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Thursday, 17 August 1972
Page: 443


Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:

(1)   How many intellectually handicapped children are eligible for admission to a special school in each State and Territory Hansard, 12th August 1969. page 125).

(2)   Which States and Territories have established (a) special schools and (b) hostels for intellectually handicapped children.

(3)   Who conducts each centre.

(4)   What assistance is extended to centres in each State and Territory by

(5)   What (a) number and (b) percentage of eligible childern is enrolled in special schools.

(6)   How many eligible children in each State and Territory live more than 20 miles from their nearest special school.

(7)   What (a) number and (b) percentage of such children is accommodated in hostels.

Mr MalcolmFraser: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The honourable member asked me. a similar question (No. 747) on 17th October 1968. My answer was incorporated in Hansard on 12th August 1969 at page 125. Much of the general information given in that answer is still correct. Also I refer to my Department's recent publication: 'Special Education in Australia' which gives a great deal of detail on special education facilities in the States and Commonwealth Territories. 1 have arranged for a copy of this booklet to be sent te the honourable member.

(1)   The most recent information available to my Department concerning the number of intellectually handicapped children eligible for admission to special schools in the States is that included in my answer to Question No. 747. The following information is provided in respect of the Commonwealth Territories:

Australian Capital Territory

All intellectually handicapped children with the exception of those with an I..Q. level of 30 points or less, are eligible for admission to a special school, special class or special pre-school in the A.C.T. For those below I.Q. 30 the Handicapped Children's Association Inc., provides a training centre which is financed with the aid of subsidies from the Department of the Interior.

Northern Territory

The number of moderately and severely intellectually handicapped children eligible for admission to the two special schools in the Northern Territory as at July 1972 was 25. But see also (5) (a) below.

(2)  

In the Australian Capital Territory there are three schools for moderately intellectually handicapped pupils. These are Koomarri School, Malkara School and Malkara Pre-School. Opportunity 'A' classes for mildly intellectually handicapped pupils are provided at five primary schools and one high school.

In the Northern Territory there are two special schools for intellectually handicapped children. Also the Darwin Slow Learners Association ran a pre-school for moderately handicapped children in Darwin. This centre was taken over by my Department at the beginning of 1972.

(2)   (b) Residential hostels for intellectually handicapped children in the A.C.T. but one has been established in the Northern Territory.

(3)   Information concerning administration of facilities for intellectually handicapped children is included in my Department's publication, 'Special Education in Australia*. In the A.C.T., the schools, pre-school and special classes mentioned in the answer to (2) (a) above are conducted by my Department. In the primary and secondary schools teaching staff is provided by the N.S.W. Department of Education. The pre-school is staffed by teachers employed by the Commonwealth. In the Northern Territory the two special schools are conducted by the South Australian Education Department whilst the hostel is conducted by the Slow Learners Association.

(4)   (a) (b) Commonwealth Territories.

In the A.C.T., special schools, special classes and the special pre-school are wholly provided for by the Commonwealth.

In the Northern Territory, the Commonwealth provides buildings, furniture and the materials for the conducting of special schools and it subsidises a bus owned by the Slow Learners Association for the transport of children living in the hostel conducted by the Association. Teachers in the two special schools, together with administrative services are at present supplied by the South Australian Education Department.

Commonwealth Assistance to State-run Institutions

In general, the States bear the cost of the educational facilities they provide for intellectually handicapped children within their own boundaries. The Commonwealth assists the Sttaes in meeting such costs by the provision of general purpose grants, which may be used for any purpose at the discretion of the States. State facilities for intellectually handicapped children may also be provided under the Commonwealth's programme of unmatched capital grants for school buildings. (Under this programme $20 million will be made available in the 18 months period to June 1973 and a further $167 million over the five year period commencing July 1973.)

Certain classes of institution in a State may qualify for capital assistance from the Commonwealth under the States Grants (Mental Health Institutions) Act. Under the National Health Act unmatched Commonwealth benefits are payable in respect of persons who are in the care of approved nursing homes and children under 16 in handicapped persons homes. For those over the age of 16 Commonwealth Social Service benefits, e.g. invalid pensions, are available.

Commonwealth Assistance to Private Organisations in the States

The States Grants (Independent Schools) Act 1969, which assists with the recurrent costs of independent schools through per capita grants, makes special provision for handicapped children. Schools for the handicapped may attract the grant in respect of children whose period of attendance at school can reasonably be regarded as full-time, having regard to their disabilities. Grants are paid at the primary rate ($50 per pupil per annum) for those who are the age of primary pupils in ordinary schools and are receiving a programme of educational training, and for any pre-school children at the schools for the handicapped who are taking part in a definite education or training programme as distinct from merely being minded. Schools receive payment at the secondary rate ($68 per pupil per annum) for all handicapped children aged 13 years and over at the nearest birthday to the school's census date (late July or early August each year). This includes those beyond the normal school leaving age who are continuing in full-time schooling or in a transitional class or group between school and sheltered workshop (those fully integrated in a sheltered workshop do not attract the grant).

The Handicapped Children (Assistance) Act provides for $2 for$1 subsidies to eligible voluntary, religious and similar organisations, to be applied towards the capital cost of premises to be used for the training of handicapped children, or for the accommodation of handicapped children receiving such training. Subsidies may also be extended to assist in the purchase of equipment for use in training centres.

The nursing home and handicapped children's benefits, invalid pensions and other social service benefits referred to under (ii) above are payable in respect of persons in institutions conducted by voluntary organisations. '

State Assistance

Information is provided in the booklet 'Special Education in Australia', to which I have referred above.

(5)   (a) (b) The latest available information concerning enrolments in special schools and classes In the States is included in the booklet 'Special Education in Australia'. No information is held on the percentage of children enrolled in special schools in the Slates.

In the A.C.T. enrolments at Special Schools as at February 1972 were:

 

So far as is known, all eligible children whose parents wish it are enrolled.

In the Northern Territory there were 25 moderately intellectually handicapped children enrolled at special schools as at July 1972. So far as is known,all eligible children whose parents wish it are enrolled. In addition, there were 69 mildly intellectually handicapped children enrolled in opportunity classes in primary schools and 38 in secondary schools as at 30 July 1971. More recent figures will be available soon.

(6)   The most recent information available to my Department in respect of the States is that given in the answer to Question No. 747 (Hansard, 12th August 1969).

In the A.C.T. very few eligible children would live more than 20 miles from their nearest special school. Transport is arranged by my Department for all moderately intellectually handicapped pupils in the A.C.T.

In the Northern Territory four eligible children live more than 20 miles from their nearest special school.

(7)   (a) (b) The most recent information available to my Department in respect of the States is that given in the answer to Question No. 747 (Hansard, 12th August 1969).

In respect of the A.C.T.- Nil, nil per cent.

In respect of the Northern Territory - 3, 75 per cent.







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