Australian Greens' Senators additional comments

Australian Greens' Senators additional comments

1.1The Greens appreciate and acknowledge the personal testimonies heard throughout the inquiry. It was our intention that setting up this first-of-its-kind inquiry would help inform society about this important social issue and contribute to removing the stigma that weighs on students and families experiencing school refusal. These comments briefly outline opportunities to ensure that the measures outlined in the committee recommendations can effectively meet the challenges of school refusal.

Recommendation 15

1.2Students, and parents as their advocates, are best placed to speak to and guide their own experiences. For this reason, a national school refusal strategy should be guided by and responsive to, the lived experiences of kids going through school refusal.

Recommendation 16

1.3It is clear that for many students going through school refusal, the persistent inflexibility of the education system is highly problematic. To enable these students to achieve the best possible education outcomes, education systems and institutions need to be supported to fully embrace inclusive education principles and be open and willing to adapt for them. The federal government should take leadership in embedding this flexibility into the public school system.

Recommendation 17

1.4In order for schools and teachers to accommodate and meet the needs of students refusing to go to school, funding needs to reflect the challenges of school refusal. School refusal should be made a priority equity cohort in the National School Reform Agreement. This could be done by accounting for absences within the Schooling Resource Standard loadings, with more support offered to teachers and students that require focused support.

Recommendation 18

1.5Given the exclusion of education from the National Disability Insurance Scheme, state governments cannot vacate the field for neurodivergent students, who are disproportionately affected by school refusal. State governments should review the policy support they provide neurodivergent children to receive a quality and inclusive education and ensure it is funded adequately given the absence of National Disability Insurance Scheme support.

Recommendation 19

1.6In light of the immediate need for support for the thousands of students, parents, and carers experiencing school refusal, the already existing but entirely voluntary advocacy group, School Can't Australia, should be provided funding as a priority until Recommendation 13 of the committee's report is implemented.

1.7We extend our deep gratitude to all the people and organisations who shared their stories and experiences with the committee as part of this inquiry.

Senator Penny Allman-Payne

Greens Senator for Queensland