Reconsider the "Every Student, Every School" initiative
This petition had 368 supporters
The NSW Government is implementing changes to the way they provide funding for students with disabilities. They are calling these changes “Every Student, Every School”. The front page of the NSW Government document outlining which school get what amount of funding states that
"Each regular school receives a base allocation for learning and support. This reflects the size of the school and the learning and support needs of students. Any changes in allocations between the previous year and this year have been carefully considered and reflect changes in:
• enrolments at the school
• learning needs of students as determined through literacy and numeracy data" (ie, the schools NAPLAN scores)
There are 2 big problems with the reasoning behind the Governments policy:
1. Basing funding for children who have a disability on their literacy and numeracy outcomes shows a complete lack of understanding that some disabilities don't only require learning support, but also (a) social support to help them integrate into a system that requires their social conformity to be able to get the most from the setting, and (b) sensory support to allow them the resources they need to cope when they experience sensory overload.
2. In small schools, it is a statistical fallacy to assume that the number of actual disabled students will reflect the average incidence of disability in all schools. The small size of some schools means that it is statistically expected that some of the small schools will have many more actual students with disability than expected if you merely use the global average to make a prediction. The NSW Government says they are making things more equitable, but basing their funding on an assumption that 1 child in 100 has a disability fails to take into account that it is possible for a school with 150 students to have 3 or more disabled children attending, and seems somewhat shortsighted.
The NSW Government has made it look like most schools will be better off under their new system. However, every person I have spoken to about these changes has expressed real fear about how it will actually work. Even the schools who look better off on paper will, in reality, have less resources to work with. Funding for individual students is being taken away. Teachers Aide positions are being removed. Principals, who are very well trained and capable educators, but not business managers, are being expected to make smaller amounts of money cover the support needs of all the children with disabilities in their school, as well as pay for staff and resources.
As the parent of 2 Autistic children I am very concerned about these changes. Not only will they disadvantage my children by failing to provide funds for the real extra support needs they have, but they will stretch the resources available to teachers so far that there is potential for every student, disability or not, to be disadvantaged. If the Government is serious about providing equal opportunities for all students they need to address the need for Autistic children to receive support in the key areas of social interactions and sensory regulation.
If you are concerned about these changes you can
1. sign this petition- if you want to there is the option to add your own reason for signing
2. write a letter to your Local MP- make sure you state that you believe the Government has been shortsighted in the allocation of funds, therefore making it impossible for schools to meet the needs of students with disabiities.
3. write a letter to any of the relevant Ministers and/or to the NSW Premier (you can find all their contact details here- http://www.premier.nsw.gov.au/content/contact-team ) - make sure you state that you believe the Government has been shortsighted in the allocation of funds, therefore making it impossible for schools to meet the needs of students with disabiities.
We need to speak up! If our voices are not heard the consequences for our children will be far reaching. Please do not assume that because you do not live in NSW or currently have a child with a disability that this does not affect you. This will affect your childrens friends and their parents. It could affect your nieces, nephews, and one day your grandchildren. Please add your voice to the many thousands of concerned parents and teachers in our state.
Thanks for your support.
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