Education Support Coordination Centres to be developed in Kimberley, North Metropolitan regions and two further locations
$15.4m program funded through national partnership agreement with Federal Government
The State Government will establish four new support centres to enable public schools to provide the best possible opportunities for students with disabilities, Education Minister Liz Constable announced today.
The $15.4million program, funded through the Federal Government’s More Support for Students with Disabilities initiative, is part of a national partnership agreement with State and Territory education authorities.
Dr Constable said the Education Support Coordination Centres, to be developed in four regions in Western Australia, would bring together the expertise of special education staff within public schools to identify innovative ideas and resources to support students, parents and carers.
“Public schools already do an excellent job in catering for the needs of students with disabilities, and there is a wealth of expertise and ideas that can be developed and shared across schools to help teachers and education assistants enhance opportunities for these students,” she said.
“For example, if a teacher has found that students are benefiting from a creative use of assistive technology such as smart boards or voice-activated software, an Education Support Coordination Centre would manage the sharing of that knowledge and experience for other schools to tap into.
“The centres will also help schools case-manage students in their final years of schooling to ensure they have personalised plans to maximise their opportunities for employment and further education or training.
“Teachers and education assistants will have improved access to professional learning and nationally accredited training to strengthen their existing skills in supporting students with disabilities, such as online professional development programs and scholarships for university courses in special education.”
The Minister said the centres would also work with other Government and private agencies to better co-ordinate health and other professional support for schools which have students with disabilities.
“This might include supporting schools in rural and remote locations to implement personalised therapy programs, such as specialists using live video links to help schools deliver appropriate therapy programs for students,” she said.
“Schools will also be able to access expert, up-to-date advice so that they can keep parents informed about the educational options, programs and resources available to them.
“This is about looking at what is already working well across public schools, and what might work well in the future, to benefit students with disabilities, so we will also be listening to school communities so we can better help schools meet those students’ needs.
“The development of the North Metropolitan and Kimberley centres will begin this year.”
The first centres would be established in the North Metropolitan and Kimberley Education Regions, with the remaining two to be confirmed later in 2012
State Government recently announced 10 New Child and Parent Centres to help parents across the State, by providing a range of early childhood services
Minister’s office - 6552 5700