While 90% of school-age children with disability go to school, and many people with disability are undertaking further study, some face challenges engaging in education. This is reflected in the overall lower levels of educational attainment for people with disability.
- 1 in 10 school students have disability
- 1 in 11 (9%) school students with disability do not receive support but need it.
- 1 in 4 (23%) school students with disability need more support than they currently receive.
Type of school
- 86% students with disability go to a mainstream school and 14% go to a segregated special school’.
- 67% attend regular classes in a mainstream school only
- 19% attend special classes within a mainstream school
- School students with severe or profound disability are less likely than other students with disability to go to a mainstream school and far more likely to go to a segregated special school:
- 53% attend regular classes in a mainstream school only, compared with 80% with other disability
- 23% attend special classes within a mainstream school, compared with 16% with other disability
- 26% attend a segregated special school, compared with 3.6% with other disability.
People with disability are more likely than people without disability to leave school early and to have a lower level of education.
- 32% of people with disability aged 20 and over have completed year 12, compared with 62% without disability
- 25% of people aged 20 and over with severe or profound disability have completed Year 12
- 19% of people aged 15–64 who acquired disability before age 15 left school before age 16 (11% without disability).
- 15% of people aged 20 and over with disability have a bachelor degree or higher, compared to 31% without disability.
Some people with disability experience difficulties at their school or educational institution, such as learning, fitting in socially and communicating. Of those who have difficulty, the most common experienced are:
- learning difficulties (69%)
- fitting in socially (49%)
- communication difficulties (43%)
- intellectual difficulties (23%)
Students with disability who experience difficulty in education may need additional support to help them participate. Not all who need support receive it. Most school students with disability receive support at school (60%). However, 42% do not receive or need support
Of those who receive support:
- 2 in 3 (63%) have special tuition
- 2 in 5 (39%) have a counsellor or disability support person
- 1 in 3 (35%) have special assessment procedures
School students with disability attending a special class in a mainstream school are the most likely to need more support than they receive (42%). But almost half (47%) receive support and do not need more.
School students with disability attending a segregated special school are the most likely to receive support and not need more (51%). But almost 1 in 3 (33%) need more support than they receive.
View the full report “People with disability in Australia” by AIHW https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/disability/people-with-disability-in-australia/summary
Sources: Except where stated otherwise, data is taken from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2016 via the AIHW Report 2019: Australians with Disability.  VicDeaf.  Price Waterhouse Coopers, 2011 ‘Disability expectations – investing in a better life, a strong Australia.’  https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aur.2016.  Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)