Posted on 08. Aug, 2012 in Victoria

Victorian special school providers in the state’s rural and regional areas have been hit disproportionately hard by the Baillieu Government’s cuts to the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL), Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Education, Colin Brooks said today.   A Victorian Parliament research report conducted found special schools in rural and regional Victoria have been hardest hit by the Baillieu Government’s decision to cut the VCAL program.

Mr Brooks said that the report found the funding cuts would place students with special needs at risk of disengagement and unemployment.

“Premier Baillieu and Minister for Education Martin Dixon’s claims that VCAL coordination funding is no longer needed, has been shown to be a furphy,” Mr Brooks said.

“This is another example of the Baillieu Government taking the welfare of students requiring additional support in rural and regional communities for granted.

Mr Brooks said despite the Baillieu Government’s claim that the VCAL coordination funding is no longer required the VCAL coordinator role is considered pivotal to the successful running of the VCAL program by schools.

“It is clear from the report that the job of a VCAL coordinator working in a rural or regional area is particularly demanding and time consuming.

“Schools surveyed in the report admitted that they had to modify their VCAL programs since the funding cuts, because there were less staff available to organise and supervise students.

“Scarcity of work placement opportunities for students in regional and rural special schools was another challenge commonly identified by school staff members.

“It is crystal clear that whilst all schools across the state offering VCAL have been hit hard by these cuts, they have caused greater difficulty for regional and rural special schools.

“Rural specialist schools have lost a larger proportion of their income adding further strain on their already stretched budgets.

“I urge the Premier to visit the state’s rural and regional special schools and see first-hand the daily challenges they face.

“These specialist schools face an uncertain future”, Mr Brooks said.

The parliamentary report can be viewed via the following link:

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