The Andrews Labor Government is ensuring kids with disabilities get the support they need and don’t get left behind with a new package of measures to make our education system fairer.
Premier Daniel Andrews, Minister for Education James Merlino and Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos today visited Yarrabah School with Member for Mordialloc Tim Richardson to announce $61 million for a suite of inclusive education initiatives including new equipment and programs.
Over the last three months, the Premier has personally led a series of roundtable discussions with parents of students with disabilities, who have called for more to be done to strengthen inclusive education practice.
These new measures respond to those calls – with significant support for both students and families, who are so often those at the greatest risk of being left behind.
The package contains $42 million in school initiatives to increase the participation, achievement and wellbeing of approximately 90,000 students in government schools with disabilities or additional needs. This includes:
- $7.5 million to develop and run after school hours care and school holiday demonstration programs at Yarrabah School, Kalianna School and Laurimar Primary School in 2018, making it easier for parents and carers to re-enter the workforce or increase their working hours
- $12 million to buy specialised equipment – such as braille translation software, e-book and e-text readers, talking and accessibility software – to help students with their learning
- $6.5 million for scholarships for teachers and other school staff, including 145 scholarships for postgraduate studies in special education and 60 scholarships to undertake the Master of Education (Applied Behaviour Analysis) at Monash University
- $7.5 million to ensure all government schools are taking an inclusive approach to students at every level.
These after school and school holiday programs are Malcolm Turnbull’s responsibility but he has abandoned these kids and their families. These demonstration programs will be used to show Malcolm Turnbull the value and impact these can have on children with disabilities and their families.
The funding package will also invest $19 million in early childhood education initiatives. The funding includes:
- $6.4 million to upgrade early childhood infrastructure and equipment – including playgrounds – across the state and provide grants to allow kinders to provide safe and more inclusive environments
- $3.2 million for the Kindergarten Inclusion Support program to give 225 more children with disabilities or developmental delay access to state-funded kinder in 2018 and 2019
- $5.1 million to train all maternal and child health nurses in early identification for autism and train 5,000 early childhood professionals in a new online assessment tool to provide a more tailored learning experience for children with a disability or development delay.
Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews
“This is about giving every child every chance to succeed. It’s what’s right, it’s what’s fair – and we’re getting it done.”
“After meeting with so many families over the past few months and hearing their stories first hand – I know this will make a real difference.”
Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino
“For the last three years we have been building and upgrading schools right across the state, but education is about more than just bricks and mortar. Education also needs to be fair – and that’s what we’re delivering.”
Quote attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos
“Early intervention and support for our youngest children – particularly those with a disability – can have a positive impact on their future development and that’s why this is such an important investment.”
Quote attributable to Member for Mordialloc Tim Richardson
“This will mean so much to parents, students and teachers here at Yarrabah School, and will make sure every child has the same opportunity to a great education.”