Nationals Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland has congratulated families and disability advocates for forcing the Andrews Government to backflip on its decision to cut 85 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 slashing 117 VTS specialised teaching jobs down to 32 to the dismay of students and families who rely on it.
Ms Cleeland said this was a great day for regional students and their families, however the heartless 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,” Ms Cleeland said.
“The Andrews Government’s callous decision to cut educational support to students with disabilities can only be descried as cruel.
“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 Ms Cleeland hosted members of the deaf and hard of hearing community at Parliament of Victoria to understand their concerns with the VTS cuts.
Ms Cleeland said families and disability advocates clearly articulated the significant learning barriers students would experience if the VTS was lost and the lack of safety net for the most vulnerable children.
“We had the opportunity to listen to brave, inspirational, and heart-wrenching stories that shed light on the benefits this program offers,” Ms Cleeland said.
“In regional settings, with limited access to supports, the VTS provides one to one support to students with disabilities. It also stood as one of the only crucial services available to deaf children in regional Victoria.
“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 those who joined us for sharing their stories and allowing The Nationals to advocate on their behalf.
“Together, we continue to make a difference.”