The Premier today failed to explain why children in special schools do not receive the same level of funding as children who are mainstreamed in regular schools.

There is no justification for this.

The Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner advised representatives of the Northern Support School Association that a complaint that they lodged over this inequity is not currently covered by the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 and that, as a result, they have no power to accept the complaint.

However, the Office did indicate that it would raise their “advice that this situation prima facie raises an inequity in funding, teacher aide hours and access to programs for students who have a disability, depending on what type of school they attend, but this situation is not covered by the Act” with the Minister for Education and the Attorney General.

The Office also indicated that they would recommend that the inequity in funding, teacher aide hours and access to programs be rectified. They also said that the Anti-Discrimination Act should be amended to cover this kind of situation.

Despite all of this, when questioned in Parliament today the Premier refused to say that he would fix the anomaly and fund children in special schools to the same level as in regular schools.

None of the additional $16.8m allocated to support high and additional needs students in Tasmanian public schools, had gone to students attending special schools. Nor had any of the increased funding of $25m since 2004 gone to support students enrolled in special schools, with all of it going to support inclusion.

Special schools and the parents of children attending these schools deserve an explanation as to why they have been missing out.

This can’t be left until after the March 2010 election.
Sue Napier MP Shadow Minister for Education