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  • Kristen Desmond

TDERL Comes to an End

It is with a heavy heart that I announce that the Tasmanian Disability Education Lobby will be closing next Thursday the 9th of April. TDERL was founded in 2012 to lobby for improved support for students with disability in Tasmanian schools.


Over the last 8 years we have published numerous surveys, participated in Ministerial Advisory panels and I believe TDEL has become a key stakeholder in the Tasmanian Education conversation. I am incredibly proud of the work of TDERL and the part we have played in ensuring that the Tasmanian Disability Education System has been reformed in very significant ways.


The resourcing system has gone from an inequitable outdated system to a nation leading truly needs based one. TDERL has been able to shine a light on the lack of inclusion in the Tasmanian schools system. TDERL has played an important part in ensuring that students with disability are provided a quality education and that there is real accountability in relation to the treatment of students with disability in our schools.


I would like to thank all of the families who have support TDERL over the last 8 years, particularly those who have participated in parent satisfaction surveys and those who have spoken publicly about their experiences to make the system better for everyone.


Thank you to the Journalists who have trusted us and published stories of experiences of students with disability in our schools even when there was plenty of pressure not to. Thank you to the AEU Tasmanian branch who have always worked collaboratively with us for the benefit of students and teachers in Tasmanian schools. Thank you also to those in the Department of Education that have worked so collaboratively with us through the design and consultation of the needs based funding system that started this year.


Thank you also to Tasmanian politicians of all creeds and colours who have always given respect to TDERL's views even if we didn't see eye to eye on the solutions. Your willingness to listen and work productively is appreciated. Together you have put the education of students with disability above politics and this is one of the reasons Tasmania is now in a nation leading position.


As most of you are aware TDERL work is done off the side of my desk, we receive no government funding nor have we asked for Government funding, My employer has supported my TDERL work but as my career has progressed the time I have to dedicate to the work of TDERL has become less. It is now at a level that I simply cannot do the work that needs to be done by TDERL justice and so my TDERL journey comes to an end.


I am an advocate and always will be - it is in my DNA - I will continue to speak out but no longer under the banner of the TDERL. I have been honoured to work with amazing organisations and advocates at both State and National levels and I am now confident that Tasmania won't be forgotten about in the national reform conversations currently taking place.


My parting piece of advice for the Tasmanian Government is this - do not let hard fought reforms be left behind due to the current Covid19 pandemic. With schools turning to online learning the Government must ensure that students with disability are not left behind and forgotten, Hard fought adjustments need to continue and we must find a way to keep students with disability engaged in a quality education in the current ever changing environment. I also encourage the Tasmanian Government to seriously consider appointing an Independent Disability Commissioner for Tasmania so that the rights of people with disability in this State are truly valued and enforced.


Finally thank you for allowing me to fight the good fight, represent the rights of students with disability and play my part in ensuring that critical reforms in our schools have taken place.


Kristen

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Tasmania Disability Education Reform Lobby advocates for real change to the Tasmanian Education system to ensure that all students living with disability receive appropriate support at school.

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