How funding for special needs works in schools

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Extra funding may be available to help school support your child, depending on their special needs.

How the funding works

All schools get some general funding to support every student with special needs. The school can use this to pay for things like teacher training, or changes in the classroom to help children with special needs. Schools must help every child with special needs, whether the school can get extra funding to help them or not. The education department says that the type or amount of support your child gets at school should not depend on funding.

All schools – Government, Catholic and independent schools – can get extra funding for students with a ‘moderate to severe’ disability. In government schools, this is called ‘Program for Students with a Disability’ funding, or PSD funding.

What the extra funding can pay for

The extra funding is used to support your child’s learning. If your child is in a specialist school, it helps pay for all the costs of their schooling. If your child is in a mainstream school, the funding can be used in lots of different ways, depending on your child’s needs.

For example, the school might use the funding to pay for:

Your child should get the support they need in school, whether or not they are eligible for extra funding. The education department says that the support they get should not depend on their level of funding.

Uncle Henry’s girls’ school provides them with extra support including visiting teachers, speech therapy and aide support.

What it can’t pay for

The funding can’t be used for the practical aspects of your child being at school, like school fees, uniforms, school camp or transport. You might be able to get other kinds of help to cover these costs ­– ask the Koorie education staff, welfare coordinator, principal or assistant principal to help you negotiate this assistance.

The extra funding might not be available for equipment like an iPad or communication device. And the school can’t use it to pay for big changes in the school environment, like building a ramp. There might be other funding available for all of these things if your child needs them – ask the special needs coordinator, principal or assistant principal.

Different ways of helping students

Different schools use the extra funding in different ways. Schools get this extra funding so they can support all of their students with moderate to severe special needs. Often schools will use the funding in ways that can help more than one child. For example, they might train all the teachers to work better with children with special needs might help your child more than a bit of extra time with an aide in class.

The school should talk to you about the extra help your child needs, including supports that need extra funding (like aide time) and supports that don’t (like different school work or ways of teaching).  The school makes the final decisions about how funding is spent, but they must talk to you about what you think would help your child. And you have the right to speak up if you are concerned that your child is not getting the right support, or to ask questions about the funding that the school gets to help them support your child.

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