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Throughout 2020, the Department of Education, Skills and Employment reviewed the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (the Standards) to test if they are effective in achieving their objects and whether any improvements could be made.
The Review was completed in December 2020 and the Review’s final report has been provided to the Minister for Education and Youth.
Public consultations for the 2020 Review of the Standards were held from 16 July to 25 September 2020. Two discussion papers were developed to support consultations: a general discussion paper and an early childhood education and care discussion paper.
Extensive consultation was undertaken with students, parents and carers, educators, education providers, peak disability bodies, state and territory authorities, national agencies and non-government organisations. Due to COVID–19 restrictions, engagement activities were mostly held online via a dedicated online Consultation Hub.
Public consultation events included interactive webinars, focus groups, discussion boards, telephone interviews, and limited face-to-face events in a small number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Organisations and individuals were invited to complete an online questionnaire, and to provide written, audio or video submissions.
The consultation process was designed to be accessible, user-friendly, and centred on the experience of people with disability. To help participants understand the different experiences of students with disability and their parents, the department produced some short video presentations to support consultations.
Throughout the consultation process, particular efforts were made to hear the voices of young people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and communities, and students, parents and carers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Early childhood education and care consultations
While the Standards do not apply to ‘child-care providers’, these providers are subject to the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA). A separate stream of consultations was undertaken to consider how well the DDA is understood and applied in early childhood education and care.
A separate discussion paper was developed to support these consultations, and a dedicated questionnaire was made available for stakeholders to have their say.