Reviewing and funding disability education
Adequate funding to better support schools and teachers to deliver high quality education to students with a disability is vital and should continue to be a key concern for the Queensland government.
- Report to determine how the state government can support schools and teachers to provide quality education to disabled students.
- Without adequate funding schools will not meet the educational needs of disabled students.
- State government to release report at the end of the year.
What’s the issue?
A review of disability education in state schools began in July this year after the Queensland government appointed Deloitte Access Economics to examine current policies and practices in place to support students with a disability.
School principals, teachers, teacher aides, students, families and carers completed an online survey to determine how the education department can better support schools and teachers to provide quality education to all students with disability who are enrolled in Queensland schools.
This issue is significant for education as currently more than 31,000 students, representing 5.8 per cent of total state school enrolments, have a verified disability.
In 2012, 4,253 students with disability were enrolled in Queensland Catholic schools, representing a 92 per cent increase over six years and accounting now for 3.2 per cent of enrolments. The Catholic sector enrols about 13 per cent of students with disability in Queensland.
According to Education Minister Kate Jones, the findings will help the state government ensure the policies and practices relating to disability are “world class,” that the highest quality education is being offered to students with a disability, and in what areas the department can better support teachers.
However, to best support teachers adequate funding at a state and federal level must also be allocated to students with a disability in the non-government sector.
Students with disabilities attending non-government schools remain significantly underfunded compared to students with the same learning adjustment needs attending a government school.
Without substantial and adequate funding there will not be the resources to ensure that schools have the capacity to meet the educational needs of all students.
With the federal government continuing to cut millions from disability programs, many non-government schools in Queensland and the Northern Territory are being forced to “make do” with inadequate funding.
How will this affect members?
Union members are extremely concerned that underfunding is causing schools to struggle to provide all students with a quality education.
Funding inadequacies are a major barrier to the provision of essential resources, individual support and access to professional expertise essential for the provision of quality education to students with disabilities.
While the report may help determine how the state government can better support students with a disability in schools, adequate funding is crucial to this.
The report will be released by the end of the year.