PROVISION OF SERVICES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS

advertisement
Provision of Services for
Special Needs/
Disabled Students
In NSW
A report co-ordinated by the
Public Schools Principals Forum
(PSPF)
March 2009
PROVISION OF SERVICES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS
SYNOPSIS
The Australian Disability Standards for Education were constructed by the Attorney-General
under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1992 and came into effect in August 2005. The
Education Standards provide a framework to ensure that students with disability/ies are able to
access and participate in education on the same basis as other students. The DDA makes it
unlawful to contravene a disability standard.
A statewide survey of NSW public schools conducted during March 2009 has revealed a
number of serious obstacles preventing the full implementation of the DDA and its application to
school education in NSW:
 No / Inadequate funding for mainstream enrolees (78% principals rank the funding as
poor/very poor);
 Antiquated, inflexible staffing formulae for class sizes;
 No support for more than one disability;
 Excessive class sizes; and
 Insufficient school counselling support.
Principals call on the NSW government and the Department of Education and Training to fulfil
their moral and legal responsibilities and:
 immediately increase funding for special needs students to recognise all disabilities and
functional levels;
 abandon current prescriptive formulae and introduce a flexible staffing allocation so that
class numbers are no longer fixed but reflect the functional needs of the students;
 increase school counselling services to ensure that the ratio is reduced from one counsellor
per 1,500 students to one counsellor per 800 students across all NSW government schools
and to concentrate time in schools where there are large numbers of special
needs/disabled students (see pspf.com.au – NSW School Counselling Service, 2006); and
REPORTED BY THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS PRINCIPALS FORUM – MARCH 2009
PROVISION OF SERVICES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS
 ensure that all special needs/disabled students are able to access resources, funding and
opportunities to achieve their full potential.
2
BACKGROUND
The NSW Government School Education system currently caters for approximately 85% of all
special needs/disabled students. Some students may be located in mainstream classes with
individualised funding. Others may be enrolled in support classes as one of a fixed formularised
number and yet others may attend special schools.
Currently there are in excess of 30,000 special needs/disabled students in regular classes,
support classes and special schools.
Funding for children with special needs/disabilities in regular schools varies greatly. Some may
receive as little as $605 per semester, or 12 minutes aide time each day, for Autism Spectrum
Disorder and others with a more significant disability may receive enough to support a full time
aide. e.g. a wheelchair / spina bifida student. These children learn alongside their more able
classmates in the regular class size of 30 students.
Student numbers in support classes are fixed as follows:Mild Intellectual Disability (IM)
Moderate Intellectual Disability (IO)
Severe Intellectual Disability (S)
Language Disability (L)
Emotionally Disturbed (ED)
Conduct/Behaviourally Disordered (BD)
Autism (A)
Hearing (H)
18
10
6
7
7
7
6
9
Please note the following:
An average person has an IQ score in the 90 – 110 range.
A child/person in the IM category has an IQ score less than 75 (lowest 4% population).
A child/person in the IO category has an IQ score less than 55 (lowest 0.1% population).
A child/person in the S category has an IQ score less than 40 (below 0.1% population).
Students who may have more than one disability do not receive any additional support for their
second, third, etc. disability. E.g. A child who has a mild intellectual disability, is behaviourally
REPORTED BY THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS PRINCIPALS FORUM – MARCH 2009
PROVISION OF SERVICES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS
disordered and has autism remains as one of 18 (the same as a child with a mild intellectual
disability and no other disability).
3
ISSUES IDENTIFIED BY PRINCIPALS
 Students with increasingly complex support needs/disabilities have enrolled in a range of
school settings but staffing formulae remain rigid and often inadequate.
 There is little/no attempt to determine the degree of disability and the resultant functioning
ability of special needs students.
 Securing funds/support for special needs/disabled students often requires repetitive, time
consuming advocacy and paperwork. Support provided may then be inconsistently applied
and require re-application at frequent intervals.
 Advice for principals is limited and often lacks substance and consistency.
