Funding a Lesson in Inequality

Non-government schools will emerge as the big winners from the Council of Australian Governments meeting on national funding reform, to be held in Canberra on April 19. Which is ironic, seeing that the greatest need is in the public system. Few schools serving the poorest communities in Australia are non-government. About 80 per cent of … Continued

Disability Advocates Query Victoria’s School Alternative

A voucher system making funding for disabled students portable between schools would not guarantee a quality education, advocates warn. The Victorian government has proposed a voucher system for disadvantaged students, known as a ”pupil premium”, where the money would follow the child to the school of their choice. It is part of a $400 million … Continued

Parents’ Exhausting Battle with Education System

As the mother of three children on the autism spectrum, Kerrie Curtis is a veteran of battles with the Victorian education system. Her latest fight is to get special VCE exam provisions for her oldest son Liam, who has Asperger’s, an anxiety disorder and a learning difficulty. Ms Curtis’ frustration is not with his school, … Continued

Down Syndrome, Social Change and the Fragile Nature of Progress

Down syndrome was first described by John Langdon Down 150 years ago. A child either has or has not Down syndrome and a diagnosis is definite soon after birth, but the experience of having Down syndrome is not static. As with prenatal diagnosis, medical progress has significantly affected those with this condition. The same discipline … Continued

Disability Groups Aim for High-Tech Help

When, at 23, Joanne Webber was told she had a rare eye condition, she received lots of support. She was diagnosed for free at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital and was helped by the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind. “I met with mentors of similar age to me and met people with … Continued

Autism School for West

Victorian Education Minister Martin Dixon says a plan for a prep-to-year-12 school for students with autism in Melbourne’s western suburbs is ”non-negotiable”, with work on the new school to begin within two years. Specialist autism P-12 schools are controversial because some experts argue autistic children should be educated in mainstream schools to improve their social … Continued

Pushing the Boundaries on Autism in the Mainstream

Clifton Hill Primary principal Geoffrey Warren is the first to admit to ”considerable doubts” when asked to enrol a student with severe autism several years ago. Adam Dickson, then eight, was ”shutting down” at an autism school and his mother Stephanie Gotlib became concerned he was depressed. Ms Gotlib, the executive director of Children with … Continued

Private Schools Lose Out in Caring for Disabled students

Craig Coulson has two daughters with disabilities. Both catch the bus to school. However while Claudia is provided with free transport because she attends a government specialist school, her sister Tayla’s Catholic specialist school, St Paul’s College in Kew, has to pay more than $220,000 a year to run its own school buses. The bus … Continued