Enabling Equity

Inadequate government funding for students with disability continues to put increasing pressure on all public school settings as they work to meet the learning needs of all their students.

Currently not one cent of the additional Gonski money delivered to schools via the Resource Allocation Model has included addition funding for students with disability other than those receiving funding through low-level adjustment.

Students with disability funding accounted for more than 9 per cent of Commonwealth funding in 2019 according to the Commonwealth, however, figures released to the Australian Education Union under Freedom of Information has shown disability funding went backwards in five states and territories between 2017 and 2018 for students with disability in public schools.

Recognition from governments by way of funding and resourcing that meets the needs of students with disability — coupled with increased permanent teacher staffing and executive entitlement, reduced class sizes, more release time and greater professional learning opportunities for teachers and improved infrastructure — must be realised.

For too long students with disability have been denied vital resources.

This is why Federation’s Time to Act campaign is seeking system-wide improvements to support students with disability across all public school settings, such as an increase in release time for teachers and smaller class sizes.

The campaign survey has been met with enthusiasm in schools. Members have been active in attending association meetings and sharing their personal stories supporting the campaign for resourcing. Throughout this phase of the campaign these stories have been further shared by Federation members with state Members of Parliament.

The results of the survey will assist Federation in determining the future courses of action around the Time to Act campaign. The priorities will be determined as a result of the information that schools provide through the survey.

For further information and updates on this campaign, please follow #TimeToActNSW on Federation’s social media channels, visit the campaign website at www.nswtf.org.au/timetoact, or contact your local organiser.

Federation also holds free, NESA-accredited Trade Union Training seminars to support members working with students with disability. The Organising for Intervention — accessing teaching support for students with disability seminar gives participants the opportunity to learn about resources, share knowledge as well as work together towards a stronger, more inclusive public education system.

— Hannah Archer Lawton, Acting Officer attached to the Special Education Restricted Committee