Last reviewed July 2021

Students with a disability

The Department of Education and Training has a dedicated section for parents of children with a disability.

A school principal is responsible for ensuring that all students are provided with the appropriate educational adjustments to enable them to access the curriculum. However, each school is different, and it is important to discuss the child’s needs before enrolling the child at a school.

Students meeting criteria for one of six following Education Adjustment Program Disability Categories may be eligible for targeted support:

  • autism spectrum disorder
  • hearing impairment
  • intellectual impairment
  • physical impairment
  • speech language impairment
  • vision impairment.

Special schools provide education only to students with disability, and there are specific procedures before a child can be enrolled at such a school. A student with intellectual impairment or with multiple impairments may be eligible to attend a special school.

Schools are subject to anti-discrimination legislation.

Mature-age students

There are a range of options for adults who want to study years 11 and 12 including TAFE and distance education. People who are 18 years or older can only enrol in a school prescribed as a ‘mature-age school’ (there are currently 10 such schools in Queensland), but this is subject to conditions and checks such as a criminal history check and previous schooling history.

Students without parental support

Some students find themselves in the situation where their parents, for some reason, may not be willing or able to provide relevant permissions, or lodge forms or applications for their child. Where students are old enough, they may be regarded as being independent, and the school may dispense with parental involvement.

Sometimes this is formally acknowledged in legislation for example, a principal may deal with an application for enrolment at the school made by the child if the principal reasonably believes it is in the child’s best interests for the child to make the application.

On other occasions, it will be a question of negotiating with the school. The school counsellor or guidance officer, or another adult the student trusts, such as a youth worker in an organisation supporting the student generally, may be able to assist in advocating with and for the student. Any documentation that would support the student’s argument that they are independent, for example evidence of Centrelink payments for Youth Allowance, could be provided to the school.

The student can seek legal information and advice by contacting a specialist youth legal service such as the Youth Advocacy Centre Inc., YFS Legal and South West Brisbane Community Legal Service.