Student support lacking: survey

Tasmanian Disability Education Reform Lobby founder Kristen Desmond
Tasmanian Disability Education Reform Lobby founder Kristen Desmond

PARENTS of children with disabilities continue to be frustrated by government, catholic and private education systems that fail to adequately support the schooling needs of their children.

Parent satisfaction survey results released today by the Tasmanian Disability Education Reform Lobby show that a third of surveyed families believe their children received no school supports, including from teacher aides. In other results:

  • •66 per cent of the 140 families surveyed believed the support they received was inappropriate.
  • •30 per cent of parents said their child did not have an individual education plan.
  • •Fewer than half of parents of students on the autism spectrum said their child received teacher aide support, while students with Down syndrome were most likely to receive aides.
  • •17 per cent said funding support had increased and 21 per cent said support had decreased.

Tasmanian Disability Education Reform Lobby founder Kristen Desmond said the situation for some children was discriminatory, where schools had forced students out because they were unable to deal with their extra needs.

She said staff should undergo further professional developments for teaching students with a disability, to comply with legislative requirements.

"Anecdotally we have heard more stories of discrimination in the classroom and at school and we believe this is linked to the numbers of students who have had their funding reduced in the 2014 school year," Ms Desmond said.

"The interim funding model that we have seems to have left students worse off.

"The government needs to ensure that no one is worse off in terms of the model they use going forward."

Tasmanian Association for Children with Disability chief executive Caroline Pegg said it was important to understand individual cases to discover why children weren't getting adequate supports.

Ms Pegg said funding that was aligned with individual needs, as the Gonski funding would have offered, would bring greater parent satisfaction.

She said the government's review of disability education, due in June 2015, should target parent dissatisfaction.


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