Media release: 27 March 2012
The NSW Liberal National government is rolling out the worst aspects of Labor's cost-cutting approach to the state's most vulnerable students, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.
('New funding system for disabled pupils welcomed,' Sydney Morning Herald, 27 March 2012, page 5, http://j.mp/H6nR8n)
Dr Kaye said: "Despite Premier Barry O'Farrell's repeated denials, his government is now implementing a new funding formula for public school students with special needs that is based on the disastrous Illawarra trial.
"This has nothing to do with improving outcomes for students with disabilities and learning difficulties.
"If Education Minister Adrian Piccoli were completely candid, he would admit the changes are designed to stem the 11 percent annual growth in the cost of special needs education.
"Using school NAPLAN results and the prevalence of autism in the community to distribute funding will inevitably leave some schools struggling to cope with the additional needs of their students.
"Additional in-school expertise in disabilities and learning difficulties will be welcome.
"However many students will be denied learning opportunities as the O'Farrell government gets rid of the specialists who support teachers to develop programs for students with special needs.
"The Boston Consulting Group was asked by the previous Labor government to identify budget savings in the education budget. They identified $100 million cuts in student welfare by following the Victorian slash and burn approach.
"This is Labor's handiwork being implemented by the Coalition.
"Instead of heeding the pleas of parents and teachers for a new deal for disability funding, the O'Farrell government has delivered a scheme that puts the budget bottom line ahead of the needs of the state's most vulnerable students," Dr Kaye said.
For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455