Students in schools such as the Ballarat Specialist School will benefit from $76 million available to help more than 350 government and non-government special schools across the country over the next six years as part of the National Plan for School Improvement.
Federal Member for Ballarat, Catherine King, said the funding will be over and above the additional resourcing that many special schools will already be eligible to receive as part of the new needs-based school funding arrangements being progressed by the Gillard Government.
“The Review of Funding for Schooling recognised the high resourcing demands in all special schools and this extra investment will assist the more than 25,000 children with multiple and complex disability in the special school environment,” Ms King said.
“This extra help will ensure that students with disability attending special schools, their teachers and parents will receive the support they need to address these complex needs.
‘Boosting in funding for students in special schools will also give certainty around the resourcing required for these schools, while work continues on the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability.”
Ms King said the data collection will, for the first time, provide detailed information about the levels of adjustment provided to students with disability to ensure they can access education on the same basis as students without disability.
“As recommended by the Review of Funding for Schooling, this data collection will be used to implement a permanent disability loading in 2015,” Ms King said.
“This Government believes in the transformative effect of students with disability accessing education opportunities just like any other student.”
The National Plan for School Improvement provides:
• $100 million extension of the More Support for Students with Disabilities initiative;
• A safety net for special schools to ensure schools maintain current levels of funding; and
• Full public funding of the SRS for students in special schools.
Currently mainstream and special schools each serve an important role within the educational landscape and it is recognised that special schools play an integral role in the education of some students with disability with complex needs.
This extra support for special schools could provide:
• More specialist teachers and extra training in the use of assistive technology;
• Assistance to support special schools to serve as centres of expertise for other schools;
• Design and delivery of school-based professional development for teachers;
• Closer links with allied health professionals to strengthen schools’ and teachers’ capacity to support students with disability;
• School-based fixed equipment; and
• Education based therapy.
The Commonwealth Government will also collaborate with state and territory education ministers through the Standing Council on School Education and Early Childhood (SCSEEC) to commission technical work on the resourcing of special schools and special assistance schools.
Special assistance schools provide vital support to students who may have social, emotional or behavioural challenges.