(Australia) More funding for disabled students

July 17, 2017 The Australian: As claims rise, Labor fears Gonski disability funding will suffer More than one in 10 Australian students will attract disability funding next year when the numbers receiving assistance double under the Gonski 2.0 reforms, prompting Labor and the unions to voice concerns that the scheme could be chronically underfunded. As part of the $23.5 billion school funding changes, the way students with a disability attract additional funding is undergoing a wholesale rewrite in a bid to better target different levels of support to the neediest students. … Under the changes, the number of primary and secondary students funded for a disability will double to 470,000 students but the loadings will be scaled according to the level of classroom assistance they need, with three tiers of funding ranging from $4542 per student to $34,173. The Turnbull government will spend $247.2bn in total recurrent school funding over the decade. Of this, $21.7bn will be for the students with disability loadings, an increase of $437 million on earlier¬ figures because the timetable to pump extra money into underfunded schools has been compressed from 10 years to six. Funding for disability loadings will increase on average by 5.9 per cent annually, and next year about an extra $100m will be spent on the loadings. The overall schools package increases spending by $23.5bn over 10 years, but Labor argues this represents a $17bn shortfall compared with its model. Australian Education Union federal president Correna Haythorpe accused the government of “abject failure’’ to properly fund students with a disability. … Australian Education Union federal president Correna Haythorpe accused the government of “abject failure’’ to properly fund students with a disability. “Firstly, it has set the levels of funding according to what it wanted to spend rather than the real costs of educating students with different needs,’’ she told The Australian. “Secondly, by arbitrarily limiting the overall amount of funding it provides to public schools to 20 per cent of what is required, it has ensured that areas of disadvantage, such as disability, will never be properly funded by the federal government.’’ … Labor’s education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said: “The number of students with a disability is doubling, but ... many students will miss out on the help they need. That’s completely unacceptable.’’… About 300,000 students needed “supplementary’’ assistance, 110,000 students needed “substantial’’ help, and about 55,000, or 1 per cent, of students needed an “extensive’’ adjustment such as individual attention from teachers and health therapists. … The Queensland University of Technology’s Linda Graham said states needed to ensure¬ classroom teachers had the skills to deliver the types of support for students who did not attract funding under the NCCD, such as those with ADHD and dyslexia. Professor Graham said the NCCD was better than existing state disability funding methods, which used disability categories and medical diagnosis to ring-fence funding.