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Education and Employment

Hearing to examine education pathways for people with disabilities

female teacher sitting at desk with a Down syndrome schoolboy

Public hearing 24 will commence on Monday 6 June in Canberra for five days. The hearing will examine the experiences of children and young people in different primary and high school education settings, including what are commonly referred as special schools with a focus on Western Australia and South Australia.

The Royal Commission will hear evidence about the pathways provided by different education settings from early childhood through to high school and transitions to life after school.

Witnesses will share their experiences of battling to ensure their children received a quality education and the same opportunities as their siblings without disability. They will share their experience of the schools failing to work with parents to develop individual learning plans, failing to provide adequate support, responding to behaviours of concern with restrictive practices and the impact of conflicts.

Having access to education is a fundamental human right, protected for people with disability under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Education is also a determinant of future outcomes such as employment and health, and vital to the full development of an individual’s potential.

Witnesses expected to appear at Public hearing 24 include a pre-teen with disability living in the ACT who uses assisted technology to communicate and learn. The importance of assisted technology was recently highlighted by UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell stating, “without access to assistive technology, children with disabilities will continue to miss out on their education.”

The Royal Commission will hear from Children and Young People (CYDA), Inclusion Australia and the Yellow Lady Bugs about the experiences of their members and a vision for more inclusive education settings.

Representatives from education authorities in Western Australia and South Australia and a representative from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) will also give evidence.

Public hearing 24 builds upon the Royal Commission’s ongoing work relating to the experiences of students with disability, including Public hearing 2 and Public hearing 7.

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