Release type: Joint Media Release

Date:

Port Kennedy language development school leading innovative trial

Ministers:

Senator the Hon Jacinta Collins
Parliamentary Secretary for School Education and Workplace Relations

An innovative tele-therapy approach to educating students with disability is being trialled at the Peel Language Development School.

Parliamentary Secretary for School Education Senator Jacinta Collins and local Member of Federal Parliament Gary Gray today visited the Peel Language Development School in Port Kennedy, Western Australia which is leading the trial.

As trial leader, the school shares its special education expertise and innovation with other schools and education networks throughout the state.

"Under the leadership of Principal Fiona Forbes the Peel Language Development School is breaking new ground in the delivery of programs for children with language disorders and difficulties,” Senator Collins said.

"The school’s new tele-therapy approach is being delivered by speech pathologists using digital technologies supported across the schools participating in the trials.”

Tele-therapy uses interactive webinars, online training modules and face-to-face and group mentoring to ensure expertise is available in Western Australia to students at other schools with limited access to local allied health professionals.

Mr Gray said the Peel Language Development School is categorised as a ‘distinctive school’ in Western Australia, and receives funding under the Australian Government’s More Support for Students with Disabilities initiative.

"The More Support for Students with Disabilities initiative is providing $200 million in additional funding to government and non-government education authorities over the 2012 and 2013 school years to support their work with students with disability and learning difficulties,” Mr Gray said.

"Education authorities are using this funding to build the capacity of schools and teachers to better meet these students’ individual needs.

"Western Australia Government schools are receiving $15.4 million over this period."

During the visit Senator Collins also hosted a forum with Special School principals.

The Peel Language Development School opened on 4 February 2002 and was the first purpose-built facility for early language intervention in Western Australia. The language development school sits within a regular primary school and is an excellent example of successful integration.

"While we have initiatives such as More Support for Students with Disabilities, we know we need to do more for students with disability. That’s why we have announced our National Plan for School Improvement,” Senator Collins said.

"The National Plan for School Improvement will help every student get a great education and secure a great job when they leave school. It will help our economy stay strong.”

For more information on More Support for Students with Disabilities visit http://deewr.gov.au/more-support-students-disabilities.

Senator Collins’ media contact: Jonathan Davies—0409 354 493

Minister Gray’s media contact: Astrid Serventy—0407 383 117

DEEWR Media: media@deewr.gov.au