Inclusive Education in Wendouree: Adjournment Matter

  • Click here to read this adjournment matter – and the Minister’s response – on the Parliament of Victoria website.

I direct my adjournment question to the Minister for Education, and the action I seek from the minister is to provide me with a detailed update on what this government is doing to support students with disabilities in the electorate of Wendouree.

As a former schoolteacher I know the importance of education and applaud the investment that this government is making to transform Victoria into the Education State. It is important to me that all students receive a quality education in my community, including students with a disability.

I have a strong interest in disability issues, and I recently met with the Ballarat Specialist School’s parents group to discuss their children’s education. I wish to thank the mums and dads for taking the time to meet with me to raise issues important to them and their children.

I was interested to learn that many families have moved to Ballarat in order for their children to attend our specialist school because of its excellent reputation. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the teachers and staff at Ballarat Specialist School for the incredible work they do day in and day out with the students and also for the support they provide families.

I look forward to hearing from the minister and reporting back to my community on this very important issue.

 

Response from the Hon James Merlino MP, Deputy Premier & Minister for Education (4th November 2019) –

I thank the Member for Wendouree for her strong interest in inclusive education.

There are 17 government schools in the Wendouree Electorate, two secondary schools, 13 primary schools, a P-8 Community College and a Specialist School.

Students in the Wendouree electorate are well supported by the Andrews Labor Government’s inclusive education program that is articulated in the Education for all policy. This policy ensures that students with disabilities and additional needs learn in a safe, positive and supportive classroom environment.

The Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD) provides funding support in all government primary and secondary schools for students who meet the eligibility criteria under the categories of intellectual disability, severe behavior disorder, physical disability, hearing impairment, vision impairment, severe language disorder with critical educational need and autism spectrum disorder.

The PSD program currently provides an additional $1.32 million in funding to support 65 students in the electorate’s secondary schools and $2.2 million in additional funding to support 89 students in the electorate’s primary schools.

In April 2016, each school in the Wendouree Electorate received an additional $10,000 in funding through the Inclusion and Equipment funding boost to provide better support to children and young people with disabilities, including those with autism and dyslexia.

Resources and professional learning have been provided to teachers at schools in the electorate to support students diagnosed with dyslexia and learning difficulties.

In 2019, the Regional Autism and Inclusion Coach worked intensively with two schools in the electorate to ensure the provision of quality and inclusive education for students with autism.

The Inclusion Boost funding has provided access to funding to purchase new equipment and assistive technology for students with disabilities.

The Department of Education and Training’s Central Highlands Area teams provide considerable multidisciplinary support to students in the Wendouree Electorate who are diagnosed with a disability or are assessed as having additional needs. Such support includes psychological assessment, social work support, speech and language assessment, health and wellbeing advice and support and universal screening through the Primary School Nursing Program.

Lastly, scholarships are available to all teachers to undertake a Victorian Institute of Teaching endorsed postgraduate course focused on inclusive and special education.

I trust this information is of assistance.

 

Click here to discover more about how we’re working for Wendouree.