Sunday, March 04, 2012

Australian Disability Standards for Education

The document Disability Standards for Education and accompanying Guidance notes, were created to help educators provide access for students with disabilities. The standards apply from preschool to TAFE and university, to public and private providers and also to internal organization training courses at companies and government agencies. While having been in effect since August 2005, they are not well know amongst educators in Australia, perhaps due to the poor way the documents have been provided on-line. A Review of the Disability Standards for Education commenced in 2011, which also suffered from poor e-document design.


Introduction 4

Part 1 Preliminary

1.1 Name of Standards 6
1.2 Commencement 6
1.3 Objects 6
1.4 Definitions 6
1.5 Who must comply with the Standards 7
1.6 Construction of Standards 8

Part 2 Meaning of important terms

2.1 Education providers 9
2.2 Meaning of on the same basis 9

Part 3 Making reasonable adjustments

3.1 Application of Part 10
3.2 Meaning of student 10
3.3 Adjustments 10
3.4 Reasonable adjustments 10
3.5 Consulting the student 11
3.6 Deciding on an adjustment to be made 12
3.7 Adjustments to be provided in reasonable time 12
3.8 Relation to premises standards 12

Part 4 Standards for enrolment

4.1 Application of Part 13
4.2 Enrolment standards 13
4.3 Measures for compliance with standards 14

Part 5 Standards for participation

5.1 Application of Part 15
5.2 Participation standards 15
5.3 Measures for compliance with standards 16

Part 6 Standards for curriculum development, accreditation and delivery

6.1 Application of Part 17
6.2 Standards for curriculum development and accreditation and delivery 17
6.3 Measures for compliance with standards 18

Part 7 Standards for student support services

7.1 Application of Part 19
7.2 Standards for support services 19
7.3 Measures for compliance with standards 21

Part 8 Standards for harassment and victimisation

8.1 Meaning of harassment 22
8.2 Application of Part 22
8.3 Standards for eliminating harassment and victimisation 22
8.4 Harassment and victimisation provisions of the Act continue to apply 23
8.5 Measures for compliance with standards 23

Part 9 Treatment of a person who has an associate with a disability

9.1 Act continues to apply in relation to person who has associate with a disability 25

Part 10 Exceptions

10.1 Exceptions 26
10.2 Unjustifiable hardship 26
10.3 Acts done under statutory authority 27
10.4 Protection of public health 27
10.5 Special measures 27

Part 11 Review

11.1 Timetable for review 28


These Standards are formulated by the Commonwealth Attorney-General under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (the Act).

The Act seeks to eliminate, as far as possible, discrimination against people with disabilities. Under section 22 of the Act, it is unlawful for an educational authority to discriminate against a person on the ground of the person’s disability or a disability of any associates of that person. Section 31 of the Act enables the Attorney-General to formulate disability standards in relation to a range of areas, including the education of persons with a disability.

The Standards are subordinate legislation and are subject to the objects of the Act. They clarify and elaborate the legal obligations in relation to education.

Under section 32 of the Act, it is unlawful for a person to contravene a disability standard. A complaint about an alleged contravention can be made to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. Section 34 of the Act provides that, if a person acts in accordance with a disability standard, Part 2 of the Act does not apply to the person’s action or, in other words, the person’s action complies with the Act and is not made unlawful by it ...

From: Disability Standards for Education 2005, Attorney-General, Commonwealth of Australia, February 2011

Terms of Reference

In reviewing the effectiveness of the Standards, the review will consider whether the Standards:

  1. have provided clarity and specificity for education and training providers and for students with disability and their families in relation to their rights and requirements under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992

  2. have assisted people with disability to access and participate in education and training opportunities on the same basis as those without disability

  3. have assisted to eliminate discrimination (including harassment and victimisation) of people with disability in education and training

  4. have promoted recognition and acceptance in the community of the principle that people with disability have the same fundamental rights as the rest of the community

  5. are compatible with Australia’s current education and training system. ...

From: Review of the Disability Standards for Education, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, February 2011

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