Comprehensive Review To Support Students With Special Needs

The most comprehensive review of the Program for Students with Disabilities in Victoria’s history will investigate how schools can best support students with special needs, including those with autism and dyslexia.

Education Minister James Merlino said the Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD) Review is one of many significant commitments outlined in the Andrews Labor Government’s comprehensive Special Needs Plan for Victorian Schools.

The Review will consult an expert Advisory Panel including representatives from principals’ groups, Australian Association of Special Education, Parents Victoria, AMAZE (Autism Victoria), the Specific Learning Difficulties (SPELD) Victoria, the Children’s Hospital and the University of Melbourne.

The review will investigate:

• the needs of children with a disability, in particular, children with autism and dyslexia
• how to improve the way the PSD supports students with disabilities
• the needs of children with a disability in the transition from primary to secondary schooling
• how the PSD can be more inclusive

Face-to-face consultations with parents, academics, practitioners, principals and teachers will be led by Australia’s former Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Graeme Innes, from mid-July.

In September, the Review will invite Victorians to have their say through an extensive online questionnaire, which will be available at www.education.vic.gov.au/specialneedsplan

The questionnaire will seek input from Victorian families, teachers, principals and others in the public who have an interest in the education of children with a disability.

The PSD Review will deliver its recommendations to the Government in November. The Government will deliver every one of the nine major initiatives outlined in the Special Needs Plan, starting with the PSD Review.

The initiatives will improve students’ achievement, engagement and wellbeing by creating fairer, safer and more inclusive schools for students with special needs.

The Government will announce more details about other initiatives in the Special Needs Plan in the coming weeks.

Quotes attributable to Education Minister James Merlino

“This is the most comprehensive review of the Program for Students with Disabilities in our state’s history.”

“Everyone deserves a great education to reach their full potential – and children with special needs deserve support.”

“The Andrews Labor Government is creating more inclusive, fair and safe schools for students with special needs – and this review is the first chapter.”

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