‘Children should be the focus of 2018’

‘Children should be the focus of 2018’
Education in 2017 was a year dominated by funding formulas, NAPLAN and challenges over supporting children with a disability.

According to the latest Nationally Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD), more than 470,000 (12.4%) school students received some form of support due to a disability that required extra funding.

That is more than double the number currently receiving Federal and State funding, according to Productivity Commission figures.

However, this funding gap is roughly the same as in 2015, meaning that 269,000 students with a disability are still not receiving any additional funding.

As the new school year dawns, David Roy, author and lecturer at Newcastle University says that 2018 needs to be about moving forward and thinking less about systems and more about children.

“Let’s focus on what actually needs to be funded to support children rather than bickering about how much funding each school gets,” Roy told The Educator.

“As part of this I hope that the NSW Government and Department accept and adopt all the recommendations made by the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Children with a Disability.”

Roy said there should also be cross-party bipartisanship for a Royal Commission.

“By seeing what we need to do we can focus on great teaching and great learning where there is respect for teachers and a respect for children. Children should be the focus of 2018.”

“Let’s use empirical research as the basis for improving education. Listen to those actually involved, children, teachers, ‘education’ academics – not political/media pundits.”

Roy pointed to competing pledges by Australia’s major political parties regarding education funding, saying there must be a reduced focus on ‘political point scoring’ for the sake of the nation’s children.

“Labor has stated they want education to be at the centre of their policies – lets have all the political parties putting aside their prejudices and putting children and education first, working collegially rather than adversarial for political point scoring,” he said.

“Children need to be safe first, have basic facilities and then deep learning can happen. So, let’s end restrictive practices. Let’s stop denying education to the most vulnerable. Let’s see children as children rather than labels, be it gender, ethnicity or disability.”

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