Online schools will create more disparity
IHC is calling for the Government to guarantee rights for children to attend their local school over online schools.
IHC backs up the Chief Ombudsman’s concerns that safeguards need to be built in to the Education Update Bill currently being heard by the Government.
“The Bill is as at odds with the Government’s Tomorrow’s Schools policy, the Education Act and recent United Nations recommendations on children’s rights to education. It takes away the direct relationship between schools and communities by treating students instead as consumers, and creates more segregated settings for children,” says IHC Director of Advocacy, Trish Grant.
“Intellectually disabled children are already overrepresented in alternative education settings and face barriers to achievement. This could be compounded if they are tacitly or overtly funneled towards online schools. For students already at risk of disengagement, the absence of physical guidance could mean the end of their formal education,” she says.
IHC is calling for children and young people to have more active participation in their education and says legislative changes regarding online schools should not occur until there has been effective consultation, and a robust policy and research framework created.