Education remains one of the most significant concerns students with disability and families routinely contend with. A typical education experience for students with disability involves discrimination, inadequate funding and resources, insufficient expertise of staff, a systemic culture of low expectations, exclusion and bullying. There are increasing incidents of restraint and seclusion reported to Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA), which are seen as a clear consequence of a system in crisis.
CYDA recognises the importance of having meaningful data which informs the community of education experiences of students with disability. However, CYDA has significant concerns about the proposal being considered by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) in its present form. The proposal to provide data on the number of students with disability, level of reported adjustment and ‘disability type’ of students in each school alone is viewed as extremely problematic. Further, CYDA has considerable concerns regarding the quality and process of the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD) in its current form as discussed further in this submission.
The proposed data provision in isolation would not provide information regarding the quality of education provision for students with disability or anything meaningful to the broader community. Further, CYDA is of the view that this initiative, as proposed, could potentially entrench the common barriers students with disability face in accessing education.
CYDA strongly supports the strengthening of the collection and use of data in relation to educational experiences of students with disability however this must be meaningful. This submission includes discussion of an ‘inclusion index’ as a mechanism to improve information available about schools in relation to students with disability and improve transparency and accountability for learning outcomes of this cohort.