Significant educational barriers persist for children with disabilities and in Queensland, there is still a failure to properly embrace an inclusive approach to education for all – indeed, many – students. This is so despite the wealth of evidence of the value of inclusive education for all students (not only students with disabilities) and the enduring harm caused by segregating and devaluing students with disability.
QAI has long recognised the dearth of advocacy assistance to students with disability and their families in Queensland. In the absence of formalised advocacy support for students with disabilities and their families, QAI has endeavoured over the past six years to provide information, advice and/or referral to parents on a range of issues for students with disabilities including enrolment, the use of restrictive practices, bullying and victimisation, lack of support within schools and for schools, segregation and rejection by schools and teachers including principals, physical abuse by teachers and or principals, accommodations and learning support, inclusive child care and kindergarten, bureaucratic buck-passing and funding for local OSHC.
Systemically, QAI has engaged in campaigns directed towards attitudinal change and law and policy reform in this area. In 2018 we made a submission to Education Queensland’s Disability Review Response Plan: ‘Every Student with Disability Succeeding’. We provided feedback to the United Nations on Draft General Comment no. 4, Article 24 – The Right to Inclusive Education. We have been actively involved in considering and commenting on the new right to education in the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) and discussed the draft clause at the Public Hearing into this Bill, as well as at a subsequent Panel Discussion on the implications of this right for Queensland students with disability.