Final Report of the 2020 Review of Disability Standards for Education 2005
March 2021 | News | Sam Burnett and Jon Cheung
In 2020, the Commonwealth Department of Education, Skills and Employment (the Department) conducted a review of the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (Cth) (the Standards) made pursuant to the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) (the DDA).
The Standards seek to clarify education providers’ responsibilities under the DDA and ensure that students with disability can access and participate in education on the same basis as students without disabilities. It is a legislative requirement that every 5 years the Commonwealth Government review “the effectiveness of these Standards in achieving their objects, including a consideration of whether any amendments are desirable” (see Part 11 of the Standards). The last review of the Standards was in 2015.
On 12 March 2021, the final report of the 2020 Review of the Standards (the 2020 Final Report) was released alongside a short summary document outlining the major findings of the report. The 2020 Final Report and its accompanying summary document can be accessed here.
In the 2020 Final Report, the Department made 13 recommendations and identified the following 4 reform directions:
1. Empowering and supporting students with disability and their families
2. Strengthening the knowledge and capability of educators and providers
3. Embedding accountability for the Standards throughout the education system
4. Building awareness and capability in the early childhood education and care sector
The Commonwealth Government will work with state and territory governments to implement the recommendations made in the 2020 Final Report. Consultation will occur with education authorities and providers, as well as with people with disability, on the best way to implement the recommendations.
The Standards apply to education providers including preschools, kindergartens, private schools, TAFE and VET providers, adult education providers and higher education institutions. Charities and not-for-profits that are education providers will need to be aware of the recommendations from the 2020 Final Report and their future implementation by states and territories. In particular, early childhood education and care providers should be aware that the Department is considering the best way to build awareness and capability in the sector in relation to providers’ obligations under the DDA.