Students with a disability face a funding gap in Australian schools, according to new figures from the Productivity Commission and Education Council.
ABC News compared last year’s Education Council data from the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD) for school students with disability, with the Productivity Commission figures.
The comparison showed more than 268,000 students with disability are in school without funding support to assist in their education.
NCCD figures for 2015 showed 12.5 per cent of all Australian schools – 468,265 students – received some form of support due to disability that needed additional funding.
Known as “educational adjustment”, the funding includes more money provided to make schools handrail and ramp accessible, as well as helping to pay for learning support officers to assist students with a disability in the classroom.
The Productivity Commission’s report on government services released earlier this month found the total funded students with disability in 2015 by all Australian governments was 200,168.
According to their numbers, more than 268,000 students with disability were in school without funding support to pay for adjustments to assist in their education.
The Federal Government told ABC News the NCCD statistics were flawed.
“It really is very disappointing,” Education Minister Simon Birmingham said.
“This data … hasn’t come to a credible landing point just yet.”
The NCCD statistics are delivered through a survey filled out by school principals and teachers.
Senator Birmingham said the numbers produced wide variations between states and territories that made the results unreliable.
“There’s much more work to be done by the states and territories to ensure that (the NCCD data) truly is nationally consistent,” he said.
“We’re using it as part of a mix of information.”
“There’s really not enough resource allocated to school communities to really address the needs of these young people,” said Terry Bennett, principal of Melba College, in Melbourne’s outer east.
Mr Bennett told ABC News he supported the NCCD process, and that it was especially useful for principals and teachers in identifying students with disability in school without allocated funding.