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All children with a disability have a right to an inclusive education

Posted January 28, 2020

Community Legal Centres Queensland calls on the Queensland State Government to better implement the Human Rights Act to ensure young people with disability have the opportunity to an ordinary, inclusive education.


The Queensland Human Rights Act applies to all Queensland state schools and specifically the right of every child to education.  This is an exciting new right that provides much-needed protection for students with a disability, along with other human rights protected by the Act. It is important that the State Government provide all Queensland state schools with the resources and training they need to properly realise this right.


Michelle O’Flynn, Director, Queensland Advocacy Incorporated (QAI), noted the hostility and exclusion experienced by many children with disability and their parents within the education system. ‘QAI has long advocated systemically for the rights of all children with disability to inclusive education. Queensland’s education system lags behind others when it comes to ensuring children with disabilities experience an inclusive education with the support they need to thrive.’


Emma Phillips, Principal Solicitor, Queensland Advocacy Incorporated, said, ‘Education is the first formal introduction many children have to society. Whether this experience is one of segregation and exclusion, or inclusion and belonging, is critically important. The right to inclusive education is recognised by international law as vital to the full development of human potential and sense of dignity and self-worth.’


‘This requires more than mere lip service to the rights and values expressed in the Human Rights Act, but a concrete commitment to ensuring all state educational institutions are provided with the education, training and resources needed to understand and give effect to this right.’ 


‘In our work, we have seen cases where children have been subjected to highly concerning practices of segregation, restraint and seclusion in breach of their fundamental human rights at Queensland state schools. The impact on these children, and on their families, has been significant and enduring. The introduction of the Queensland Human Rights Act is an opportunity to move away from such practices and the Queensland Government must properly support its implementation.’