Parkdale Secondary College parents and teachers consulted on school funding

Minister Assisting for School Education Brendan O'Connor and federal Member for Isaacs Mark Dreyfus today visited Parkdale Secondary College to hear from parents, teachers and carers about better funding for students with disability following the release of the Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling.

Minister Assisting for School Education Brendan O'Connor and federal Member for Isaacs Mark Dreyfus today visited Parkdale Secondary College to hear from parents, teachers and carers about better funding for students with disability following the release of the Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling.

The Parkdale Secondary College school community includes about 20 students with disability, including sight impairment, hearing impairment and autism.

"The Australian Government believes every child should have access to the best possible education, regardless of disability, where they live, the income of their family or the school they attend," Mr O'Connor said.

"The fact some of the students with disability at Parkdale are in elite music, maths, science and sports streams shows that this school has developed a culture where students with disability are expected to participate like any other, and thoroughly supported by the whole school community to successfully do so.

"Kids with disability face extra challenges when it comes to getting an education so I've come here to find out what's working and what can be done better, especially when it comes to ensuring funding is focused on getting the best results for students with disability.

"Talking with school communities is part of my role in leading the national, cross-sectoral work on building a better funding model for students with disability as recommended by the Gonski Review."

The Review Panel found that Australia must aspire to have a school system that is among the best in the world for its quality and equity, and must prioritise support for its lowest performing students.

It also concludes that no student in Australia should leave school without the basic skills and competencies needed to participate in the workforce and lead successful and productive lives.

"Parkdale Secondary College focuses on helping every student reach their potential, and is known for its excellent VCE results, community focused VCAL programs in the senior years, Enhanced Maths and Science streams in the junior years, as well as music classes and an elite sport pathway program all designed to give every student the chance to excel," Mr Dreyfus said.

"This is a great example of a school community that does not give up on any student, and one that supports every kid to ensure they learn skills to help them achieve in both work and life."

Parkdale Secondary College also received $200,000 under the Building the Education Revolution program to construct a new covered outdoor learning area.

The Australian Government is already doing a lot to help students with disability. This includes:

  • $200 million for the More Support for Students with Disabilities initiative, which will provide support to students with disabilities and assist teachers and schools to better meet the needs of those students;
  • $40.5 million is provided for the Positive Partnerships initiative over 2007-08 to 2014-15. Between 2008 and 2012, 2,250 teachers and 5,800 parents of children with autism have been supported through the program to help these students at school. This program has been complemented by a website that has attracted over 28,000 registered users and
  • Providing the families of children aged under six years who have been diagnosed with moderate or greater sight or hearing impairments including deafness, blindness, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy or Fragile X syndrome up to $12 000 for services such as speech pathology, audiology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology and orthoptics.

"I look forward to visiting more schools like Parkdale to learn more about how all levels of government and the broader community can work more closely with school communities to better support kids with disability," Mr O'Connor said.