RALLY FOR ACCESS TO EDUCATION
MICHAEL joined hundreds of children, parents, carers and teachers at a rally in Canberra last week to highlight the critical underfunding of disability education.
Marching under the banner "Are We Part of the Education Revolution?", participants from St Lucy's, a specialist school for children with cognitive and other disabilities, and representatives from a host of other disability education services, sang and drummed their way from Old to New Parliament House.
"Like many others, I saw the Four Corners story a few weeks ago and was quite shocked. All children deserve access to quality education but it seems that responsibility is being left to the independent special schools.
"I'm really here to not only lend my support but to find out more about the issues and the challenges these parents and children face," explained Michael.
According to St Lucy's Principal, Jo Karaolis, Australia's Independent Special Schools already run at a significant loss and, with federal funding being spread more and more thinly, the sector is starting to really feel the strain.
"Kingsdene is closing, St Gabriel's and St Dominic's have lost their early intervention centres and several NSW Catholic special schools have had to reduce staff.
"With the Federal Government now reviewing disability education funding the timing was right to make sure our students don't lose any more," said Karaolis.