Posted on 26. Oct, 2011 in News

Liberal Member for Prahran Clem Newton-Brown has failed to stand up for the educational futures of hearing impaired students in his electorate, Shadow Minister for Education, Rob Hulls, said today.

In Parliament this week, Mr Hulls moved a motion condemning Mr Newton-Brown for denying students at the Victorian College for the Deaf the right to an alternative educational pathway as a result of the Baillieu Government’s $48 million cut for coordinators of the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) program.

Mr Hulls, who recently visited the VictorianCollegefor the Deaf to discuss the impact of the VCAL cuts, said Mr Newton-Brown should urge the Premier to reverse his decision.

“Mr Baillieu’s cruel and callous cuts to VCAL mean $23,666 has been slashed from the Victorian College for the Deaf’s budget,” Mr Hulls said.

“As a school that currently has all their year 11 and 12 students enrolled in VCAL, the college will be hit particularly hard by Mr Baillieu’s cuts.

“VCAL coordinators are absolutely vital to the successful delivery of VCAL.

“At the college, coordinators not only perform the complex coordination role but act as an interpreter for students and are crucial in enabling students to attend external work and industry placements.

“Mr Newton-Brown is clearly happy his own Government has turned its back on the educational needs of students in his electorate since he hasn’t even bothered to contact the Victorian College for the Deaf.”

Recently, the Principals’ Association of Specialist Schools warned that without VCAL coordination funding, schools would “face significant difficulties in maintaining the program”, and students could end up as recipients of government-funded day programs for most of their life if they are unable to undertake VCAL.

“This Government doesn’t appear to care or understand about the need to provide Victorian students with a disability the skills they need for a pathway to employment,” Mr Hulls said.

“I urge Mr Newton-Brown to do the right thing and stand up for students in his electorate.”

Specialist schools affected by VCAL cuts include:

Warringa Park School, Glenroy Specialist School, Nelson Park School, East Gippsland Specialist School, Hume Valley School, Concord School, Berendale School, Sale Specialist School, Baringa School, South Gippsland Specialist School, Verney Road School, Swan Hill Specialist School, Naranga School, Travancore School, Croxton Special School, Victorian College for the Deaf, Montague Continuing Education Centre, Nepean School, Ascot Vale Special School, Heatherwood School, and Glenallen School.


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