Royal Commission to hold public hearing on school education

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Barriers experienced by students with disability in accessing and obtaining a safe, quality and inclusive school education will be examined by the Disability Royal Commission at its next public hearing.

The resulting impacts on the life course of those students and their families, when those barriers prevent access to equitable education, will also be considered when the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability sits from 12-16 October.

The Royal Commission will inquire into the experiences of students with disability, including the impact on students with disability of absences, suspensions, exclusions and expulsion from school, and their re-engagement with school afterwards; individualised planning and the provision of adjustments and supports; the use of restrictive practices on students with disability; teacher training; and the resulting impacts on the life course and mental health of students with disability who have experienced barriers in education.

While the key focus of the evidence at this hearing will be on the experience of students with disability in mainstream schools, the Royal Commission will continue to inquire into the education of students with disability including issues relevant to segregated/special schools.

Chair of the Royal Commission, Ronald Sackville AO QC will preside over the hearing and be joined by Commissioners Rosyln Atkinson, Rhonda Galbally and Andrea Mason.

“Education is at the cornerstone of a person’s ability to live an engaged and fulfilled life, opening opportunities for future happiness and control of their own destiny,” Commissioner Sackville said.

“It is hoped that the evidence we hear will confirm that these opportunities are available to all Australians, and uncover instances where there are failings or challenges for children living with disability, so that they may be addressed.”

Senior Counsel Assisting the hearing will be Dr Kerri Mellifont QC, appearing with Mr Andrew Fraser, Mr Ben Power and Ms Elizabeth Bennett of junior counsel.


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