The NSW Government will introduce new support measures for students with disabilities under a $205 million Disability Strategy being released today.
Education Minister Rob Stokes said the new strategy will help accommodate the growing number of students with disabilities and ensure they have access to an education system that is better equipped to meet their needs.
“Equality of education is the bedrock that supports the entire public school system. This is why it is our job to support every child’s fundamental right to learn in an open and inclusive environment,” Mr Stokes said.
With 97 per cent of students with disabilities learning in mainstream public schools, Mr Stokes said that it was essential that the NSW Government provides additional training for teachers, more resources and more support for students and their families.
“It is the mission of the NSW Government to ensure that every student feels welcome at school and has the support to thrive academically and socially,” Mr Stokes said.
The strategy includes a range of new initiatives to support students with disabilities including:
- greater capacity for school principals to hire additional student learning support officers;
- additional training for head teachers, deputy principals and principals;
- a target to increase the number of people studying special education by 50 per cent by 2022;
- stronger collaboration with universities to ensure teaching degrees provide specialised disability training;
- new professional learning programs and expert support for all public school teachers;
- an innovation fund for schools to trial giving schools resources and greater flexibility to support students with disabilities; and
- better tools to track student learning and development progress.
Parents, carers, teachers and schools will also have access to new online resources that allow them to easily connect with each other and share information about students’ disability needs.
“We must treat parents and carers as partners with us in their child’s education and this is why the NSW Government has worked with families, schools and experts in shaping this long-term strategy to support all students with disabilities,” Mr Stokes said.