The Northern Territory Government has announced a $5.2 million investment in specialist infrastructure in 2020 to assist NT students with additional needs, under a new Building for Inclusion initiative.

Projects under the initiative that will roll out over in select Territory schools include upgrades to special annexes and autism units at selected schools, acoustics upgrades to more than 20 classrooms and modifications to existing school infrastructure.

Minister for Education, Selena Uibo, said, “The Territory Labor Government wants every child, irrespective of their circumstances, to have equal opportunity to engage in their learning, so they can grow and achieve a bright future.

“It is important our schools are equipped with contemporary infrastructure to best support and improve the learning of students with additional needs, which is why we are investing $5.2 million in this dedicated inclusive infrastructure program.”

The funding is part of the Northern Territory Government’s Framework for Inclusion 2019-2029, launched in March 2019.

The Framework aligns with the state government’s election commitment to invest $40 million over four years in early intervention, flexible schooling, and in supporting students with additional needs.

“Inclusive education is about supporting our teaching and learning programs in the optimal way, so that all students, regardless of their background, ability or personal circumstances, can participate and learn,” Ms Uibo said.

“Barriers to learning can stem from a range of factors, from disability, to social, emotional and behavioural needs, mental illness and vulnerability, to children and students who have been involved in the child protection or youth justice systems.

“By putting in place a strong, supportive and inclusive education system, we are helping to break down those barriers, and build brighter futures.”

The Building for Inclusion program comes in addition to $4.3 million already invested directly in schools in 2020 to support a needs-based funding model and to deliver programs, buy specialised equipment or employ additional staff.

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