Labor forced to backflip on visiting teacher service cuts

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Nationals MP, Melina Bath has congratulated families and disability advocates for forcing the Andrews Government to backflip on its decision to cut 85 jobs Visiting Teacher Service jobs.

The Visiting Teacher Service (VTS) supports children with disabilities and serious medical conditions statewide.

Last month the Andrews Government announced it was cutting 117 VTS specialised teaching jobs down to 32 to the dismay of students and families who rely on it.

Ms Bath said this was a great day for regional students and their families, however the cuts should never have been considered by the Andrews Government.

“Access to support services in the country is difficult enough without Labor constructing barriers for rural kids with disabilities who already experience educational disadvantage due to their postcode.

“The Andrews Government’s callous decision to cut educational support to students with disabilities can only be descried as the cruellest of blows.

“Students with disabilities need additional educational support and funding, not less,”

The VTS provides individualised frontline support to children with hearing, visual, physical, and mental impairments in mainstream schools and is particularly important to regional families with limited access to services.

Last week Nationals MP’s met with members of the disability community in Melbourne to understand their concerns.  Speaking in State Parliament Ms Bath strongly condemned Labor’s decision before sharing the concerns of families and advocates.

Ms Bath said families and disability advocates clearly articulated the significant learning barriers students would experience if the VTS was lost.

“In regional settings, with limited access to supports, the VTS provides one to one support to students with disabilities.

“Labor failed to consult with one family when making its decision and subsequently ignored all opportunities to engage and learn about the challenges students with disabilities in mainstream schools face.

“I remain incredibly grateful for the disability community for sharing and trusting me with their stories and allowing The Nationals to advocate on their behalf.

“Together we will continue to call for better educational outcomes and the removal of barriers for all students with disabilities.”