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NSW public schools more accessible than ever

A report tabled today by Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell has outlined the work undertaken by the NSW Government since the Parliamentary Inquiry into Education of Students with a Disability or Special Needs in NSW for students with disability learning in our public schools.

Ms Mitchell said key findings include improved teacher capability, funding to encourage inclusive education, smoother transitions from primary to high school, and a review of disability funding criteria.

“I’m conscious our students with disability have many different experiences of learning, and I’m committed to working with our schools to create a more inclusive system so all students with disability can thrive at school,” Ms Mitchell said.

“We are building the capacity of mainstream public schools so that all students, regardless of disability, can fully participate in learning at their local school and access teaching strategies and support tailored to meet their individual needs.”

Achievements in 2019 and highlights for 2020 outlined in the Report include:

  • Improved teacher capability – in addition to improved professional learning, a scholarship has been launched for teachers to study a Masters in inclusive or special education, with more than a hundred scholarships expected to be taken up in 2020.
  • More inclusive learning – a new Innovation Program is being launched to provide funding for schools to test new ideas that improve the learning and wellbeing of students with disability and evaluate how initiatives that improve outcomes for students can be scaled up across the State.
  • A smoother transition to high school – students who receive integration funding support will now have their funding automatically roll-over from Year 6 to Year 7, and applications for high school classes and support has moved from Year 6 to Year 5 to give students and families more time to prepare.
  • Review of disability funding criteria – the Progress Report sets out an ambitious agenda for 2020 including a commitment for the Department of Education to explore new approaches to the use of disability criteria to better capture student need, as recommended by the Parliamentary Inquiry.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said the report aligns with the Government’s commitment to improve services and support for people with disability.

“Having been a student with a disability in a public school, I know all too well how hard the road can be but I also know how much better supports and technology are today,” Mr Ward said.

“This report highlights the excellent progress our Government is making to help students thrive so that they can reach their educational goals.”

This is the first annual report on progress for students with disability in our schools in 2019, recommended by the Parliamentary Inquiry into Education of Students with a Disability or Special Needs in NSW.

The Report is available on the Disability Strategy webpage.

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