Towards inclusive schools: The impact of the DDA and DSE on inclusion participation and exclusion in Australia
Access to and participation in a quality education is seen as a basic human right for all children, including those with disabilities and is mandated by Commonwealth legislation in Australia. Internationally there is strong support for education being provided in regular classrooms in regular schools for students with diverse learning needs. This chapter aims to provide insights into the implementation of the two most significant pieces of legislation the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) (DDA) and the related Disability Standards for Education (2005) (DSE) in Australia. Firstly, it will outline the state of Inclusive Education in Australia. Then it will focus on the areas of access and participation in education settings. The discussion of this chapter reveals that despite operating under the same national legislative acts, school systems are enacting Inclusive education in different ways leading to inconsistent levels of access (enrolment) and participation (inclusion). The chapter will also highlight how governmental and particularly non-governmental systems of education are using legal and other means to deny students with disabilities these mandated rights. The chapter will conclude by discussing the need for a new approach to the DDA and the DSE to allow the goals of the legislation and the Inclusion philosophy to be realised.