Some important state, national and international laws and plans help guide our work to provide inclusive and equitable education in Tasmania.
The principles of equity and inclusion are key to our education system in Tasmania: All students have the right to access, take part and engage in education on the same basis as other students.
There are some important laws and plans that help guide us to make sure that we are providing quality education for all.
Our Department Disability Action Plan
Our Department has a Disability Action Plan. This Plan says what will do to continue to improve in how we support children, families, clients and staff with disability. It links to the Tasmanian Government’s Disability Framework for Action.
At the moment, we have a Disability Action Plan for 2018-2021 (PDF, 2.7MB). This links to the Tasmanian Government’s Accessible Island: Tasmania’s Disability Framework for Action 2018-2021 (PDF, 5.5MB).
A new Tasmanian Government Disability Framework for Action is in development now, and will give us a strong foundation to develop our next Department Disability Action Plan.
Each year we check how we are going in achieving our Actions. You can read the Annual Reports to find out:
National and State-Level Plans
The Australian and Tasmanian Governments have developed plans for improving life for Australians with disability, their families and carers. These plans also help us to understand the improvements we can make in our Department.
Australia has a 10 year national plan. At the moment it is the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020. The Strategy outlines six priority areas:
- Inclusive and accessible communities
- Rights protection, justice and legislation
- Economic security
- Personal and community support
- Learning and skills
- Health and wellbeing
Tasmania has its own three year action plan: Accessible Island: Tasmania’s Disability Framework for Action 2018-2021.
Disability Standards for Education
The Disability Standards for Education 2005 tell schools what they need to do to fulfil the rights of students with disability. They explain what is needed to make sure students with disability can access and take part on the same basis as other students.
The Standards are the law under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA).
The Standards cover all aspects of education and training:
- Curriculum development, accreditation and delivery
- Student support services
- Elimination of harassment and victimisation.
The Standards say that schools and other education providers must:
- treat students with disability on the same basis as students without disability
- make reasonable adjustments to student’s learning program and/or learning environment
- consult with the student or their parents/carers on the reasonable adjustments that will be provided.
They were reviewed in 2020 to check if they were still up to date. You can read a report on the Disability Standards for Education 2020 Review.
There are resources to help families and schools learn more about what the Standards are, and how to put them into practice:
- Fact Sheet 1: Disability Discrimination Act 1992
- Fact Sheet 2: Disability Standards for Education 2005
- Fact Sheet 3: Parent engagement
- Fact Sheet 4: Effective consultation
- Fact Sheet 5: Complaints processes
- A practical guide for individuals, families and communities
- Online training modules for staff
- Disability Standards for Education Guidance Notes.
2015 Ministerial Taskforce Report
An important Ministerial Taskforce Report called Improved Support for Students with Disability was released in 2015.
The Report said that there was a need to:
- Work with schools to become increasingly disability ready and responsive
- Continuously improve teaching and learning
- Work with communities in partnership
- Align resources to inclusive education practice.
The Tasmanian Government has committed $21.25 million to act on these recommendations, from 2016-2023.
The Inclusion Advisory Committee gives the Minister for Education, Children and Youth advice on how to do this.
United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2008 (UNCRPD)
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2008 is an agreement to “promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity”.
Australia has ‘ratified’ the Convention, which means that it is legally binding.
Other United Nations Guidance
Inclusive education is a key part of the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4: Quality Education. This Goal is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) supports and advises education systems their efforts to meet the needs of all learners. UNESCO’s A Guide for Ensuring Inclusion and Equity in Education has the core message: “Every Learner matters and matters equally.”