Extra support for students with disabilities

State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, has welcomed three recent announcements that will benefit children with disabilities.

“The first of those is the announcement that 15 schools across the state will receive funds to employ specialist Autism Inclusion Support Co-ordinators under a new trial program,” said Mr Bull, who added he was optimistic one of those would be in East Gippsland and would provide a valuable service to all schools in the region.

“Of equal importance is the announcement that all Victorian Government schools will receive a share in $37.2m of additional funding under the More Support for Students with Disabilities program to provide extra support for students with special needs.

“On top of this was the announcement that Mansfield Autism Statewide Service's (MASS) Travelling Teacher Service - which supports many East Gippsland families impacted by autism - will receive $500,000 over the next two years

Mr Bull said this government had already made a significant investment into supporting students with a disability and this would build on that initial commitment of more than $170 million of additional funding into the program for students with a disability.

“The benefit of the $37.2m is the flexibility around it, as schools can use the funding in ways that best suits the needs of the students.”

Education Minister, Martin Dixon, said “this additional $37.2 million will be invested in programs we have designed to increase the capacity of mainstream schools to ensure families have real choice in education for students with a disability.

Mr Dixon said schools may choose to use the funding to:

  purchase additional specialist technology and software, including real time captioning for students who are deaf or vision-impaired;   provide extra teacher training on supporting students with disabilities;   enhance support for students with disabilities starting primary or secondary school; or   increase curriculum support for teachers.

The trial project to provide Autism Inclusion Support Co-ordinators in 15 schools across the state will include a suite of online learning modules for teachers.

Schools will also be able to access direct support for students and teachers from disability agencies including Downs Syndrome Victoria and Autism Victoria.