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How deep does it go? Australian students with disability and their experience of entrenched inequity in education

CYDA School Education Survey 2022
Educational quality Students with disability Student support Disability awareness Disability services Social inclusion Australia

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.

Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) has been gathering feedback on educational experiences from its members via formal surveys since 2010. This survey repeats that conducted in 2019 to explore whether similar trends are found and what progress has been made. Survey questions were about the types of services and supports accessed, perceptions of resources available and training of professionals, and whether children have experienced exclusion, seclusion or bullying.

Despite significant investments in a range of policies and programmes, such as the NDIS, the Australian Disability Strategy and a range of initiatives to support students with disability in schools, the data from this survey indicates there are still a range of challenges in creating inclusive school environments. Although there are some encouraging findings with respect to schools being welcoming for students with disability and their families and caregivers, it appears there are still some important gaps.

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