Changes to parents’ and students’ rights in review

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Parents and students will have the right to appeal short-term suspensions under a raft of changes introduced by the Queensland Government.

A review of State legislation has led to changes to the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 which aims to improve the suspension and disciplinary process, including creating supports to First Nations, disabled and prep students and their families, as well as providing all parents and students with appeal rights for short-term suspensions.

With the almost tripling of students being home schooled since COVID, the legislation will also require home education to be provided in a way that is in the best interests of the child, taking into account their safety and wellbeing. Including the requirement to follow the Australian Curriculum.

It also aims to cut red tape by streamlining the laws for state delivered kindy, protect students by the timely sharing of child safety information between schools, remove gender specific language and ensuring state special school enrolments are transferable, without the need for reassessment.

Other reforms include reducing the regulatory burden on Parents and Citizens (P&Cs) Associations with improved processes for multiple campus schools and managing donations between P&C Associations; improved access to eKindy and clarifying requirements for home educational programs and streamlining registration processes for home education.

The Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association president Wendy Henning welcomed the proposed changes to improve access to and participation in eKindy.

“With amendments to the distance and medical eligibility criteria, more Queensland children and families will be able to access the approved kindergarten distance education program for free,” she said.

“eKindy is an important kindergarten option for children living in rural and remote areas, travelling or medically unable to attend a free kindergarten program at a centre-based early childhood service.”

Queensland Association of Special Education Leaders President Andrew Thompson said members would appreciate the streamlining of processes for students transferring between Queensland state special schools.

“Not requiring students’ disabilities to be re-assessed when moving between state special schools will provide certainty for parents and remove what can be a burdensome requirement for families,” he said.