Legislation ESSENTIAL

All Australian schools have obligations towards students with disability under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (the DDA) and the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (the Standards).

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992

The DDA provides protection against discrimination based on disability. The DDA seeks to eliminate, as far as possible, discrimination against people with disability in a range of areas, including education. The DDA makes it against the law for an education authority to discriminate against a person on the ground of the person's disability.

The Disability Standards for Education 2005

The Standards are subordinate legislation under the DDA. The Standards clarify and elaborate the legal obligations of education providers towards students with disability under the DDA and they set out how education is to be made accessible to students with disability. Under the DDA, it is unlawful to contravene a Standard.

The Standards require that all Australian schools ensure that students with disability are able to access and participate in education on the same basis as students without disability.

Under the Standards, all schools are required to make or provide 'reasonable adjustments' for students where necessary to enable their access and participation.

The Standards also require that reasonable adjustments are provided in consultation with the student and/or their associates; for most students, this means their parents and carers.

The Standards recognise that not all students with disability are alike. Students with disability have specific needs, including the type and level of support they need in order to access and participate in all aspects of education on the same basis as students without disability.

The Standards cover the following areas:

  • enrolment
  • participation
  • curriculum development, accreditation and delivery
  • student support services
  • elimination of harassment and victimisation.

The Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability counts all school students where:

1. the student’s impairment meets the DDA’s broad definition of disability What is a disability as defined in the DDA? under Step 1 and

2. the functional impact of the student’s disability results in the school actively addressing or supporting the student’s specific individual education needs arising from their disability within quality differentiated teaching practice and/or monitoring the student, or providing a ‘supplementary’ or higher level of adjustment or support Step 2: what is the level of adjustment?.

The national data collection on students with disability captures information about the levels of adjustment that students who meet the above criteria are being provided with, in order to enable their access to and participation in education.

The following PDF provides detailed guidance about which students are included in the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability:

Download the ‘Strategies to support decision making’ resource.

Information about which students are counted in the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability is also available under Step 1: Is there an adjustment? of this support resource.

Sound knowledge and understanding of school obligations under the DDA and the Standards will assist you in understanding and implementing the national data collection on students with disability.

It is strongly recommended that you complete professional learning in this area prior to completing the data collection.

Speak to your local educational authority or principal about professional learning on the DDA and the Standards that is available to your school.