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Hearing to examine education pathways for children and young people with disability

Public hearing 24 will commence on Monday 6 June in Canberra for five days. The hearing will examine the experiences of children and young people in different primary and high school education settings, including what are commonly referred as special schools with a focus on Western Australia and South Australia.

The Royal Commission will hear evidence about the pathways provided by different education settings from early childhood through to high school and transitions to life after school.

Witnesses will share their experiences of battling to ensure their children received a quality education and the same opportunities as their siblings without disability. They will share their experience of the schools failing to work with parents to develop individual learning plans, failing to provide adequate support, responding to behaviours of concern with restrictive practices and the impact of conflicts.

Having access to education is a fundamental human right, protected for people with disability under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)[1]. Education is also a determinant of future outcomes such as employment and health, and vital to the full development of an individual’s potential.[2]

Witnesses expected to appear at Public hearing 24 include a pre-teen with disability living in the ACT who uses assisted technology to communicate and learn. The importance of assisted technology was recently highlighted by UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell stating, “without access to assistive technology, children with disabilities will continue to miss out on their education[3].”

The Royal Commission will hear from Children and Young People (CYDA), Inclusion Australia and the Yellow Lady Bugs about the experiences of their members and a vision for more inclusive education settings.

Representatives from education authorities in Western Australia and South Australia and a representative from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) will also give evidence.

Public hearing 24 builds upon the Royal Commission’s ongoing work relating to the experiences of students with disability, including Public hearing 2 and Public hearing 7.

The hearing will be held in-person at Rydges Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory and is open to the media and general public to attend. It will be live streamed on the homepage of the Royal Commission website.

The Chair of the Royal Commission, the Hon Ronald Sackville AO QC, will preside over the hearing in Canberra and will be joined by Commissioners Ms Andrea Mason OAM and Dr Rhonda Galbally AC.

Journalists wishing to cover the hearing should notify the Disability Royal Commission media team to ensure access to the media room and/or relevant information including schedules and live transcripts.

Please direct all inquiries to the Disability Royal Commission Media team on 0436 841 166 or via our email


[1] Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, opened for signature 30 March 2007, 999 UTS 3 (entered into force 3 May 2008), Art 24.

[3] Global report on Assistive Technology, World Health Organisation and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 2022.