Constituency Question: Inclusive Equipment Grants
Ms SPENCE (Yuroke) (12:47): (1942) My constituency question is to the Minister for Education. What information can the minister provide on the rollout of the inclusive equipment grants awarded to schools in the Yuroke electorate? Late last year the government announced that four local schools would benefit from more than $68 000 in funding through the equipment boost for schools initiative, including Willmott Park Primary, Craigieburn Secondary, Mount Ridley College and Westmeadows Primary. These schools will receive a variety of resources ranging from amplification equipment and adjustable furniture to C-Pen Readers and games. There are many families in my community who have children with additional learning needs, and I know that they will greatly appreciate any additional information that the minister is able to provide on the rollout of this funding.
I thank the member for Yuroke for her continued representations on behalf of her constituents, particularly on matters relating to education.
Since 2018, the Andrews Labor Government committed $24 million for new equipment and assistive technology to support students with disabilities or additional learning needs. The Equipment Boost for Schools initiative responds to calls to strengthen inclusive education practice to provide better supports for students with disabilities or additional learning needs by providing all Victorian government schools with:
- access to funding to purchase new equipment and assistive technology to support students with disabilities or additional learning needs to participate, experience, learn and achieve on the same basis as their peers
- support to identify their needs and utilise equipment and assistive technology to implement effective, evidence-based interventions (including through the provision of training).
In July 2018, the Equipment Boost for Schools initiative provided $5,000 to every Victorian government school to purchase new equipment and assistive technology to support students with disabilities or additional learning needs. Schools were also provided with guidance to identify their needs, prioritise and maximise investments in equipment and technology, and effectively implement equipment and technology within the school environment.
All Victorian government schools have also had two opportunities to apply for additional funding via application rounds in 2018 and 2019.
In 2018, three Yuroke schools – Greenvale Primary School, Aitken Creek Primary School and Mount Ridley P-12 College – received a total of $10,041 to purchase new equipment and assistive technology through the Equipment Boost for Schools: 2018 Application Round. This funding was used to purchase a range of items including iPads, sensory resources and portable amplification equipment.
In 2019, four Yuroke schools – Craigieburn Secondary College, Mount Ridley P-12 College, Westmeadows Primary School and Willmott Park Primary School – received a total of $68,841 to purchase new equipment and assistive technology through the Equipment Boost for Schools: 2019 Application Round. This funding was used to purchase a range of items including specialised mobility equipment, adjustable furniture, smart pens and portable amplification equipment.
The Department of Education and Training also provides funding to assist Victorian government schools to support eligible students with disability and high needs through the Program for Students with Disabilities.
The Victorian School Building Authority’s Inclusive Schools Fund supports small innovative building projects that make a big difference to meeting the educational and social needs of children and young people with disabilities and additional needs.
The Hon James Merlino MP
Minister for Education
Minister for the Coordination of Education and Training: COVID-19