The Education Act Amendment Act 1952 (030 of 1952 (1 Eliz. II No. 30)) extended the provisions for the commitment of children with a disability to an institution. The Act now applied to children who were 'blind, deaf, mute, cerebrally palsied or mentally defective.'
Prior to the Education Act Amendment Act 1952, parents whose child had a disability that might impact on their education had to notifiy the Minister for Eductation when the child was six years old. The 1952 amendments made it compulsory for parents to notify the Minister in writing of 'the name and whereabouts' as follows: for a child who was deaf or mute, at 3 years old; for a child who was blind, 'cerebally palsied or mentally deficient', at 4 years of age.
Speaking about the Act before it had become law, the Minister for Education, AF Watts said that 'considerable changes had been made in our outlook' towards children with disabilities since 1928 when the Education Act came into being. The amendments were meant to enable 'plans to be made, where practicable, for the accommodation of the children and their individual education' (Hansard 16 September 1952 p.907, Education Act Amendment Bill: second reading debate).
Responding to amendments suggested by the Hon NE Baxter, the Minister for Agriculture, who was in charge of the Bill in the Legislative Council, gave further insight into the Bill's intention about reporting children with disabilities to the education authorities:
The intention of the department is that immediately It is acquainted of the fact that there are any of these children in the vicinity, and the parents are not able to provide the necessary education, the department will take the matter in hand.
Hansard 4 November 1952 p.1793, Education Act Amendment Bill: in Committee
By 1992, these provisions had been amended but the Minister continued to retain the power to direct parents as to the most suitable educational environment for their child.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Bill - Education Act Amendment Second Reading [Hansard p906-910]', in Hansard Archive 1870 to 1995, Parliament of Western Australia, 16 September 1952, https://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/Hansard/hansard1870to1995.nsf/83cc4ce93b5d4e0b48257b33001cfef6/B4F9E6B59AE5315148257A4F000715FD/$File/19520916_Assembly.pdf; 'Bill - Education Act Amendment Second Reading and In Committee [Hansard p1792-1795]', in Hansard Archive 1870 to 1995, Parliament of Western Australia, 4 November 1952, https://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/Hansard/hansard1870to1995.nsf/83cc4ce93b5d4e0b48257b33001cfef6/4402AF90047D682748257A4F00071EC3/$File/19521104_Council.pdf.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 26 April 2013, Last modified: 15 June 2018