 Teachers’ capacity to address the challenges presented in some classrooms and prepare
meaningful individualised learning programs is beyond reasonable expectation.
REPORTED BY THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS PRINCIPALS FORUM – MARCH 2009
PROVISION OF SERVICES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS
4
SURVEY
Commencing Friday, 6th March, 2009 the Principals Forum distributed the following survey to
approximately 1800 government schools in NSW.
SPECIAL EDUCATION SURVEY:
SCHOOL AREA:
SCHOOL NAME (Optional):
1.
Do you have children with disability/ies in mainstream classes for whom no funding is
provided?
Yes / No
Number:
Examples:
2.
Do you have any students with multiple disabilities who receive funding for the ‘prime’
disability only?
Yes / No
Please supply examples to indicate how these children are funded and supported by
DET:
3.
How would you rate the adequacy of funding levels for students with disabilities?
Very Good [ ]
Good
[ ]
Adequate
[ ]
Poor
[ ]
Very Poor
[ ]
4.
(a) Do you have an IM class/es?
Yes / No
Number:
(b) Has the nature of these classes changed since the IM class closures of 2006?
Yes / No
If yes, briefly describe how:
5.
(a) Do you have IO classes?
Yes / No
Number:
(b) Has the nature of these classes changed since IO class numbers increased to ten?
Yes / No
If yes, briefly describe how:
6.
(a) If you have support classes in your school please nominate the type and number:
(b) Do you have difficulty with the enrolment formula in support classes because of the
extreme nature of some multiply disabled students?
Yes / No
Examples:
7.
What is your current:
School Counsellor allocation?
School enrolment?
REPORTED BY THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS PRINCIPALS FORUM – MARCH 2009
PROVISION OF SERVICES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS
Number/type of support classes?
Number/nature of special needs students?
Number of students with undiagnosed disabilities?
Other comments / anonymous case studies:
5
RESULTS
Within four working days some 800+ surveys were received and processed.
The following trends were clearly identified.
1. ADEQUACY OF FUNDING
 More than 2,500 disabled/special needs students in NSW government schools receive nil or
seriously inadequate levels of funding to address their learning needs and allow them to
participate effectively alongside their more able peers.
 98% principals, who have special classes or lead special schools, report thousands of
multiply disabled students are resourced for one disability only.
 78% principals rate the adequacy of funding for special needs/disabled children as either
poor or very poor.
2. FIXED FORMULAE FOR CLASSES FOR SPECIAL
NEEDS/DISABLED STUDENTS
 100% principals of special schools and of regular schools including classes for mildly (IM)
and/or moderately (IO) intellectually disabled students reported significant additional
challenges for children and teachers since:
1.
The closure of more than 80 IM support classes across the state in 2005/2009
resulting in a concentration of multiply disabled students in the remaining IM
classes, and
2.
The increase in student enrolment ceiling, from 9 to 10, in IO classes.
REPORTED BY THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS PRINCIPALS FORUM – MARCH 2009
PROVISION OF SERVICES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS
 100% principals of special schools and of schools with support classes believe that the
prescribed, fixed formulae for enrolments resulted in inadequate funding, resourcing and
support.
7
SCHOOL COUNSELLOR SUPPORT
 82% principals reported that school counselling services were so inadequate (1 counsellor
per 1500 students) that frequently the only tasks completed were those related to
assessment/testing rather than therapy or support. Some of the students with greatest
needs (e.g. emotionally disturbed/mental health diagnosis) have access to a school
counsellor less than one day per week.
HOT SPOTS
The following geographic locations are identified in the survey results as areas where
inadequate resourcing and support for special needs students are most evident.
Hunter / Central Coast
Queanbeyan
Sapphire Coast / Monaro
Shellharbour
Clarence / Coffs Harbour
Richmond Valley
The Wilson
South West Sydney – (Campbelltown, Bankstown, Granville, Macarthur,
Liverpool)
Shoalhaven
Warrambungle
Minchinbury
Penrith
REPORTED BY THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS PRINCIPALS FORUM – MARCH 2009
PROVISION OF SERVICES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS
Riverina / South West Central
Richmond
Lake Macquarie
8
WHAT THE PRINCIPALS SAID
Following is a selection of comments provided by principals in the ‘Other comments/anonymous
case studies’ section of the survey:
Liverpool
We have 20 students in mainstream for whom no funding is provided including one with Downs
