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This paper particularly focuses on factors that will impede access to quality education, of the effects on the more vulnerable groups, and it outlines models of support and recovery that evidence suggests are useful. This brief synthesis draws parallels from literature on natural disasters and school interruptions such as school holidays, teacher strikes, economic downturn, and natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes.

According to the Productivity Commission, disadvantage in Australia needs to be assessed against three metrics: relative income poverty, material deprivation (inability to afford life’s essentials), and social exclusion. Children experiencing these metrics can include those living in very low SES contexts, jobless households, children with special needs either physical or psychological, children with language other than English backgrounds and refugee populations, rural and remote contexts, and Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islanders. Recently, low digital inclusion has been considered an additional category particularly when this interacts with the other categories.

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