Aug 22, 2023, Guardian: Charlie loves his school – but he’s leaving after year 10 because it can’t support his disability https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/aug/22/australian-school-students-disability-support-abandoned
Advocates are calling for urgent federal government investment in high schools to ensure children with disabilities are supported through their final years of study
Charlie Jackman loves attending his school with his brother and friends. During his eight years there, he’s won art awards and started his own small business.
But next year, the 16-year-old will be starting year 11 at a new school because his Anglican college says it doesn’t have the resources to successfully guide a student with autism through the VCE....
About 11% of people with a disability aged between 15 and 24 who acquired disability before age 15, have left school before age 16, the latest data shows, compared with 3.6% of those without a disability.
And while two in three Australians aged 20 and over have completed year 12, that drops to one in three among people with a disability.
This month, West wrote an open letter to her son’s school. She has been swamped with feedback from parents who have experienced the same thing.
“It needs to stop happening,” she says. “Inclusion isn’t just a word on an advertising brochure ... for families who walk the road with neurodiverse young people, fighting for equity is part and parcel of the daily challenge.”…
Research indicates students with disabilities continue to experience discrimination at Australian schools at high rates, with parents often being advised to send their children to schools with better support, or being told a school has funding issues.
Students with disability are also segregated from other students, suspended and expelled at higher rates than children who don’t have a disability.
The practice tends to be more prominent in private schools, which compete for enrolments and high exam results, and aren’t required to run open enrolment processes….
Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) says urgent federal government investment is needed to prevent exclusion and enrolment refusal of students with additional needs.
A recently released survey commissioned by CYDA found just 35% of families felt teachers and support staff had adequate training and knowledge to support their children.
“Discrimination is significantly impacting the education and wellbeing of Australian students with disability,” CYDA chief executive, Skye Kakoschke-Moore, says.
“We need to see [the] delivery of full inclusion for all students in mainstream schools.”