Special school name defended by Minister

THE term "special school" is used in Queensland to identify differences rather than abilities, according to a spokesperson from the Minister of Education's office.

"It is used to identify schools that provide highly specialised and individualised programs to cater for students with severe disability, including an intellectual disability," she said.

"It should be noted that other jurisdictions in Australia also use this term. Queensland is not the only jurisdiction that uses this term."

Local MP Liz Cunningham is campaigning for change, declaring the Act needs to be changed.

Speaking to The Observer on Tuesday, Mrs Cunningham said the outdated term discouraged diversity in education.

She said renaming Gladstone Special School several years ago granted students the opportunity to take pride in their school.

The Observer can reveal 39 Queensland schools are labelled "special" compared to only six in New South Wales.

Terminology focused on ability rather than disablement is employed by the remainder of the country's education facilities.

In Western Australia, schools with additional resources for students with disabilities are referred to as Education Support centres or schools.

In Victoria, the term "special school" has been discarded in favour of specialist schools or alternatively, special developmental schools.

The spokeswoman for John-Paul Langbroek said the term "special school" aligned with the Queensland Education (General Provisions) Act 2006.



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