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Special Education Consultative Committee - Update


I recently had the pleasure of participating in a zoom meeting between members of the Special Education Committee and Emily Bourke, Assistant Minister to the Premier. Her area of special interest is Autism in education.

Emily was certainly approachable and spoke about the new initiative of an autism specialist teacher in schools. Because this initiative has come from outside the education system it has some major restrictions. She was clear about the need to identify students as young as possible and give classroom teachers the support to work with these children. She acknowledged that we did ask some hard questions about guaranteed future funding, finding the right teachers, providing the right training and what that training looks like. We also suggested that perhaps the department should do a skills audit of people who already have some training. 

Concerns raised about ongoing funding, suitable training and support in high schools were takeaways for Emily.

She also acknowledged that this would probably look very different in country regions with perhaps a hub and spoke model for the expert.

Overall, the experience was worthwhile because we got to pose some of the tough questions that had not been considered and Emily went away with these as her challenge. She has also agreed to join us for the IESP meeting we are having in November. It seems it was more productive if people came to the meeting with questions from those in the know, on the front lines.

Deb Tregilgas
Special Education Consultative Committee

Thursday 29 September 2022