Federal President for the Australian Education Union Correna Haythorpe, together with a delegation of parents and students, is scheduled to meet with Education Minister Christopher Pyne and Labor leader Bill Shorten in Canberra to put disability education funding back at the centre of the conversation.
AEU findings following the 2015 State of Our Schools survey reveal a huge gulf between the funding needed and the funding actually provided.
“There are over 100,000 students with disability whose schools receive no support funding – one third of the total number of students with disability – and many others who get less than they need,” Ms Haythorpe said.
“We have an urgent crisis in funding for students with disability, and a Government which has walked away from its promise to fix it. Extra funding for disability should have been flowing to schools this year, but the Abbott Government has failed to keep its election promise to properly fund disability education from 2015.”
Ms Haythorpe is anxious for the future of children with a disability who slip behind in their learning. “If children with disability are denied a quality education by an under-funded schools system this will affect every part of the rest of their lives. It will make it harder for them to go on to further education, to get a job and fully participate in society.”
Other 2015 State of Our Schools Survey findings included:
– 79 per cent of principals surveyed said they did not have enough funding for the needs of children with disability at their school.
– 84 per cent of principals said they have had to divert funds from other parts
of school budgets for students with disability
– 39 per cent of principals said that more than 10 per cent of students at their schools had a disability which required assistance in the classroom
– 16 per cent of principals said that 20 per cent of students at their schools had a disability which required assistance in the classroom
Currently, funding is only provided for a figure of 5 per cent of students estimated to have a disability.
When principals were asked what they would use extra funding for,
82 per cent said assistance for teachers in the classroom, 56 per cent said specialist support and 56 per cent said funding for professional development for teachers.