Disability group calls for revamp of MySchool website

by Robert Ballantyne20 Jan 2016

Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) has called on the Federal Government to include a national “disability inclusion measure” on its MySchool website.

The group said this would allow parents who have children with a disability to identify schools best suited for their needs.

The SPA’s proposed national “disability inclusion measure” would identify the resourcing and skills individual schools have to accommodate students with disabilities.

The inclusion measure would measure a school’s ability to accommodate and handle ‘disability’ in its usual education program.

Gaenor Dixon, SPA national president, welcomed the Senate report but said children with disabilities continued to get a “raw deal” when it came to education.

“We don’t wish to see that the release of this important report descend into a debate about education funding. We are excited to welcome the report’s recommendation for a National Strategy for Students with Disability, led and initiated by the federal government,” Dixon said.

“Part of that strategy needs to include a plan to amend the current My School website to include a national ‘disability inclusion measure’. Such a measure would allow parents of children with disability to compare schools and see what speech pathology and other specialist services are on offer to support their children in securing access to a full education.”

The SPA has argued that funding is only one part of the equation for improving educational outcomes for students with disabilities and that principals and teachers need help in supporting them.

In a statement released yesterday, the Association said an amendment to the MySchool website would “make the whole education system accountable for how they deal with disabilities”.

“It would as the report states, recognise all students with disability as learners and drive the cultural change required to achieve this, particularly at a school leadership level,” it said.

The SPA’s proposal follows the Australian Senate’s report into the treatment of children with a disability in the nation’s schools.

Senator Sue Lines, chairwoman of the Education and Employment References Committee’s (EERC), told a Senate inquiry that the school system was “failing children with disability”.
 
“They are refused enrolment, they are only going a few days a week or not going at all. If they do attend school, bullying and exclusion are the norm. It is disgraceful,” Lines said.
 
“This inquiry has lifted the lid on the failure to provide these children with the basic human right to an education.”
 

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