The Victorian Budget 2020/21 will invest an unprecedented $1.6 billion to support school students with disability in an ‘Australian-first’ Disability Inclusion package.
The record investments, which will double the number of students receiving extra support in the classroom to 55,000, is expected to create up to 1,730 jobs across the state by 2025.
All schools will benefit from the change, enabling them to better support students who may have previously been ineligible for targeted support such as those with autism, dyslexia or complex behaviours. A world-leading pilot in more than 100 schools will be rolled out across the state, to identify and respond to the needs of students with disability.
This new approach is intended puts the needs of the student at the heart of the initiative. “This will completely change the way we support children in our schools focusing on what they can achieve, rather than what they can’t,” Minister for Education, James Merlino said.
With the additional funding, schools will be able to better plan and adjust support for students throughout all stages of their schooling.
New facilitator roles will be established to help schools and families work together through this new approach. Facilitators will bring their expertise and knowledge into classrooms to support students and schools which will be critical in the move towards the new approach.
The investment also includes $102.8 million to deliver new resources and support to build the skills and knowledge for school staff in delivering inclusive education for every student. More than 100 extra staff will provide on-the-ground implementation support and program delivery for schools.