Syndrome, one with autism and one with a mild intellectual disability. There is a significant
increase in the numbers of students with mental health concerns who are in classes for the
intellectually disabled.
Manning
Many integrated students have no / inadequate funding.
Campbelltown
Funding for disabled kids is declining. RSSP (Regional Students Services Support Program)
funding is a joke. One student with very significant needs receives 7-1/2 hours per week.
Mid North Coast
It is essential that schools with a high IM population be given IM classes. We are letting down
our most vulnerable students by not providing them with adequate support. These are the
students who will generally live independently in society as adults and who can be valued as
citizens. By not supporting them we leave them open to unemployment, substance abuse,
homelessness and prison.
Clarence / Coffs Harbour
It is very difficult to cater for all the needs of the students. The differing degrees of moderately
intellectually disabled students can mean you have ten extremely different mixes of disabilities.
A new system of classifying students needs to be introduced. This is the only way that classes
will be adequately supervised and students adequately catered for.
One of our students has many disabilities / disorders – autism, mental health, ODD, tics, ADHD,
heart problems, receptive and expressive language disorders. He originally had been placed in
an IO class under a special consideration. He has now lost this consideration and is waiting for
funding to support him in the mainstream. Decisions were made about this student by DET
personnel who had never met him.
Hunter / Central Coast
I found the funding formula for the support classes unrealistic. In the real world children have
varying levels of support needs – a diagnostic label is not an accurate indicator of those needs.
Many students’ behavioural needs are significant but not part of their main diagnosis.
REPORTED BY THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS PRINCIPALS FORUM – MARCH 2009
PROVISION OF SERVICES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS
……I would be unable to maintain a teacher / student learning support officer on the autism
class given the extreme behaviour of some of the students.
Many of the children being funded in our schools have multiple disabilities and funding to
support them is minimal – and never enough to fully support in-class programs as needed.
Many of our parents have learning difficulties and limited access to specialist help for their
children unless we intervene and guide. We are constantly working alongside them to access
support for their children. This takes a lot of time and usually results in frustration.
9
Doctors make vague diagnosis that will not lead to support. Doctors build up parents’ hope of
support. Regional office staff seem to go out of their way to block or make applications. Surely
their job is to support students.
Some students are almost impossible to keep in a small setting yet we are expected to cure
them in three terms. One student was in K-2 ED class, then behaviour school in Year 3 and is
back at school as no long term places are available.
Fairfield
Have position but class (IM) now integrated. We could fill the class based on the needs of our
school and would like class reopened.
K-6 IO/Autism class. No consideration given to who would best suit vacancy. Kids incorrectly
labelled as IO because it was difficult to test them. Allocation of 1 teacher and 1 aide to 6
students, no matter how severe the disabilities of the students, means that all their time is spent
on toileting, tube feeding, assessing choking, assisting students in and out of chairs, assessing
levels of discomfort without the child’s ability to communicate.
Sydney
We have a student with an Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) diagnosis but also can be
placed on the Autism Spectrum Disorder. He is only funded for ODD and so attracts minimal
funding.
The communication from school through the system is fraught with misinformation and
complexity. There is often a lack of anyone with expertise at a high enough level to deal with
these students.
Riverina
Funding is non-existent for mildly intellectually disabled students in mainstream classes.
Funding for students with autism is significantly inadequate. Since the closure of IM classes,
students now enrolling in our classes are demonstrating poorer literacy skills (more non
readers) and lower numeracy levels than we have received into our classes in previous years.
We are receiving more students into the IO range who have multiple disabilities, especially
autism.
The job of the support class teacher is becoming extremely stressful and undervalued. Morale
is difficult to maintain as the DET constantly pressures teachers to instruct students with
multiple disabilities without extra support. The increase in the number of students with IM/IO
