June 18, 2016

A Shorten Labor Government will ensure that students with disability - like every Australian student – can get the quality education they deserve.

When students with disability do not have the right support, it not only impacts their learning, but can make it difficult for teachers to meet the needs of the class as a whole.

That’s why Labor is outlining a clear plan that will ensure that students with disability are better supported in the classroom, with more resources and improved teacher training.

Resources based on need

Labor will ensure schools and teachers have the support and resources they need to improve the education of students with disability or additional learning needs.

The Your Child. Our Future plan will provide $570 million in additional support for students with disability and additional learning needs by 2019, compared to the Liberals. This support includes:

  • $368 million in extra investment in the 2018-19 school years by delivering the Gonski reforms on time and in full. This will be targeted to student need through the interim disability loading.
  • $202 million in additional support for students with disability over the 2017-19 school years – more than reversing Mr Turnbull’s cuts to the More Support for Students with Disabilities program.

This funding will make a real difference, and will mean more allied health support – such as speech pathologists or occupational therapists, more individual attention, and more early intervention.

Right now, too many students with disability or additional learning needs are not getting the support they need to achieve their best.

School upgrades and technology to support learning

Labor’s plan will ensure more students with disability will get the chance to participate fully in learning and school activities, by supporting school communities so they can purchase assistive education technology and undertake minor capital improvements.

Labor will invest $30 million so that from 2017:

  • At least 3,000 grants of up to $5,000 will be available for schools to invest in equipment and technology to support learning for students with disability.
  • At least 500 grants of up to $30,000 will be available for minor capital works so students can access school facilities and be properly included in school activities.

Inclusive Education -  Teaching Scholarships and Curriculum

More teachers will be supported to become experts in inclusive education, with Labor investing $40 million for up to 2,000 teachers to complete a Masters in Inclusive Education.

The development of a new curriculum for students with disability will be fast-tracked so students with disability get the same learning opportunities as their peers.

A Shorten Labor Government will work with the States and Territories to develop a national strategy to improve educational outcomes for students with disability, with clear targets to close the gap in Year 10 and Year 12 school completion for students with disability.

Making schools safe and supportive for students with disability

Labor will establish a national approach to reducing the bullying of students with disability, and will make sure every school has anti-bullying strategies in place that protect students with disability.

Reducing and eliminating the bullying of students with disability will benefit all students.

No-one deserves to be bullied and to miss out on educational opportunities because they are different. Students with disability are up to three time more likely to be bullied than their peers.

Labor will provide teachers, principals and school communities with the practical tools they need to create safe and supportive schools for students with disability.

Autism Hubs and Dyslexia Friendly Schools

Labor’s plan will build the capacity of schools to meet individual student need, including through establishing Autism Hubs in each state and territory.

Autism Hubs will provide advice on the most effective and inclusive ways to help students with autism, deliver professional development and in-class coaching for teachers, as well as link parents and families to health and specialist services in the community.

In addition, a network of dyslexia-friendly schools will be created across Australia, with participating schools certified for their capacity to deliver best-practice programs in inclusive education.

Before the last election, the Liberals promised a “unity ticket” with Labor on schools. After the election, they cut $29 billion from our classrooms and dumped the needs-based Gonski reforms.

These cuts will disproportionately hurt students with disability.

The Liberals have gone a whole term of government without delivering reform for students with disability – this isn’t good enough.

Only a Shorten Labor Government will ensure students with disability get the support they need to succeed at school.

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