Over 100 supporters attend press conference opposing cuts to disability support in NSW Schools



This page will be updated as media reports appear:
Parents rally against funding cuts for special needs students – Sydney Morning Herald
ABC National Evening News July 15
PSA slams loss of NSW disability services – The Australian
The last article also appeared in the
Herald Sun http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/psa-slams-loss-of-nsw-disability-services/story-e6frf7kf-1226426488846
Nine MSN http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8499552
The Daily Telegraph http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/breaking-news/psa-slams-loss-of-nsw-disability-services/story-e6freuz0-1226426488846
Fears over funding for child support in schools – ABC news online

Over 100 supporters turned out today to a press conference in Dulwich Hill today to officially launch the campaign to overturn the O’Farrell government’s cuts to disability support in NSW schools which start to take effect tomorrow.
The event was organised by the newly formed group, Families against Disability Discrimination (FAMADD), a network of concerned parents and supporters from across NSW who want to see the support needs of students with disabilities met in all NSW schools, not just some.Two parents who have spearheaded this group spoke to the press and supporters today – Kate Lee a parent at Marrickville West Public School and Susie Newman, president of the P & C at Dulwich High School of Visual Arts and Design. They spoke strongly against this disastrous policy. You can read what Kate Lee said here:
Press conference 16-7-12
A transcript from Susie Newman’s speech will be uploaded as it becomes available.

There were also speakers from the Public Service Association (PSA), the Union that represents Learning Support Officers working in Public Schools.One speaker has challenged O’Farrell to spend a day with a Support Officer – a challenge which (according to ABC-TV News) he has already accepted!

The press turned out in force today in Sydney, with representatives of Channels 7, 9, ABC TV as well numerous radio stations,the Sydney Morning Herald and AAP – so keep an eye out for the reports on your local media. We are listing media coverage above as it appears. Already major articles have appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, Sun Herald, Daily Telegraph online and on the ABC evening news. Keep the issue prominent in the media by responding in any way you can: when you read an article, write a letter to the editor when you see a tv report or hear it discussed on the radio, post a comment on the tv or radio station’s website, get onto Facebook or Twitter and let your voice be heard! It is also a good moment to get onto your favourite talkback radio. Write to your local State and Federal members of Parliament to express your outrage – especially if they are Liberal.

If you don’t have regular access to a computer or prefer to handwrite letters – that’s great too. Human rights advocate, Julian Burnside, has been quoted as saying that one handwritten letter is worth 200 emails.
Here are more details to help you spread the word.Briefing notes on disability support


You might think that this doesn’t make a difference but it has already:
Two schools in Liberal electorates have already had funding restored due to public outcry – leading to intervention by their local Liberal member: Huskisson Public in the seat of South Coast held by Liberal MP Shelley Hancock, and Drummoyne Public in the seat of Drummoyne held by Liberal MP John Sidoti.
As Kate Lee said in her speech today: “This is great news – the government is obviously not committed to these funding cuts on principle. But do we need to be in a government-held seat to get help for our students with disabilities? What make our kids worth less? It’s clear the Government COULD reverse this decision if they wish to…Mr O’Farrell must step in, he must take control of the situation and he must restore this lost funding to the 272 schools before Term starts. Then he must be prepared to sit down with parents from the affected schools and re-negotiate the funding formula so that no student in future misses out on the support they need.”

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This entry was posted in Children's Rights, Disability Cuts in NSW Schools, Families against Disability Discrimination (FAMADD), Huskisson School. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Over 100 supporters attend press conference opposing cuts to disability support in NSW Schools

  1. Christine Flynn says:

    Well done all hard working parents, unionists and disability support staff involved in organising the rally today and congratulations to the ABC for running the story. Channels 9 and 7 gave Justin Bieber a big promo instead. We all need to keep up the momentum and I personally pledge to become more active in the campaign. An important message is that it is not only about forty families at Dulwich High or four hundred families in a wider number of schools who have students with mild disabilities or learning support needs. It is about every student in every school who will suffer if fellow students with disabilities or learning support needs do not get sufficient individual support when they need it, inside the classroom or in learning support spaces nearby. I hope Mr O’Farrell and the Minister for Education will visit many schools in an effort to understand this issue, and then rethink the funding formula. Some schools are getting more funding and that may be very good for them and their students with special needs. But no school should miss out and lose funding or staff.

  2. Leon Parissi says:

    The turnout and media coverage was good considering the short notice. As it was school holidays only a few SLSOs found out in time to attend. Some PSA members received a PSA email on Friday 13 July, less than 2 days ahead of the rally, and a text message on the Sunday morning of the rally. The PSA could have achieved a better turnout with more notice and liaison with delegates. Even so the rally achieved good media coverage and the signs of a solid ongoing campaign.
    Nine News reported: “The director-general of the NSW Department of Education, Michele Bruniges, denied that money was being cut from disability services in the state’s schools.
    However, some schools would lose resources if their enrolments or learning needs changed, Dr Bruniges said.” This response does not answer the question of why make the cut of $4m as reported and why support for some students will decrease because of a funding formula. Will Dr Bruniges guarantee no student with a disability will miss out of the level of support he or she got last term.

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