The Australian Education Union (AEU) Victorian Branch has welcomed the Victorian government’s 2020-21 state budget which has delivered significant investments in public education.
The budget has provided important funding increases across kindergartens, schools, and TAFEs which will support the efforts of teachers, support staff, and educational leaders to deliver high quality education to students.
Considerable funding of $1.6 billion will be used to support students with a disability and the budget confirmed funding to employ more than 4000 tutors in 2021 to help students who need extra support because of the pandemic.
More than $1.5 billion to support students with disabilities.
The investment will mean many more students will get the extra specialist support they need and see an overhaul of the outdated way in which students with disability are allocated support.
Extra teachers will be employed to provide more classroom support for students with disability and schools will have more resources to work even more closely to share expertise to support all students.
Importantly, teachers and support staff will have access to additional professional development and specialist expertise.
AEU Victorian Branch Deputy President Justin Mullaly said teachers, principals and support staff together with families of students with disability will welcome the additional resources which will help to address the needs of many more students.
“The Victorian government has listened to the concerns of our members and acted through this significant investment,” said Mr Mullaly.
“Victoria’s teachers, principals, and support staff work tirelessly to support the needs of all students, including those with disability, but have done so for too long without the support and resources required. This investment is a positive step in the right direction.
The Australian Education Union has been urging the Victorian government to allocate extra funding for students with disability for more than a decade and supports a funding model which is focussed on student strengths and needs, and the adjustments required to support those students.
“The AEU will work with the government to implement the reforms they have announced and will continue to advocate for additional resources for students with disability to build on this positive start.”
Parents and children will also benefit from almost $170 million to provide fee free kindergarten for funded three and four-year-old programs and an additional $1.9 billion has been allocated to build new schools – and upgrade and expand existing schools.
AEU Victorian Branch Deputy President Justin Mullaly said the budget provided much needed investment in public education and addressed some of the union’s calls for additional resources, especially for students with disability and in school infrastructure.
“After an extremely challenging year this budget which will be welcomed by public education communities,” said Mr Mullaly.
“Our members know that ongoing funding increases to support students with disability will be vital over the coming years to enable all students to thrive, but this is certainly a very good step in the right direction.”
Vocational education also receives a boost
Additional funding for TAFEs, which is central to ensuring Victorians can access the vocational education and training they need, has been allocated and is welcome.
However, there is more work to be done to ensure our TAFEs are funded properly. The Victorian government needs to do more to save TAFE and must start by fixing the broken funding system and increasing course funding allocations.
“Beyond the unparalleled funding to deliver funded three-year-old kindergarten, the government must continue to back the investment in fee free kindergarten in next year’s state budget.