Victorian school students with a disability are set to receive more overall support with the state government allocating $61 million to fund new equipment and programs.
The multi-million dollar package aims to ensure that the children are not ‘left behind’ by providing necessary tools and guidance.
State Premier Daniel Andrews is confident students and families will benefit.
“This is about giving every child every chance to succeed,” Mr Andrews says.
“After meeting with so many families over the past few months and hearing their stories first hand – I know this will make a real difference.”
The majority of the funding ($42m) will go towards increasing participation in school initiatives as well as achievement and wellbeing of about 90,000 students in government schools with disabilities or additional needs.
This includes $12 million to buy specialised equipment such as braille translation software, e-book and e-text readers, talking and accessibility software.
Minister for Education James Merlino says recent work has been part of a bigger project.
“For the last three years we have been building and upgrading schools right across the state, but education is about more than just bricks and mortar,” he says.
“Education also needs to be fair – and that’s what we’re delivering.”
The other $19 million portion will see a greater investment in early childhood education initiatives.
There will be an upgrade to infrastructure and equipment as well as a Kindergarten Inclusion Support program to give 225 more children with disabilities or developmental delay access to state-funded kinder in 2018 and 2019.
Victorian Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos believes this funding will influence long term outcomes.
“Early intervention and support for our youngest children – particularly those with a disability – can have a positive impact on their future development and that’s why this is such an important investment,” she says.
The Premier and Ministers visited the Yarrabah School in Melbourne on 27 November to make the announcement.