The NT Government says it is investing in support for students with additional needs, to help every Territory child reach their full potential.
Last year, the government announced the Framework for Inclusion 2019-2029 to provide high quality, inclusive education for students with additional needs and to help build the capacity of teachers and support staff in inclusive practice in mainstream schools.
More than $73 million has been spent delivering support for students with additional needs in mainstream schools and an additional $20.3 million to employ advisors, school counsellors, speech therapists and other staff to support student learning.
In early 2020, the government also announced additional once-off funding of $5.2 million for inclusive infrastructure, the Building for Inclusion program, which has enabled schools to upgrade teaching and learning areas to better support students with additional needs.
MacFarlane Primary School is in the process of upgrading a special autism annexe.
There are also 21 schools that will receive hearing amplification systems, including MacFarlane.
The tender is currently out for their installation.
Other schools in the region to receive hearing amplification systems include: Alekarenge School, Angurugu School, Borroloola School, Canteen Creek School, Gapuwiyak School, Gillen Primary School, Warruwi School, Laramba School, Mamaruni School, Milyakburra School, Minyerri School, Murray Downs School, Wugularr School, Nganmarriyanga School, Ntaria School, Numbulwar School, Papunya School, Peppimenarti School and Pularumpi School.
The Building for Inclusion funding has given schools across the Territory the power to choose the infrastructure upgrades most needed by their students.
More reading: You can't learn if you can't hear.
Twelve schools chose to upgrade special annexes and autism units, and a further five chose to upgrade classroom acoustics to better support students with hearing difficulties.
Other schools chose projects they deemed most in need such as ramp installations, upgrades to toilet blocks to make them more accessible, and soundproofing.
The Framework for Inclusion 2019-2029 will roll out in three phases: 2019-22, 2023-25 and 2026-28.
The three identified priorities to enhance support for students with additional needs include:
- Shared decision making between schools, children and their families
- Professional development to build inclusive practice in mainstream school staff
- Evidence-led systems that help schools better integrate learning for students
Education Minister Selena Uibo said: "Inclusive education is about designing our teaching and learning programs so that all students, regardless of their background, ability or personal circumstances, can participate and learn.
"By investing in support for students with additional needs, we are helping to break down barriers and giving every child the equal opportunity they deserve to engage in their learning and achieve a bright future."
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