Advisory group on students with disability announced

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Wednesday, 7 September 2011 16:03pm

The new Schools Disability Advisory Council promises steps towards further inclusion of students with disabilities in mainstream schools. Announced yesterday by Peter Garrett, Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, and Senator Jan McLucas, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, the Council will provide ongoing expert advice to the Government on how to provide more support and better services for students with a disability.

This announcement was made at yesterday’s National Schools Disability Stakeholder Forum: Australian Schooling Promoting Equity and Excellence,a forum with 65 stakeholders from the disability and education sectors.

Of key interest to the forum was the $200 million More Support for Students with Disability initiative, the development of a nationally consistent definition of disability, and the Australian Government Review of School Funding.

The forum focused on issues presented that related to the vision for an inclusive education for students with a disability, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the trial of the National Model for Identifying Students with Disability, and the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority.

Questions of interest to the forum centred on the professional development needs of teachers regarding planning and delivery, programming and activities that enhance learning for students with disabilities, the ways these students learn, and how they are included in the classroom. Issues of assistive technologies, adaption of the curriculum, development of hubs across the jurisdictions and the transition for students from school to employment were considered.

This ongoing discussion regarding the needs of students with disabilities in school was reinforced by Mr Garrett. “We want all kids to have access to a great education, including kids with disability. For that to happen, it’s vital for us to have feedback from those closest to young people with disabilities in schools around the country – parents, carers, teachers and principals.”

These initiatives and the forward thinking exhibited by the forum are expected to increase equal access to learning for students with disabilities. Media Access Australia’s Education Manager, Anne McGrath said “Discussions around technologies and the access they provide for students with disability are an important part of the ‘big picture’ in education”.

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