University of Newcastle academic to speak at NSW Upper House inquiry into students with disability or special needs

Dr David Roy. Picture: Max Mason-HubersUNIVERSITY of Newcastle academic David Roy is hoping theNSW Upper House inquiry into students with disability or special needs in schools will be remembered as a“watershed moment” for the sector.


School of Education lecturer and advocate Mr Roy will be the first parent of a child with disabilities to speak at the inquiry’s first public hearing, atParliament Houseon March 27.

“It’s important the first people to be heard at the hearingare representatives from the Department of Education, the biggest providers of education for children with disabilities,” Dr Roy said.

“It’s very reassuring the next group parliamentarians will be hearing from directly is parents willing to speak up with real concerns.

“I hope it will be a watershed moment and children’s voices are heard. What I’m hearing from Canberra is this could act as a potential push for a Royal Commission into the education of children with a disability.”

Dr Roy said he was pleased at the number of submissions –260 – but concerned at the “disturbing number”of parents who asked for their names to be suppressed.

“Some of the Legislative Committee members have been readingunredacted submissions and are horrified,” he said. “Staff members are getting psychological support because they’re reading horrific stuff.”

He said schools needed cameras in classrooms to protect both teachers and students, independent bodies to investigate complaints,more training for teachers, greater consultation with families aboutneeds and more inclusion for students with disabilities. “Funding is important but Gonski will not solve this, weneed to change attitudes.”