 August 2016

Education Minister Simon Birmingham needs to act to properly fund disability in schools, after a new survey found two-thirds of parents said funded support for their child was inadequate, the AEU said today.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said the survey, conducted by Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA), backed the Federal Government’s own figures which showed more than 250,000 students were missing out on funded support at school – more than half the total who needed it.

“This survey confirms the huge shortfalls in funding for students with disability, and the urgent need for extra resources to ensure those students can make the most of their time at school,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“Schools need resources to provide these students with the individual in-class support, lesson plans and equipment they need.

“Educators need training and professional development to give them the skills to properly educate students with disability.

“The Coalition has failed students with disability by breaking its promise to fund all students with disability in full from 2016.

“The Federal Budget confirmed that this increased funding will be delayed until at least 2018.

“Education Minister Simon Birmingham still cannot say how much extra funding will be provided or how it will be distributed.

“The $118 million increase in disability funding for 2016 and 2017 is a stop-gap which falls far short of the amount needed to ensure all students get the support they deserve.

“There can be no commitment to needs-based funding without meeting the urgent needs of students with disability.

“The Gonski Report identified huge unmet need in disability, and an increase in funded support to schools with high numbers of students with disability.”

The CYDA survey found that 73 per cent of students were receiving individual support at school, but only 57 per cent are receiving specific individual funding.

Only one-third of parents said the funding provided was adequate.

“It is clear that many schools are providing individual support to students with disability despite not receiving individual funding for that child,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“These figures back the AEU’s State of Our Schools survey from April this year, which found 87 per cent of principals reported having to shift funding from other parts of their school budget to assist students with disability, up from 84 per cent 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.

“We need an increase in resources to ensure that all students with disability can get the support they need at school as early as possible.

“This is a matter of urgency. Every year that we delay is another cohort of students with disability who don’t get the support at school they need to equip them for work and life.”

“How much more evidence does Minister Birmingham need to start fixing this?”

Media Contact: Ben Ruse 0437 971 291