Petition to James Merlino, The Victorian Department of Education, Emerald Secondary College, Emerald Secondary College School Council
Emerald Secondary College - Reinstate Our Classroom Support
DO YOU KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENING IN OUR SCHOOL? Our classes are not being supported or staffed sufficiently. The number of aide staff supporting students at Emerald Secondary College has been slashed resulting in the withdrawal of most classroom support. Whilst this is indeed a tragedy for our students with special needs, this situation is impacting on every student in our school. Withdrawal of classroom support impacts on every member of the classroom. Every teacher and every student. Teachers not only have the challenge of meeting the needs of the class as a whole, but now have the added pressure of managing the specific learning, behavioural and safety needs of funded students. Students are being left behind and the failure to properly resource and support staff is putting them under enormous pressure. All of our staff and students deserve more. Staff are doing an incredible job despite this but unfortunately, the school has lost many experienced, dedicated staff and we hold grave fears that we will lose more. Funding for individual students with disabilities has not changed, yet they have had the majority of their support withdrawn. SO WHERE IS THE FUNDING GOING IF IT'S NOT BEING USED FOR SUPPORT? Requests for information regarding funding have been denied. There has been a complete lack of transparency and accountability with regards to the use of dedicated funding and the rationale that has been used for allocating support levels. What is clear, is that funding has been reprioritized away from classroom support without any consultation or communication with those impacted by these decisions. SO WHAT CAN WE DO? Show your support by signing this petition and sending a strong message that the staff and students of our school community deserve better. To ensure a fair and equitable education for all we demand that: Emerald Secondary College: Re-instate classroom support to previous levels; Provide transparent and accountable reporting for the use of targeted PSD* Funding. We need your help! Please sign and share this petition - on your Email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - let's get it out there and make a difference! #SupportOurKids #ESCSupportOurKids #Includeme2 * PSD – Programme for Students with Disabilities UPDATE TO THE PETITION For those interested, please refer to the following links which provide some additional information and context regarding this petition: Newspaper Article 1/5/18 - A Call for Inclusion - https://issuu.com/starnewsgroup/docs/2018-05-01_rt_122/5 Newspaper Article 23/4/18 - Cutbacks Spark Council Rift - https://pakenham.starcommunity.com.au/gazette/2018-04-23/cutbacks-spark-council-rift/ Newspaper Article 13/4/18 - Support Slashed in School https://pakenham.starcommunity.com.au/gazette/2018-04-13/support-slashed-in-school/ Newspaper Article 21/8/17 - Raw Deal Special Needs Students - https://ferntreegully.mailcommunity.com.au/mail/2017-08-21/raw-deal-for-special-needs-students/ Original Newspaper Announcement regarding allocation of State Government $1.5M for a purpose built inclusion facility - https://pakenham.starcommunity.com.au/gazette/2015-05.../special-needs-amply-met/ A recent government review entitled “Review of the program for students with disabilities” found that: “9. There is a lack of accountability and transparency for outcomes for all students with disabilities, including those students supported under the PSD and for the use of targeted PSD funding provided to schools.” The recommendation for schools was for “Greater accountability and transparency for the use of funds” The government response to this was committing to work with stakeholders to develop a plan which would Include:“Examining how schools can best report on the use of targeted funding". -http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/about/department/PSD-Review-Report.pdf -http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/about/department/PSD-Review-Response.pdf
Petition to Malcolm Turnbull, Amaze , Every Australian Counts, John Della Bosca, Katherine McLellan, Andrew Gibson, Ken Baker, Gordon Duff, David Moody
Help Unban Sensory Items in Schools
Fidget Spinners. Everyone has heard or seen them now. They have been all over TV, newspapers and social media. They are, what reports are saying, the "New craze." For those who don't know what they are, fidget spinners are a 3 (or more) prong device with a bearing in the centre that you flick with your finger. This device was created to help those who are on the autism spectrum or suffered from anxiety. The fidget spinners are a calming mechanism for them. Research has shown; and Occupational Therapists highly recommend this product as well as the fidget cube, to help with the Sensory overload people come by. Over the past few months, the Fidget spinners have become more and more popular among young children, as well as adults. On the 4th May, the number 1 trending thing on EBay was the Fidget Spinners. If you googled "Fidget Spinner", you will get multiple links to online stores selling the product but now the top links are news reports about the new "Craze" and how they are becoming banned in our schools. This I, as well as many other parents who have children on the spectrum will agree with me, is not fair. Children have come in, who just see them as a toy; which is a name I have also seen them labeled as, using them in class when not needed, distracting others, doing everything but what they are intended to do. It is not fair on the children in our mainstream schools, trying to be like everyone else, but need a little extra help when it comes to concentration or a Sensory overload, not being able to use them. Many schools have banned them, I have read posts on Facebook from Autism support groups; who's children who are on the spectrum, aren't allowed to have their fidget spinners in class. Yes I agree, they can be a distraction with the noise they make, but if used correctly, the children who really need to use it will make sure it's out of sight, in their own personal space. What happened to inclusion? These children NEED these to help them learn. The Australian Government, Department of Education and everyone else involved need band together and create a plan to control this. Enforce a rule for schools to allow these children to have this device. And it's not only the Spinners, but it's the cubes and any other device that can help these children get through their school day. Bring in a rule that they are only allowed in class if it is certified by an Occupational Therapist maybe? Doesn't seem that hard. What do you think?