Posted on 12. Oct, 2011 in News

The Baillieu Government has disregarded advice from a Melbourne University academic warning against cuts to VCAL, Shadow Minister for Education Rob Hulls said today.

The academic’s report outlines the importance of VCAL course coordinators, which are the target of the Baillieu Government’s $48 million cuts.

Mr Hulls said Labor received the executive summary of the report, but the rest was not publicly available.

“This further supports what Labor has been saying for months – cutting VCAL coordinators is short sighted and will affect thousands of students,” Mr Hulls said.

“The Opposition called for the release of this report last month, and now we understand why  Mr Baillieu is desperate to block its release because the report puts a lie to his assertion that schools can provide VCAL without coordinators.

“The report’s executive summary outlines the role of the VCAL coordinators and says they are integral to the popular program’s day-to-day operation and VCAL’s expected expansion.

“The Baillieu Government is so desperate to prevent this report seeing the light of day, the Government blocked Labor’s attempt to table the reports’ summary in Parliament today.”

Mr Hulls said in Parliament today that cutting funding for VCAL coordinators would unfairly target specialist schools and schools offering VCAL for the first time.

“Mr Baillieu’s callous cuts unfairly target schools and providers who offer programs for students with physical, intellectual and learning disabilities,” Mr Hulls said.

“I have been contacted by the Principals’ Association of Specialist Schools (PASS) who said coordinators were vital given students’
increased need for one-on-one assistance.

“Heather Hatherly, the President of PASS warned students who couldn’t progress through the program would be at risk of relying on government support for the ‘bulk of their adult life.’

“Likewise, the nine new schools offering the program for the first time need the coordinators to ensure students succeed as in other established school programs.

“My advice to Mr Baillieu is to backdown now, or the VCAL funding sore will become a gaping wound for the Government that will never heal.”

“Labor will never give up fighting Mr Baillieu on these $48 million cuts because the future of our children is too important.”


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