‘Borderline children miss out at school’

‘Borderline children miss out at school’

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A Canning Vale mother has called on the Department of Education to review its disability funding allocation policies for students after finding her daughter had ‘fallen through the cracks’ despite a condition that impacts her learning.

After struggling through primary school, Hayley Cole enrolled her daughter Chloe at Canning Vale College for year seven because they had programs that could support her.

She wanted Chloe to join the school’s Leap Program and have time with education assistants but hit brick walls because Chloe’s IQ was too high.

She had Chloe tested for auditory processing disorder and was given a part diagnosis – her hearing is fine but she has trouble processing and retaining information.

Under the department’s policy, for a student to receive supplementary funding they must have an eligible diagnosis within eight groups including conditions like global development delays, being deaf or hard of hearing and vision impairments.

Ms Cole said the department should widen its scope of eligible diagnoses to include children who are on the borderline like Chloe.

“Even though the doctors have said that will definitely affect her school work and performance in the classroom it’s not covered so they can’t give her any education assistant time,” she said.

“Why her diagnosis isn’t qualified as having a learning disability I don’t understand.

“So I have to push now to try to get her a diagnosis on intellectual disability because if I don’t get her that she’s not going to get any kind of assistance.

“It’s kids like her that are sitting on the borderline that get nothing and they have to sit in the mainstream classroom getting left behind because they don’t get the school work and there’s nobody there to explain it with them.”

Education Department south metropolitan executive director Sue Cuneo said while Chloe didn’t have a diagnosed disability that would attract a specific allocation of disability funding, the school and the department recognised she does have additional learning needs.

“Public schools are funded to provide support to students who fall outside of the eight categories of recognised disability,” she said.

She had been assured by the college’s principal that education assistants were providing support to Chloe and other students in 16 out of 25 of her classses.

She did not say how much time the assistants spent with her during the 16 classes.
“(Chloe) is also in the school’s intensive literacy program and is making significant progress,” she said.

Ms Cuneo said the South Metropolitan Regional Education Office would be happy to talk with Chloe’s mother to look at any concerns.

The student centred funding model includes the new educational adjustment which allowed schools to put in place programs and learning support for students with additional learning needs.