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Public schools support all students regardless of need

Jan 21, 2016Media Releases

The Australian Education Union in Victoria says all children deserve the best possible education in light of reports today that some Victorian private schools refuse to enrol students with a disability.

Meredith Peace, AEU Victorian Branch President said public schools make every effort to accommodate children with disabilities, despite a chronic shortage of resources to support their needs.

“The Federal Government promised to increase disability funding in 2016 to meet the real needs of students with disabilities, but we have seen no increase and no indication on when this funding will be delivered,” said Ms Peace.

“Our public schools are passionate about seeing each child reach their potential.  They must be properly funded to support each child’s individual needs.

“Reports that private schools may screen out children with learning difficulties or disabilities only highlight how important it is for the federal government to deliver Gonski needs-based funding.

“Teachers and support staff go above and beyond to assist all students, but without Gonski needs-based funding, it is difficult to provide additional in-class support, equipment and individual learning plans for children with disabilities.

“Victoria’s public schools have been chronically under-resourced.  Our students are still on average the lowest funded students in the country.

“The federal government will not provide the promised Gonski needs-based funding that our children desperately need and deserve, and they have not provided the promised increased disability funding.

“The Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on Disability (NCCD) shows 12.5 percent of students need ‘supplementary, substantial or extensive support’ at school – compared with only 5.3 percent of students currently getting funded support.

“Despite a series of promises from the Federal Government that funding for 2016 would meet the real needs of students, Victorian schools are still waiting.  Principals and teachers are trying to plan programs for 2016 without funding certainty.

“Where these serious funding gaps exist, students miss out on the education they deserve.

“Gonski needs-based funding means public schools get the programs, support and individual attention to meet the specific needs of all children,” said Ms Peace.