NSW signs disability education deal with Commonwealth
Students with a disability will be the beneficiaries of a new partnership between the state and federal governments, which includes additional training for teachers.
New South Wales became the first state to sign the national partnership with the Commonwealth to build the capability of NSW public schools to better support students with a disability.
The agreement will see the Australian Government provide an additional $48 million to NSW under the More Support for Students with Disability partnership.
Premier Barry O'Farrell said NSW teachers will have increased access to accredited online training in key special education areas, including dyslexia, autism, behaviour and communication, and motor coordination.
"The training will be available on a continuing and flexible basis and can be delivered at the time of need or in anticipation of a particular need," Mr O'Farrell said.
Teachers, support staff and principals will also have access to targeted professional learning in student behaviour and emotional wellbeing, which includes specialist training for those working with students with complex learning difficulties in Year 3 to Year 8.
Specific training will also be provided for teachers in rural NSW working with students with mental health disorders.
The NSW Minister for Education, Adrian Piccoli, said in the past 24 years the number of students with confirmed disability in NSW public schools has increased from 1.9 per cent to 4.7 per cent, or 35,000 students.
A further 55,000 students currently have other difficulties in learning or behaviour such as dyslexia and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). This represents a total of around 90,000 students.
Almost 80% of students with disability are enrolled in mainstream schools.
"Research demonstrates that the single most significant contributor to educational outcomes in the school environment is the teacher," Mr Piccoli said.
"NSW is already spending $1.18 billion a year on specialist services for students with a disability.
"This new partnership with the Commonwealth will allow us to develop and implement an increased range of opportunities for teachers and educational support staff to understand the learning and support needs of their students as well as access quality professional learning."