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RMIT expert available: Disability Royal Commission final report

The final report of the Disability Royal Commission will be handed down today and is expected to be tabled soon after. An RMIT expert will be available to comment on the recommendations and its implications for the education sector.

“The Disability Royal Commission (DRC) final report arrives at a momentous time for the rights and wellbeing of young people with a disability in Australia.

“Pressure for historic change to reduce exclusion and make ‘child rights and wellbeing as a national priority’ (Anne Hollands – National Children’s Commissioner) is intense.

“In 2020, I helped to set the scope of the Disability Royal Commission’s investigation into the exclusion of students with a disability in schools, and was an expert witness.

It is expected that the final report will recommend strengthened regulation of the education sector in line with Australian law and our international commitments.

“Calls for educating school leaders about their legal responsibilities is also likely.

“The situation on the ground is rapidly changing, however.

The Australian public school system is in crisis due to a perfect storm of failed education policy and underinvestment, plus the impacts of COVID-19.

“Educational inclusion is failing, as many schools struggle to meet the basic needs of students with a disability.

“Growing numbers of students are simply being withdrawn from school by families in response.

“The report recommendations – and the success of this Royal Commission, which cost $527 million – must now be judged against these changing realities. Will they go far enough to be relevant in 2023 and beyond? How will recommendations translate into actions in schools?”

Dr David Armstrong is a Senior Lecturer at RMIT’s School of Education and an international expert on educational exclusion, behaviour in schools and disability. He served on the Disability Royal Commission as an expert witness on behaviour in schools and the exclusion of students with a disability.

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