Parents and school learning support officers demand restoration of funding for children with disabilities
Parents, students and school learning support officers gathered in Sydney to demand that the State Government restores funding for students with ‘low-level’ disabilities who will lose individual funding support under the ‘Every Student, Every School’ initiative from this week, the beginning of Term 3, 2012.
Without immediate reinstatement of funding for these 272 schools, the vital day-to-day support provided by thousands of school learning support officers is at risk. Schools with high numbers of students with low-level disabilities will be particularly disadvantaged.
“The State Government has shown a cold heart in placing cost cutting before the needs of students with a mild disability or learning disorder and their families,” Mr Cahill said today.
“From this week, students with a disability at 272 schools will no longer have access to appropriate and relevant support that reflects their individual diagnosis and needs.
“The Public Service Association calls on the Government to restore funding for the thousands of hard working, dedicated school learning support officers. The funding formula should be revised with the cast-iron guarantee that no NSW student with a disability will be disadvantaged and unable to meet their individual needs,” he said.
Ann Attwater has worked as a school learning support officer in NSW for more than 11 years and is currently representing her colleagues interests working for the PSA.
“I’ve experienced first hand how critical school learning support officers are for supporting students with special needs,” Ms Attwater said.
“Without them, teachers will be unable to provide the level of day-to-day support required for students to access their individualised programs and achieve their educational goals,” she said.
A group of parents from across NSW called Families Against Disability Discrimination (FAMADD) are concerned students with a disability or learning disorder will be left behind by cost cuts.
“Every child deserves fair and equal access to a quality education. Children with a disability or disorder ought to have the very best support possible so they can fully participate in and learn at school,” FAMADD representative and parent Kate Lee said.
“With less learning support, we fear teachers may struggle to offer our kids the attention and assistance they need. No child deserves to lose in the school disability funding lottery,” she said.