‘Cold-hearted’ funding cuts

Rachael Sowden from the Parents’ and Citizens’ Association said the P&C wants a review of the “Every School Every Student” reform.Public schools in Armidale will receive more than $220,000 in funding boosts for disabled students; however, not everyone will be better off.
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The State Government’s “Every School Every Student” initiative, which came into effect on Monday, aims to increase services for disabled students throughout NSW schools by providing specialist educators and additional training for classroom teachers.

However, the program also reduces funding in some schools for students with ‘low-level’ disabilities such as those at the high end of the autism spectrum or with attention deficit disorder.

Armidale City Public School, Armidale High School, Duval High School and Ben Venue High School will receive a combined total of $221,893 under the new scheme.

But Drummond Memorial Public School will be one of 272 schools across NSW to lose funding, to the tune of almost $8000.

Rachael Sowden from the Parents and Citizens’ Association of NSW advised parents to approach their school to find out about the changes, and said the P & C Association would ask for a review of the process by which the reform was implemented.

“We want to check that the prevalence rates were correct and ask why they were using NAPLAN data,” she said.

Ms Sowden suggested the needs of schools for disabled services were at least partially determined by analysing the bottom 10 per cent of the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy results.

Public Service Association general secretary, John Cahill, said the cuts would deprive special needs students of individualised assistance and care.

“The State Government has shown a cold heart in placing cost cutting before the needs of students with a mild disability or learning disorder and their families,” Mr Cahill said.

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