Red tape impedes work to support students with disability
Independent Schools Victoria (ISV) has urged the Australian Government to cut red tape that is impeding the ability of schools to support students with disability.
Its call is spelled out in a submission to an official review of government funding for students with disability and backed up by a detailed research report on the work of Victorian Independent schools to support these students.
‘Government measures have improved the ability of schools to identify all students with disability – something Independent schools have always been committed to – and have led to improved funding for many of them,’ ISV Chief Executive Michelle Green said.
‘But these measures have also imposed an onerous administrative burden on school staff, who are frustrated by complex red tape and a lack of clear information about processes and obligations,’ she said.
ISV’s submission has been sent to the National School Resourcing Board, commissioned by the government to review loadings provided for students with disability.
Funding is based on the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD) on students with disability introduced in 2015 and linked to funding since 2018.
All schools are required to identify students with disability, categorise the type of disability, and determine the level of additional support students need to ensure they can participate in education on the same basis as their peers.
In preparing its submission, ISV conducted an extensive review of the work of its Member Schools to support of students with disability – work that predates the introduction of the NCCD and its subsequent link to funding.
The review found the proportion of students with disability in ISV Member Schools reflects the incidence of disability in the wider student population.
‘This disproves politically motivated claims made by sectional interests that Independent schools have over-stated data on disability to attract government funding,’ Ms Green said.
‘Half the students with disability at Victorian Independent schools have a level of disability that does not entail additional government funding,’ she said.
‘Yet the paper work in documenting and reporting on these students is the same as those who required much greater support.
‘Overall, our research finds that the cost to schools of supporting students with disability is greater that the funding they receive.’
ISV has urged the government to:
- create a new body to oversee all aspects of the NCCD to ensure schools have clear, consistent and up-to-date information
- ensure auditors appointed by the government to oversee schools’ compliance properly understand the NCCD and the education of students with disability
- commission independent research to assess all the costs incurred by schools to meet the NCCD’s requirements.
ISV Media and Communications Advisor
0417 562 924