and autism is making the classroom a difficult place to teach and for students to learn.
Shoalhaven
17 counsellor days per annum is totally inadequate to support special needs students.
Level of funding is disproportionate to needs.
REPORTED BY THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS PRINCIPALS FORUM – MARCH 2009
PROVISION OF SERVICES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS
Minchinbury
Supporting students in a small school is difficult – counsellor access is nearly non existent.
Batemans Bay
Counsellor will come to school when she can - 65 students.
10
Granville
Some of our staff are injured every day.
The formula for IM classes needs to be revisited. The classes are full of students with more
than an intellectual disability – many are aggressive and violent.
Richmond
Full time counsellor support required. Mental Health support limited at best in rural areas.
OH&S issues not addressed by DET but put back on to schools to fund. School staff need
specialist support staff to assist them to develop and adjust curriculum / patterns of delivery.
Western
The process again needs overhaul. Let a bureaucrat come to school and see what the children
present with and then ask if they could manage it.
Ingleburn
These students (and others) have learning needs that are, despite our best efforts, not being
catered for adequately. Because there is insufficient and politically driven screening these
students are not provided with funding and are expected to survive a mainstream curriculum. It
is a scandal!
We currently have 23 children in mainstream classes who are within the mildly intellectually
disabled range. They do not receive anywhere near enough funding (approx. 2 hours per week
per child).
We have children with multiple disabilities in our IM/IO class and yet they are only counted as
one when they require a great deal more assistance.
Illawarra / South Coast
There are many issues, all of which are extremely time consuming, especially looking out for the
welfare of the students and the staff employed.
The Wilson
We’re lucky to see our counsellor one day each month due to her enormous workload.
Bankstown
These students require more support than we are able to adequately provide.
Queanbeyan
Their prime disability is taken into account and all their other disabilities are not recognised.
A big problem is when disabled students transfer schools - they must remain in mainstream until
the paperwork is done. This can take months.
REPORTED BY THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS PRINCIPALS FORUM – MARCH 2009
PROVISION OF SERVICES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS
Macarthur
It took nine months to gain funding for a student with a severe language disability (mutism) even
though his learning needs are extreme. Another student with Opposition Defiance Disorder has
no funding so we are using out of home care resources.
Port Jackson
In every application our ‘levels’ are challenged and we have to continually restate our case to
get support for children with serious needs.
11
East Hills
Many students in support classes have dual diagnoses, e.g. intellectual disability coupled with
autism, conduct disorder, Aspergers or ADHD. Students are coming in with more complex
issues relating to behaviour and socialisation.
North Sydney
There seems to be little provision for students with autism in secondary schools. Students who
might otherwise be able to access a smaller 1:6 class find themselves in a larger multi-disability
class. Information seems to be suppressed or manipulated in order to secure a special class
placement that usually does not meet their needs.
Strathfield
Concern about the growing number of students with mental health issues – there is limited
support and no funding.
Bankstown
One Learning Support Officer is a wonderful start but these students require genuine,
individualised attention. Cost in hours across the week to principal, and other executive is huge
and unrelenting. We are obliged to apply annually for ‘unique and emergent supplementation’
to provide precious time to administer, manage, supervise etc. the support needs unit, students,
transport, families, DoCS etc. We are unconvinced that the real money decision makers (i.e.
Bridge Street) have any understanding of real life here in the school on a daily basis.
Richmond Valley
Students who would normally be enrolled in an IM class are now staying in mainstream classes
without any funding support. Until recently, they were eligible for a specialised class. Now in
mainstream they don’t receive any assistance.
Penrith
Hearing classes have students with additional disabilities such as dual sensory, autism, cerebal
palsy as well as intellectual disability. Students in mainstream classes have their learning
compromised as they do not receive additional support.
Sapphire Coast
Students transitioning from ED class need immediate support for transition back to mainstream.
