NSW govt accused of student discrimination

A Sydney student with a disability has accused the NSW government of discrimination after his enrolment into a selective virtual college was denied.

The Federal Court lawsuit, filed by the boy's mother on December 28, seeks orders that the NSW Department of Education approve the student's enrolment at Aurora College from Year 8 onwards.

"Access to education and the curriculum has been unfairly restricted based on disability, which will have a significant negative impact on future life outcomes," the mother wrote in documents filed with the court.

"The applicant successfully earned a place in the selective school system in 2021 and started Year 7 in 2022. However, no reasonable adjustments for disability were put in place, which has effectively removed access to education for the whole school year in 2022."

Aurora College is a virtual school open for rural and remote students in NSW. It runs additional gifted and talented programs on top of regular studies.

The mother claims that allowing her son, based on disability, to study at Aurora would benefit him as well as the community.

"Not only would this restore access to education, this is also aligned with the Department of Education's goals to attract more students with disability into the selective schools' program, because as a cohort, students with disability are under-represented," she wrote.

The case has also been filed against NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell, the department's chief education officer and education lead for high performing students Dr Rosalind Walsh, and leader of support and development Neale Waddy.

A department spokesperson declined to comment about the case as it is before the courts.