Up to 29 000 Queensland school students with disability will have greater access to classroom support and specialised equipment thanks to $41 million in funding from the Gillard Government’s More Support for Students with Disabilities initiative.
School Education Minister Peter Garrett said the boost in funding will help students with disability finish their schooling and secure a job.
“Parents, carers, teachers and health specialists in QLD and around the country have been calling for action to help students with disability stay in school and get the best education possible,” he said.
“This funding, part of our overall $200 million national initiative, will provide much-needed specialist support and assistance to many thousands of students in government, independent and Catholic schools across the state.”
Parliamentary Secretary for School Education, Senator Jacinta Collins, said that without this type of support for schools, students with disability are less likely to reach their full potential, putting them at greater risk of unemployment and social exclusion.
“Children with disability face disadvantage in achieving education and employment outcomes and this is a practical example of the Gillard Government’s commitment to ensuring all students, regardless of their circumstances, can get the best education possible and the best chance to succeed in life,” she said
“Children with disability in all sectors will benefit from Commonwealth funding over the next two years, with QLD government schools receiving an extra $33 million, the Catholic sector more than $5.2 million and the independent sector more than $2.7 million.”
Under the More Support for Students with Disabilities initiative, QLD students and schools will receive:
- $1.8 million to pay for allied health services in up to 100 schools, such as occupational therapists, audiologists, nurses, psychologists and speech pathologists
- $8.9 million to help employ 450 new teacher aides or train existing aides
- $15 million to train up to 1250 staff in adapting their curriculum to the needs of students with disability, including individualised learning plans
- funding for up to 185 students in Catholic schools to participate in work readiness programs and work placements
- more options for assistive technology and ‘hands on’ courses for teachers;
- training for teachers to strengthen their skills in classroom assistive technology, for example, to support students with learning disability such as dyslexia
- more support for classroom teachers to undertake post graduate study in the area of special education.
Mr Garrett said the Gillard Government was committed to giving Australians with disability the same opportunities as every other citizen, including access to a great education, and participation in the workforce wherever possible.
“We’re making a real difference for families through our initiatives such as the $220 million Helping Children with Autism program and the $147 million Better Start for Children with Disability program. We’re also developing the nation’s first National Disability Insurance Scheme,” he said.
“Rolling out the More Support for Students with Disability funding is an important part of this commitment.”