Rumours ‘are false’ Langbroek quashes rumours of cuts

SPECIAL education teachers and parents in Warwick fear the closure of early childhood development programs.

Mother and advocate for special education, Rachel Leslie said she had been told directly Education Queensland planned on using the current centre at Warwick West State School for other purposes.

However, Minister for Education John-Paul Langbroek said these rumours were false and the government had increased support for students with disabilities this year.

Mrs Leslie, who has a daughter with Down syndrome, said she had noticed in the past few years a decline in available services.

"My daughter Imogen started going to the EDC (early development centre) from just two weeks of age," she said.

"It really gave her a great head start and was extremely valuable to her development.

"The services available have continued to become narrower."

Mr Langbroek said in 2014 there were 618 special education programs and 29 stand-alone early childhood development programs operating in Queensland.

"They used to operate programs in Stanthorpe and Goondiwindi that are no longer continuing," Mrs Leslie said.

Mrs Leslie said the early childhood development program was for kids before they became school-aged. Once they were old enough they would then enter the special education unit.

"Staff levels have been severely reduced over the past few years in these units," she said.

"I find it hard to believe there would be fewer needs in Warwick now.

"They say money is being poured back into schools, but what parts?"

Mrs Leslie said the first few years of a child's development were the most crucial.

"Each and every day of their life they are learning how to become independent adults," she said.

"If these units were to close it would have a dramatic effect on these children's lives.

"If they do not receive this support early it will affect them for the rest of their life."

The Education Minister said they had added an additional 188 full time teaching positions and 4800 teacher aide hours per week to special education programs this year. That equates to a $27 million boost to disability support in schools.

"I want to assure parents in the Warwick community that rumours of cuts to special education programs are false."



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