Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson has today met with TAFE New England Institute Director Peter Heilbuth to discuss the proposed changes in the disability services support sector at TAFE.


Mr Anderson called the meeting following concerns that the realignment of its student services would impact on students with a disability and concerns that Disability Support workers numbers were being reduced.


“This is something that I certainly do not want to see. I understand and support the general reform process that TAFE NSW is going through but I will not support any reduction in services to students with a disability,” Mr Anderson said.


“I have already had discussions with the Minister for Skills John Barilaro about this issue and I am pleased to see that the reform process has been paused while further consultation will be held with students and families about any changes and answer any questions they have about the process.


“I was informed by Mr Heilbuth that the current realignment plan was not to reduce staff numbers, but to provide better wrap around support for those students with a disability, such as being visually impaired, having a physical disability, deaf/hearing impaired or an intellectual disability.


“Students would be able to access all services from support teachers instead of being assigned to just one support teacher.


“Currently there are 600 students with a disability across the New England Institute with 100 receiving some form of support from five full time support staff and 15 part time consultants.


“Changes to any disability services requires a great deal of consultation and I welcome the move that the Institute Director will meet personally with concerned families to further consult with them and pause on any further reform.


“I believe that if there is no net benefit to the student from this process, then we need to question why the reform in the TAFE disability services sector is needed,” Mr Anderson concluded.

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