Labor will pursue a Senate Inquiry into the education of students with disability and the impact of Budget cuts to programs for students with disability, their parents and carers.
The Inquiry will also be asked to look at what can be done better to support students with a disability in schools, following a number of recent disturbing examples, including the horrific incident last month when a student was locked in a cage in Canberra.
We are very concerned that students with disability are being failed by a system which can't adequately support their needs and by a Government which is only making the situation worse.
Before the election, Christopher Pyne promised to implement the Gonski disability loading from 2015, but this was cut in the Budget.
The Government also cut the $100 million per year More Support for Students with Disabilities program and used the Budget to lock in $30 billion worth of cuts to schools across Australia. This is equivalent to $3.2 million cut from every school, or sacking one in seven teachers.
All children – including those with disability – deserve the best education.
Our schools should be places where all children are supported to learn and teachers are equipped to meet the needs of their students.
We need to hear the voice of parents of children with disabilities as well as schools and teachers.
Parents of children with disability are often made to feel like troublemakers because they demand support for their child at school - that is just not right.
For many, school is place of exclusion and missed opportunity. One in four students with a disability have been denied enrolment and almost one in five are only given the opportunity to attend school part time.
The consequences of this are huge - far fewer students with disability complete year 12, and people with disability have an employment rate that is just half the rest of the population.
Education is at the heart of ensuring that children with disability get the opportunities and support they need to follow their dreams.
The Abbott Government must acknowledge that schools are already under stress and cutting education funding to states as planned will only make matters worse.
MONDAY, 18 MAY 2015
MEDIA CONTACTS: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053
JOANNE CLEARY (BUTLER) 0428 816 751
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