The submission process and questionnaire for the 2020 Review of the Disability Standards for Education 2005 has now closed.

Frequently asked questions

About the consultation process

  • There are a number of ways you can be involved in the Review. You can:

    You can also express your interest in participating in:

    • A virtual focus group
    • An online discussion board
    • A one-on-one interview
  • Consultations will open at 8:00am AEST on Thursday, 16 July and close at 11:59pm AEST on Friday, 25 September 2020.

  • A focus group gathers a small group of people to talk about their experiences and views of particular topics.

    Focus groups often involve people with shared experiences or interest. The focus groups for this Review will involve people with experience of disability and education and training.

    The focus groups will take place online using a video platform.

  • Online discussion boards enable participants to share their experiences and ideas in a small, safe environment. The discussion boards allow participants to interact with each other over a period of several days, when convenient for participants.

    Online discussion boards are moderated by a facilitator, who guides the discussion and prompts participants with further questions.

  • A webinar is an online video event where participants are able to take part in a virtual presentation and discussion.

    Our webinars will take place using a video conference webcast facility.

    These webinars will be interactive, which means participants will be asked to answer questions about their experiences and what is important to them about the Standards. If you wish to answer questions during the webinar, you will be able to use a computer or another device, such as a smartphone or a tablet.

    Webinars will be fully accessible and will include Auslan translation and captioning.

  • You can register for a webinar. Further details will be provided to you prior to the webinar so you can join on the scheduled day.
  • Some targeted face-to-face consultations have been planned, to make sure that we hear from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability and their communities, and from young people with disability. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of consultation activity will be held online.
  • Making all of our events accessible is important to us, and we have taken steps to do so. This includes:

    • Auslan translation
    • Captioning
    • Making sure materials can be provided in a range of ways, such as Easy Read, and before events begin to give you time to prepare.

    We are providing a range of options for people to engage, including targeted sessions for particular audience groups, which will be recruited through the Expression of Interest process and disability organisations who we partner with to deliver targeted and appropriate engagement activity.

    If you have concerns about accessibility or think we have missed something that will help you or someone else get involved, please contact us at

  • You are welcome to bring a support person or family member to an event. If you are invited to take part in a focus group or interview, we recommend that you let us know beforehand that you will have someone assisting or supporting you.
  • When you register for a webinar, you will receive an email with details about how to join and the links to relevant documents. You will also receive a reminder email shortly before the event.

    If you express interest in participating in a focus group, discussion board or interview, you will receive an email to let you know whether you are being asked to participate. If you are, you will be given details about how to take part and what you will need to do. Information and questions that will be covered in the discussions will be sent to you prior before the focus group to help you prepare.

    You will also be notified by email if you are not selected to participate in one of your preferred activities.

  • To join an online event, you will generally need a high-speed internet connection on your computer, tablet or smartphone.

    For events that take place over a Zoom video conference, you will have the option to join by video or phone (focus groups only). If you join by phone, you won’t need high speed internet.

    If you join by video, you will need to make sure your computer or device has a camera and microphone (most computers, tablets and phones have these built in). You will be able to join the video conference on your internet browser, but you may be directed to download a ‘plug-in’ to make this work on your computer. If you are using a smartphone or tablet, you can download the Zoom app. Please be aware that video conferences can use a lot of data, so it’s best to use a wifi connection if you can.

    During webinars, participants will also be asked to connect to an online tool called Mentimeter, using your internet browser or a smartphone or tablet app. This is what you will use to answer questions. You should make sure that you will be able to access this while you are participating in the webinar.

  • If you are not able to take part in an event, but still want to have your say, we encourage you to complete our short online questionnaire and/or make a submission. The discussion paper lets you know the type of information we are looking for and gives you some questions you can answer in your submission. You are welcome to nominate to participate in multiple events as well as complete the questionnaire and make a submission.
  • Your privacy is important. The Department of Education, Skills and Employment and their employees and contractors comply with the Privacy Act, Australian Privacy Principles and the DESE Privacy Policy. You can enforce those rights.

    Your information will only be used for research purposes. We will only report the information in a form that will not personally identify you. We will not disclose any personally identifiable information we collect from you unless we have your express prior consent or are required to do so by law.

