Research evidence consistently demonstrates that children and young people with disability fare less well than their peers in education. School aged students with disability are segregated, suspended, and expelled at higher rates. Over the last fifteen years, the highest level of educational attainment for people with disability has improved, but this level still remains lower than children and young people without disability. These inequities can have lifelong implications.
Early childhood education and care takes place before school attendance and allows children to learn, play and discover in a safe environment outside of their home. There is growing evidence to suggest that investment in early childhood education and care can be an important way to improve the cognitive and social development of children. Given this evidence base, governments nationally and internationally have sought to invest in early childhood education and care as a way of enhancing the abilities of their populations and addressing inequities.
About this survey:
Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) has been gathering feedback on educational experiences from its members via formal surveys since 2010. These surveys have consistently found that students with disability are excluded in their education. For the first time this survey has been undertaken to understand whether the same kinds of issues are experienced in early childhood education and care settings.
The findings suggest that there is an urgent need to better equip and support early childhood education and care settings to support children with disability so that they are included early and are able to benefit from the education and support provided. Without this, we are likely to see the same sorts of inequities perpetuated as in the past.