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Disabled Perth pupils denied equal access

AAP logoAAP 12/09/2016 Rebecca Gredley

The Perth schools embroiled in claims disabled students do not have equal access to facilities are struggling from significant student growth, the WA Education Department's director general says.

Sharyn O'Neill's comments came after claims students from Duncraig Secondary Education Support Centre were not allowed equal access to facilities at Duncraig Senior High School, such as the oval, gym, music and computing rooms, and home economics kitchens.

The schools have separate principals and are run separately, but share the same site and should share facilities equally, but students from the support centre have not been given equal access in recent years.

"Both schools, both principals are trying to do the best for their children but they're both struggling because student numbers have grown significantly and rapidly," Ms O'Neill told 6PR radio on Monday.

However, she dismissed reports that children with disabilities were not allowed to play on ovals, saying she spoke with both principals when she became aware of the claims, and was told by both "that's not the case".

It has also been reported a student who has to be fed through a stomach tube was fed in the bathroom as there were no other private areas, which Ms O'Neill said the department and Duncraig Senior High School did not know about.

"As soon as they knew, I had the principal go straight down to the school and offer the medical facilities they have," she said.

"For some reason, the Education Support Centre said they weren't interested in that arrangement.

"I would have thought anything was better than a toilet."

She said the department would follow up with the school to find out why they did not take up the offer.

Ms O'Neill said the principals from both schools should have come up with an interim arrangement while a longer term solution was developed for the education support centre.

"If they can't come up with a solution, we will come in and do that for them," she said.

"I expect the principals to get on with their jobs."

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