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Billion-dollar bonus: government can afford to do better for school kids

05 November 2012

The NSW Government should consider how it can use the $1 billion it discovered after an accounting error to improve support for school kids with learning and behavioural problems, says the NSW Public Service Association

The O'Farrell Government's recently announced cuts to school funding will lead to cuts to School Learning Support Officers, who work in the classrooms to support teachers and children, said PSA President Sue Walsh.

"The Government can no longer claim it doesn't have enough money to do the right thing by our kids," said Ms Walsh.

"As any parent with a child with autism or learning or behavioural problems will tell you - we need to put more resources into supporting their development at school, not fewer."

There are sometimes occasions when children displaying violent or aggressive behaviour need to be sent home, to protect the health and safety of teachers and learning support officers, said Ms Walsh.

However having trained and experienced learning support staff on hand was the best way to head off situations that lead to children reacting with aggression or violence.

The Government's plans to cut funding to students with low-level disabilities would also impact behaviour management across the school system, said Ms Walsh.

"Supporting children with disabilities and behavioural and learning disorders is hard work. It is labour and time intensive, but these children can often thrive if given enough targeted one-on-one support," said Ms Walsh.

"School learning support officers do a fantastic job, but if we keep cutting back we'll see struggling kids and families missing out on the support they deserve."

Contact Details
Sue Walsh, President
Ph:  02 9220 0900

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