Update on Every Student Every School

I went way outside my comfort zone yesterday and talked to a journalist for the first time about my thoughts on the Every Student Every School policy. You read my previous thoughts on this policy here and here.

This afternoon a photographer will be coming to my son’s school to take a photo to accompany the story.  I’ve never been so nervous in my life.

I hope the journalist understood what I was trying to say. I hope she focuses on the important parts of the issue. I hope she doesn’t sensationalize the truth.

I just want people to know how this policy will affect every single student in every single public school in NSW.

Even if your child doesn’t have a special need, the changes to this policy will be felt in the reduction of staff in each classroom. Most existing support teachers will be replaced by a single specialist teacher assigned to each school, leaving classroom teachers to solely meet all student needs.

I want people to understand how unfair it is to deny kids with so called lower level special needs access to individual funding based on their own individual circumstances.

I want people to be aware that my child’s diagnosed needs will have to fit within a set formula to be met. That the 1:100 ratio for autism set by the department means that technically only 2 students will be catered for at our school of 200. Two of MY kids are on the spectrum and I know of several others at our school so we have bucked the trend already – bad luck to us, I guess.

Any extra funding will be distributed based on a Student Learning Need Index, based on the number of students in a school falling in the lowest 10% of numeracy and literacy testing in NAPLAN.

My son isn’t old enough to sit NAPLAN so his chances of getting funding depends on the performance of others. And I have heard a number of reports that students on the spectrum were encouraged to skip NAPLAN testing this year to improve schools’ chances of performance.

Will all kids be included in NAPLAN testing from now on to improve a school’s chance of receiving more special needs funding?

I want to make people aware of the total lack of consultation and the lack of transparency in relation to this policy.

I want people to know how little information is out there about the practical application of this policy. That the $6000 threshold that most schools are quoting to be eligible to retain individual funding is not recorded anywhere that is publicly accessible.

But most of all I want people to know that my son is worth educating. That he and others like him deserve the chance to learn and to be supported.

Doesn’t any child, regardless of ability or disability, deserve that chance?

The NSW Department of Education and Communities talks about this policy improving education outcomes for all students, particularly those with special needs.

I fail to see how this policy will do that. I hope I am proved wrong – I really do.

But from what I can see my son and others like him will be disadvantaged and will no longer receive the basic level support needed to remain in a mainstream classroom.

Joining in with Jess from Diary of a SAHM for IBOT – apologies for wearing the ranty pants again people!

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16 Responses

  1. I wasn’t aware of any of this. It must be difficult for you. I think every child needs help to reach their full potential. Some children may need more guidance and some less but I hope they treat all children accordingly to their needs and not let them get lost in the system. Rachel x
    Rachel from Redcliffe Style recently posted..Part 2 Toe Shoes review, peoples reactions and running tracks

    • Kirsty says:

      Unfortunately Rachel not many people are aware of this policy. The DEC have kept details very quiet despite the wide ranging effects this policy will have on all classrooms. I’m determined my son won’t fall through the cracks but it’s going to be a tough fight. Thank for your thoughts.

  2. Penny says:

    Oh Kirsty this is horrible. The answer is YES, all children are worth educating. Thank you for writing this and making us aware of the changes taking place in the public system. It’s very sad. I hope you can get the word out there.

  3. Julie says:

    I don’t understand much about it all either. I really hope you are proved wrong and your son’s needs are met, even more than before… It really sucks that the government aren’t transparent about what it all really means. Good on you for making a stand.
    Julie recently posted..It’s not about the money, money…

  4. I hope your voice gets heard and your children get the help they deserve.. xx
    Yvette @ DTlilsquirts recently posted..Renovations – Part Two

  5. carmen says:

    Oh my… that is just so wrong on so many levels! Good on you for standing up for not only your children’s rights but those of others as well!

    Fingers crossed that someone “gets it” enough to make a difference!! xxXOoo
    carmen recently posted..Those gene thingys…

    • Kirsty says:

      Carmen I’m sure hoping someone gets it – the journalist seems to be starting to put the pieces together so I hope she can run with it and get some traction. Thanks so much for your support.

  6. Michelle says:

    Good on you!!! I’ve been thinking about doing this myself. Any tips?

    I’d be grateful if you would spread the word about the petition I’ve started… https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/nsw-premier-reconsider-the-every-student-every-school-initiative

    Michelle recently posted..Would it be OK to do that if the kids weren’t Autistic?

    • Kirsty says:

      Hi Michelle, I have signed the petition and have shared it on my page. There is another petition I have shared on my page too – it would be awesome if we could link them up together somehow to amplify our voice (not sure how that could be done though…) Glad that I’m not alone in trying to fight this policy!

  7. Annette Steele says:

    Kirsty your son and every other child is worth educating. He’ll there’s even a song about “I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside”

    The government needs to be made accountable for this. My eldest son is proof that these kids are turned out into the community by parents such as ourselves who fight every day to educate and nurture them and turn them into a valuable member of their community.

    What we need is for people to come together and really tackle the issue. The problem is that the advocates for these kids are so battered and torn it seems to hard and they have lost their confidence and ability to see they can make a change.

    I am still working on ideas but I want to find away to bring these people together and make the Australian community and government stand up and take notice.

    Don’t EVER doubt yours or your childrens worth

    • Kirsty says:

      Thanks Annette. It means a lot that you’re fighting the fight too. There is a fair bit of opposition out there to these changes but I think if it was united it would be more powerful. For instance there are 2 separate petitions that I know of doing the rounds but I’m not sure how they can be brought together (check my Facebook page for links to both of them). Sometimes it seems like a hard and thankless slog but then I look at my kids and know that every effort is worth it.

      We’ll have to think about our next move – thanks for all you are doing to fight this!

  8. Carol Clarkson says:

    Hi Kirsty, I’ve only just read your article. Another parent (Theresa Duncombe) & I have formed a group called “Parents Pack a Punch” and that’s exactly what we intend to do, to fight both new initiatives which we see as nothing but cost cutting exercises by the NSW State Government. Both Theresa and I have children who attract much more funding than the those children who are generally “targeted” (for want of a better description) in the “Every Student…” policy. However, we are passionate about all children receiving a high quality & fair education and we can’t believe what is now being done to dismantle what has already taken so long to achieve. We should be moving forwards, not backwards. We have just started up a facebook page “Parents Pack a Punch” where we encourage parents (& like-minded educators & individuals) to write in with their comments, stories, suggestions and we will try and keep you all up-to-date as much as we can with any new developments. Very shortly we will be introducing our web-site which will also include many reports, links, news, calendar of events etc all in one spot. Every parent speaking out will help to overturn these draconian “initiatives”.

    Carol Clarkson, “Parents Pack a Punch”

  1. December 30, 2012

    […] – saw me talking to a journalist about Every Student Every School and I continued to share my knowledge of being a special needs parent. I survived a week of solo […]

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