Hunter/Central Coast
School counsellor allocation 1 day per fortnight. ‘He is no good for anything other than IQ
assessment as he doesn’t have time to build a relationship.’ We have children with mental
health issues such as depression, behavioural issues, etc. and they receive no support.
REPORTED BY THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS PRINCIPALS FORUM – MARCH 2009
PROVISION OF SERVICES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS
Riverina Central
No capacity in system to take into account the individual needs of students. IM student may
have autism and extremely challenging behaviours but system does not differentiate between
this student and an IM student with no other needs.
Hastings
Why is time wasted with personnel coming to check if an autistic student is still autistic???
We should not need to justify how we use our time. We know what we are doing. Better to use
this time to support kids rather than going around in circles having to prove an issue time and
time again.
12
CASE STUDIES
There are innumerable examples from around NSW of cases where students with disabilities
(special needs) are either unfunded or receiving insufficient resources.
Examples:
 T., an eleven year old, who is identified by DET as a student with a moderate intellectual
disability, is in a class of ten students. She also has an assessment from a paediatrician
as being in the severe range of autism and has extremely challenging behaviours – she
has bitten, kicked, punched aides / teachers, some of whom have required medical
attention. The school / parents have advocated for additional assistance for years.
 In 2008, B., a twelve year old boy with autism, transferred into a regular school from a
special class for emotionally disturbed students. No vacancies were available for him in a
similar class in his new area. Six months later he remains on the waiting list despite
applications being regularly submitted. His carer (and grandmother) appeals frequently to
the school for assistance. The funding he receives is $1,790 per semester or 3-1/2 hours
teachers’ aide support per week.
 E., a sixteen year old, is in a class of seven students who have severe intellectual
disabilities. E. also has a vision problem, is restricted to a wheelchair and has significant,
challenging behaviours. She is supported only for her intellectual disability.
 T., a secondary student in a special class in a regular secondary school, has multiple
disabilities – autism, mental health diagnosis, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Tourettes
Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder, receptive and expressive language disorders and
heart problems. Under a ‘special consideration’ he was placed in a class for moderately
REPORTED BY THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS PRINCIPALS FORUM – MARCH 2009
PROVISION OF SERVICES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS
intellectually disabled students. He has now lost his placement and is waiting for funding to
support him in a regular class of 30 students.
 C., an eleven year old boy, was placed in a class for mildly intellectually disabled students,
after being removed from his parents. In the care of the Director General of DoCS and with
a new foster family, he demonstrated challenging/criminal behaviours – evidence of severe
conduct disorder / emotional disturbance. He constantly ran away from school / home,
shoplifted etc. After running away again and being removed from carers he is waiting for
another special placement.
13
RECOMMENDATIONS
 The NSW government and Department of Education and Training (DET) fulfil their legal
responsibility to provide appropriate levels of funding and resources to ensure that all
disabled/special needs children, whether in special or regular classes, have the opportunity
of reaching their full potential.
 The NSW DET introduce a flexible model of staffing to support special classes and schools
establishing enrolment ceilings on the basis of the functioning levels of students rather than
fixed formulae.
 The NSW DET commence urgent recruitment and planning to increase the number of
school counsellors so that students have access to therapy and counselling opportunities.
A counsellor to pupil ratio reduction from 1:1500 to 1:800 is recommended.
 The NSW DET diagnose and recognise the multiple disabilities of each student and provide
appropriate support based on the students’ overall capacity to function in the classroom
setting.
REPORTED BY THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS PRINCIPALS FORUM – MARCH 2009
PROVISION OF SERVICES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS
14
REPORTED BY THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS PRINCIPALS FORUM – MARCH 2009
Download
Related flashcards

Crimes

37 cards

Non-lethal weapons

21 cards

Criminology

21 cards

Crime

22 cards

Criminal procedure

17 cards

Create Flashcards