Students with Disabilities

Obligations required under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth.) and Disability Standard for Education 2005 (Vic).

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Do you need to comply?

Yes. All Victorian schools are required to comply with the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (Disability Standards) introduced by the Australian Government in 2005.

The Disability Standards clarify and make more explicit the rights of students and the obligations of schools under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) (DDA).

In Victorian the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) (EOA) enshrines a similar set of rights and obligations.

While the EOA’s requirements in relation to education are similar to what is found in the DDA, The EOA does not replicate the level of detail provided in the Disability Standards and Guidance Notes.

Given this, the Disability Standards and Guidance Notes provide a greater degree of prescription and guidance for those who have to comply with both the DDA and the EOA.

Conditions of compliance

The Disability Standards for Education 2005 set benchmarks for education and training providers with which all Victorian government schools must comply. These benchmarks include the right to comparable access, services and facilities, and the right to participate in education and training unimpeded by discrimination. Education providers have a positive obligation to make changes to reasonably accommodate the needs of a student with disabilities.

The Standards apply to education providers in relation to the provision of their education and training services.

The Standards cover:

  • enrolment
  • participation
  • curriculum development
  • student support services
  • the elimination of harassment and victimisation.

If you have to comply, what do you have to do?

The Standards set out a process whereby education providers can meet their obligations to make reasonable adjustments where necessary to ensure that students with disabilities are able to participate in education and training on the same basis as students without disabilities.

The process includes:

  • consultation with the student regarding the nature of the disability
  • consideration of whether an adjustment is necessary
  • if an adjustment is necessary, identification of a reasonable adjustment
  • making the reasonable adjustment.

If the provider complies with this process, then they have complied with the Standards, and they cannot be said to have discriminated.

What are the consequences if you don’t comply?

If a person considers that they have been aggrieved under the DDA, then they may make a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission or the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Should the matter not be resolved, it could be referred to a court of law.

Who will help you?

Independent Schools Victoria contact:

Elspeth Adamson
Manager, Student Services
Ph. 03 9825 7204
elspeth.adamson@is.vic.edu.au

Documents for Download

PDFAus DET: Disability Standards for Education

PDFVictorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission: Disability Discrimination in Schools

Links and Resources

External linkDisability Discrimination Act 1992

External linkVictorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission