Programs for Students with Special Learning Needs

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Tabled: 29 August 2012

Students with special learning needs have disabilities, difficulties or additional needs which make it harder for them to learn than their peers. It is commonly accepted that about 20 out of every 100 students have additional needs of some sort. These needs vary significantly.

Having systems in place to identify and support these students in a timely and equitable manner is critical to maximising their educational and life outcomes. This can be complex and challenging, requiring well defined strategies, strong leadership and effective governance.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) has developed policies and guidance to help schools to support students with special learning needs and has provided over $2.6 billion since 2006 to support students with the highest levels of need through the Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD).

However, DEECD does not monitor how schools use PSD funds nor does it adequately oversee the educational outcomes of these students. In addition DEECD does not know how many students in Victoria have unfunded special learning needs.

Schools are not implementing DEECD's policies consistently or effectively, and students with similar needs are often receiving very different levels and types of support across different schools. The quality of individual plans outlining educational goals and strategies for students with special learning needs is poor and teachers receive only limited training to support students with special learning needs.

However, DEECD's new Abilities Based Learning and Education Support program should bring more uniformity to teaching programs and DEECD has taken steps to provide more policy guidance and professional development opportunities for school staff.







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Last updated on 23/07/2013