Colin Biggers & Paisley is pleased to profile our pro bono partnership with the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law.
The Colin Biggers & Paisley Foundation has a strategic focus on protecting and promoting the rights of children – particularly, access to education. Our partnership with the Castan Centre has enabled our practice to support research to inform the Centre’s ground breaking report Improving Educational Outcomes for Children with Disability in Victoria (June 2018).
At the launch of the report last week, hosted at Colin Biggers & Paisley’s Melbourne office, it was revealed that Victorian children with disability continue to experience discrimination, exclusion and disadvantage in mainstream government schools.
Sarah Joseph, Director of the Castan Centre, said that while the Victorian Government has taken positive steps in recent years to improve educational outcomes for students with disability, shortcomings persist, potentially breaching children’s rights under Victorian and Commonwealth human rights and anti-discrimination laws.
“Children with disability have the right to access a quality education on the same basis as their peers without disability,” Professor Joseph said.
“The Victorian government – and government schools – are legally responsible for realising these rights, but our research shows that too often the system is letting children and their families down.”
The report is based on almost 100 interviews with parents, former students, school staff and others, as well as a detailed review of relevant laws and policies.
It also includes more than 30 recommendations designed to improve the educational experience for children with disabilities, which the Castan Centre hopes the government will agree to implement.
Amanda Cefai, Special Counsel Colin Biggers & Paisley assisted the Castan Centre with their report,
“It was a honour to be able to offer pro bono assistance to the Castan Centre in the great work they have undertaken in launching their report, which highlights the significant and unfortunate issues all too often faced by students with a disability in the education system. We had lawyers from three States; Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland working together on this report – a great team effort.” Amanda said.
Karen Iles, Director Pro Bono & Responsible Business Colin Biggers & Paisley said “Protecting and promoting children’s rights to education is something that many would think is not necessary to do in Australia. But as this important research from the Castan Centre shows, there are real issues regarding the rights of children with disabilities accessing the education system in Victoria. It is our hope that the recommendations in this report are addressed by decision makers.”
For more information please contact Linda Branton on 02 8281 4594 or firstname.lastname@example.org.