Education and Learning Issues Paper

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability has published responses to its Education and Learning issues paper.

The issues paper released last October invited feedback about the experiences of people with disability across a range of education settings.

Forty nine responses were received from people with disability, parents and family members, academics and organisations and considered by the Royal Commission.

The responses to the Education and Learning issues paper provide an insight into the experiences and impacts of violence, abuse and neglect of students with disability in education settings.

Some responses provided research that indicates restraint and seclusion are used in Australian schools as a means of coercion, discipline, convenience and retaliation.

Royal Commission Chair Ronald Sackville AO said many of the responses received were thoughtful, detailed and carefully documented.

“We have been told that bullying is a prevalent and serious issue for students with disability, in particular students with autism, who report significantly higher levels of physical and verbal abuse than their peers without autism,” Mr Sackville said.

“We have also been told about a lack of resources, supports and training for educators and a lack of adjustments and individualised supports for students with disability.”

Others responses expressed frustration about the failure of schools to recognise parents’ understanding of their child’s needs.

Responses reflect a range of views about the concept and understanding of ‘inclusive education’ and the role of separate education settings for students with disability.

Many respondents, including the Australian Human Rights Commission, noted that inclusive education is a fundamental human right recognised in Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Further responses to the Education and Learning Issues Paper, as well as the Group Homes Issues Paper and the Health Care for People with Cognitive Disability Issues Paper will be accepted until 31 August, 2020. After this date, any comments about these issues papers can be made via the submissions process.

All other open issues papers have individual response deadlines. Information is available on the DRC website www.disabilityroyalcommission.gov.au

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