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Public hearing 7: Barriers to accessing a safe, quality and inclusive school education and life course impacts

The Royal Commission held a public hearing in Brisbane from Monday, 12 October 2020 to Friday, 16 October 2020. The hearing was closed to the public but was live streamed on the Royal Commission website.

The public hearing explored the barriers experienced by students with disability in accessing and obtaining a safe, quality and inclusive school education and the resulting impacts on the life course of those students, and their families, when these barriers prevent access to equitable education.

The scope and purpose of the public hearing therefore inquired into certain issues as they relate to the experiences of students with disability, including:

  • the impact on students with disability of absences, suspensions, exclusions and expulsion from school
  • the re-engagement of students with disability when they have experienced absences, suspensions, exclusions or expulsion from school
  • the provision of adjustments and supports, and the barriers to making reasonable adjustments and supports available, for students with disability
  • individualised planning for students with disability
  • the use of restrictive practices on students with disability;
  • teacher training and qualification requirements for students with disability
  • the resulting impacts on the life course and mental health of students with disability who have experienced barriers in education, including the transition to higher education and employment.

These issues were explored by hearing from various witnesses who gave evidence at the hearing and through the examination of case studies. On this occasion, the evidence focused predominantly on the experience of students with disability in mainstream schools.

On Friday 7 May 2021, commencing at 9am (AEST), the Royal Commission will hold an additional hearing day for Counsel Assisting to present their oral submissions for Public hearing 7. These oral submissions will draw together the themes from the evidence as to some of the key barriers to accessing a safe, quality and inclusive education, as well as making submissions as to some findings, recommendations and areas for further investigation that Counsel Assisting think the Commissioners could make and consider.

Parties who were granted leave to appear at Public hearing 7 will have the opportunity to appear on 7 May and present any oral submissions in response. The additional hearing day will be livestreamed on the Royal Commission’s website.