The National Catholic Education Commission’s Students with Disability Network group came together at its quarterly meeting last week in Canberra to collaborate on current issues affecting the sector.

The dedicated network group, comprising experts from each Catholic state and territory jurisdiction, were joined by Federal Department of Education representatives in Canberra.

National Catholic Education executive director Jacinta Collins said it was important for the Catholic sector to work with the Australian Government on key issues.

“It’s critical for us to work with the Department on these complex issues to advocate for the needs of students and their families in Catholic schools, and to support improved outcomes for students with disability,” Jacinta said.

Key topics discussed included the National Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD) followed by the development of a draft document outlining how NCCD funding can best be utilised by schools.

Representatives from the NCCD School Assurance Branch and the Disability Strategy branch of the Department of Education delivered a range of presentations to the group. These included enhancements to the census post enumeration processes (which measues the accuracy of the census data) for 2024; and an update on the implementation of recommendations derived from the 2020 Review of the Disability Standards for Education 2005.

Director of Disability Standards for Education Jacqueline Howden also discussed the collaborative development of new information resources for students and their caregivers in partnership with the disability community. These valuable resources are now accessible on the Department of Education’s website. Further resources, along with new case studies demonstrating effective support for students with disabilities, will be released in 2023 on the NCCD Portal.

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership is also working on instructional videos to provide guidance for school leadership, while the Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training is developing resources to support students with disabilities in the vocational education and training sector.

The network group plans to continue their engagement with the Department to explore the best option for amending the standards to include principles on consultation, issues resolution, and complaints handling processes, as well as incorporating the early childhood education and care sector into the standards.

Link to the resources and NCCD portal

National Catholic Education Commission’s Students with Disability network group