Critical to lodge your disability submission with parliament

Submission Information

  • Click here to make your submission
  • Click here for help on developing your submission
  • Click here for a guide on responding to the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference

Federation is asking every member and every workplace to lodge a submission to the NSW Legislative Council parliamentary inquiry established to investigate and report on the provision of education to school students with a disability or special needs.

Submissions close on February 26, 2017. Resources to support the development of your school’s submission are being emailed to Federation Representatives and can be found on Federation’s website here.

Department of Education figures show that around 15 per cent of the total 780,000 students in NSW public schools have adjustments to their learning due to disability and/or difficulties in learning or behaviour.

Commitment to equity

Federation continues to campaign for the right of every student to receive a public education of the highest quality and for all students to become successful learners. Too many students with disability are being denied fundamental rights through inequitable access to additional support; missing out on improvements to their learning outcomes, wellbeing and future lives.

The inadequate provision of education to students with disability cannot continue.

The Review of Funding for Schooling (Gonski Review) confirmed that it costs more to deliver on equity and excellence for students with disability. Accordingly, a Students with Disability (SWD) loading was included in the National Education Reform Agreement (NERA) and Australian Education Act 2013. The Nationally Consistent Collection of Data will inform the loading and resolve the issue of inconsistent definitions of disability across the country.

The NSW government, via state Education Minister Adrian Piccoli, reiterated its strong commitment to Gonski as recently as October 17 in correspondence to principals, affirming, “My role is to continue to strongly advocate for the Gonski Agreement and the needs-based funding model”. He made this commitment also in his address to the Primary Principals Association State Conference on October 20.

Challenges to be addressed in the context of the Every Student, Every School (ESES) policy and the allocation of funding through the Resource Allocation Model include:

  • Integration Funding levels
  • Access Request and placement panel processes
  • provision of support class placements
  • timely access to specialist support
  • equitable resource allocation to Schools for Specific Purposes (SSPs)
  • time and professional learning for personalised learning.

Parliamentary inquiry – an opportunity for change

The NSW parliamentary inquiry established in August this year will look into and report on the provision of education to students with a disability or special needs in government and non-government schools throughout the state.

As teachers, we need to be equipped with the skills and knowledge to work with a diverse student population, the systemic supports to provide early interventions and the time to understand and plan from the needs, strengths and hopes of our students, together with their families.

The inquiry is an opportunity to register unmet need, call for equity and share what equity for students with disability could look like in your school with the full implementation of the Gonski funding model. The inquiry is an opportunity to unite with parents/carers, colleagues and community members in lobbying local MPs to present evidence and mount the case for the federal government to deliver the Gonski SWD loading.

The inquiry’s terms of reference

  1. equitable access to resources for students with a disability or special needs in regional and metropolitan areas
  2. the impact of the government’s “Every Student Every School” policy on the provision of education to students with a disability or special needs in public schools
  3. developments since the 2010 inquiry by General Purpose Standing Committee No. 2 into the provision of education to students with a disability or special needs and the implementation of its recommendations
  4. complaint and review mechanisms within the school systems in NSW for parents and carers
  5. any other related matters.

Find further information on the inquiry here.

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