    When you register for an event, we collect some information from you including your name and email address. Some demographic information may also be collected if you participate in an event such as age group, location, occupation, education, cultural background or gender, and your accessibility requirements. Demographic information is collected to ensure that we gather opinions from plenty of different people, and that different groups are represented. When providing information, you can choose not to share your name or personal details. However, for most ways to be involved we will need contact information.

    We will have different opportunities for parents and students with disability to participate separately to schools and teachers, so they can feel comfortable speaking openly about specific issues (for example focus groups, discussion boards). Teachers and educators will also be able to share their experiences confidentially. Information collected will not include specific schools or settings unless the participant is representing the organisation.

    You can read more in our Privacy Statement.

  • Information from the consultations will go into a report about the views and ideas of current, former and prospective students with disability, their families and carers, educators, advocates and others who have their say during the Review.

    Your specific comments will not be attributed to you and you won’t be identified in the report unless you give your explicit permission.

    The Department of Education, Skills and Employment will use this information to advise governments if the Standards have been doing what they are supposed to and to recommend any changes that need to be made.

About the 2020 Review

  • The review of the Disability Standards for Education 2005 is designed to make sure that the Standards are doing what they need to. To do this, the Review will consider:

    1. Are the rights, obligations and measures of compliance set out in the Standards (and its Guidance Notes) clear and appropriate? (This means that the way people must be treated and what everyone is expected to do according to the Standards is fair and makes sense to everyone.)
    2. Do students, families and carers, educators, education providers and policy makers know about, understand, apply and comply with the rights, obligations and measures of compliance in the Standards? (This means that students and their families, schools, teachers and other staff, and the people who make decisions about education in Australia know what is expected of them by the Standards and are doing what is expected of them, and know how they must be treated according to the Standards and what to do if they are not treated properly.)
    3. In the 15 years since the Standards were developed, have the Standards contributed towards students with disability being able to access education and training opportunities on the same basis as students without disabilities? (This means that the Standards make sure that students with disability do not miss out on anything in that students without disability get to have.)

    Consultation for the Review will include a focus on the impact of the Standards on the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students with disability.

    In formulating recommendations, the Review will focus on opportunities for national collaborative action between jurisdictions and agencies, including action to strengthen the knowledge and capabilities of teachers and educators, and whether any amendments to the Standards should be made.

  • The legislation requires that the Standards be reviewed every five years .

  • Reviews in 2010 and 2015 said that the Standards are helping people with disability take part in education and training, but also said there were ways they could be improved. They said:

    • More could be done to make sure that people are aware of the Standards and are able to understand and use them.
    • The meaning of some of the terms in the Standards might be unclear. Educators need more support and guidance on the best way to apply the Standards.
    • The processes to make complaints under the Standards are not accessible enough. They can take a lot of time and can be hard for students and their families and carers.
    • People making official complaints should not be the only way to make sure that the Standards are being followed. It would be better if there were more ways to make sure of this before it reaches a point where someone needs to make a complaint.

    The Review will look at whether these things still need to improve, and whether issues with the Standards have changed.

  • This consultation process is separate to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (Disability Royal Commission). The Disability Royal Commission is looking at the experiences of people with disability in all aspects of their life, with education forming one part of their enquiries.

    In late 2019, the Royal Commission asked for submissions and held public hearings to explore the barriers that students with disability face in obtaining a quality education. This is separate to the review of the Disability Standards for Education 2005.

  • Children with disability in early childhood education and care

  • If you are a parent or educator and you want to have your say about issues affecting the early childhood education and care sector, you should read the specific discussion paper on Children with disability in early childhood education and care .

    If you are a student, parent or educator interested in having your say about preschool, schooling, vocational education and training, or higher education, you should read the general discussion paper for the Review.

  • If you are a parent or educator and you want to have your say about issues affecting the early childhood education and care sector, you can respond to the specific questionnaire on Children with disability in early childhood education and care .

    If you are a student, parent or educator interested in having your say about preschool, schooling, vocational education and training, or higher education, you can respond to the general questionnaire for the Review.

    You are welcome to respond to both.