September 2011 A new Schools Disability Advisory Council will provide ongoing, expert advice to the Federal Government on how to provide more support and better services for students with disability. Minister for School Education Peter Garrett and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers Senator Jan McLucas made the announcement.
“Improving services and support for people with disabilities is a key priority...” Mr Garrett said. “The new advisory council will comprise peak representative organisations from the disability sector as well as academic experts. Membership of the panel will be announced shortly. The Government has a number of important initiatives underway to improve the quality and consistency of support that schools are able to provide to students with disability.”
Initiatives discussed at the forum include:
- The $200 million More Support for Students with Disability initiative, announced by the Prime Minister in this year’s Budget, with funds to be available to schools next year;
- The development of a nationally consistent definition of disability, which will give Governments a better understanding of current and future needs in the education system; and
- The Australian Government Review of School Funding, chaired by David Gonski, which is examining the funding support provided to schools working with students with disability.
“We want all kids to have access to a great education, including kids with disability. For that to happen, it’s vital for us to have feedback from those closest to young people with disabilities in schools around the country – parents, carers, teachers and principals,” Mr Garrett said.
Senator McLucas said improving learning and skills for people with disabilities was a key plank of the National Disability Strategy, launched earlier this year. “The National Disability Strategy recognises that targeted support is needed to help those people who are at a disadvantage get a quality education both at school and into their adult life,” she said.
“We know that investing in early intervention for children with disabilities before they get to school gives them the best chance of reaching their full potential. That’s why the Government is delivering early intervention programs including the $147 million Better Start for Children with Disability, which provides up to $12,000 for children under the age of 7 to access a range of services and therapies.”
For further information on the forum visit NatSchDisabilityStakeholderForum.
For further information on the More Support for Students with Disabilities visit MoreSupportforSWD.
From information provided by the Minister for School Education and the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, September 7, 2011.
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