The Learning Assistance Program (LAP) was established in 2004 with a 3-year funding period. Its purpose is to assist students enrolled in regular classes K-12 who are having difficulty in literacy, numeracy or language. It also focuses on building the capacity of classroom teachers to provide effective support to students experiencing difficulties in these basic areas of learning. This also includes students with mild intellectual disabilities and language disorders.
Martin and Associates, an independent Special Education and Training organisation, were commissioned to undertake a reflective study of LAP so as results could inform the consultative process for shaping the future of LAP. The Learning Assistance Program (LAP) was designed and implemented as a result of the recommendations from the Parkins Report (2002) and the framework for the reflective study was provided by the Review of Support for Students with Low Support Needs Enrolled in Regular Classes (Parkins W, 2002). The methodology and findings focused on the four major headings which address the Parkins Report recommendations:
Allocation of the resources
Categorisation of students in LAP
Service delivery model
Professional learning and support materials
The overall view of all stakeholder groups towards LAP is a positive one. Information from the different data sources was reasonably consistent and the aspect of the program which was most appreciated was the allocation of the positions and funding on a 3-year basis and the flexibility it allowed the schools to manage the resources to best meet their local needs.