Eighty per cent of principals facing “urgent crisis”

by Sarah Bachman25 Mar 2015

Principals are struggling to find funding for more than 100,000 students in need of urgent disability support.

The latest survey of 3,300 educators by the Australian Education Union (AEU) has revealed that 80% of principals lack the resources to properly educate special needs students at their school.

AEU federal president, Correna Haythorpe, said principals have been dipping into other areas of their school budgets to meet the shortfall.

“An extraordinary 84% of principals say they have had to divert funds from other parts of school budgets because the resources are not there for students with disability,” Haythorpe said.

“If children with disabilities are denied a quality education by an underfunded school system, this will affect every part of the rest of their lives.”

However, the Federal Government has downplayed the findings, saying there is currently “more funding for students with a disability than ever before”.

“The Government is providing $5.2bn for students with disability over the period 2014-2017, including over $1.2bn for students with disability in 2015 alone,” a spokesman for Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, said.
 
Stephanie Gotlib, Children with a Disability Australia’s executive officer, told News.com.au the AEU’s findings support the regular feedback she receives from frustrated parents.
 
“We are inundated with families talking about the poor education experiences they have with their child, of not being able to access appropriate resources, support or experience,” Gotlib said, adding that some parents are being asked to only bring their child to school for a few hours a day, due to a lack of support staff.

The AEU boss - visiting Canberra today with a delegation of parents and children with disabilities - said the findings confirmed the government needed to introduce real needs-based funding for students with a disability.

“We are meeting with local members of parliament and we have also scheduled meetings with Bill Shorten and Christine Milne and the families will meet with Christopher Pyne later in the day,” Haythorpe said.
 

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