Labor has pledged to provide $300 million for students with disabilities as part of a new education plan, if it is elected to government at the upcoming federal election.
The new funding was announced by deputy Labor leader and education spokesperson Tanya Plibersek during an address to the National Press Club today.
“If you go into schools, if you talk to parents of children with a disability, they will tell you again and again that the resources they have to teach their child is not enough,” Ms Plibersek told ABC News.
Funding hasn’t kept up with demand
The deputy Labor leader said that the number of students identified as having a disability has almost doubled, but funding has only increased by 7 percent.
“There is something that doesn’t match up there,” she said.
Under current funding arrangements, the Government says it will spend $28.5 billion to support students with disabilities nationally over the next ten years.
This funding is complemented by the National Disability Insurance Scheme, which can help pay for aides and extra support at schools.
New funding to meet demand
Ms Plibersek said a future Labor government would ensure funding for students with disabilities met the demand for services.
The proposed new funding will be delivered on a per student basis.
The new plan also includes bursaries of up to $40,000 to entice high achievers into teaching and the establishment of a National Principal’s Academy.
A survey by the Australian Education Union found four out of five public school principals did not feel properly resourced to teach students with disabilities.
Training at the proposed academy will include leadership skills in addition to teaching, and will be open to current and potential future principals.
“The biggest educational impact is from principals who can get what’s called collective teacher efficacy, it means all of the teachers in the school working together to teach every child every day,” Ms Plibersek said.
“There is some fantastic training out there, but it is very haphazard and varies from state to state, from system to system.”
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