Sam Brain

"Why we need a better institutional framework for students with disability in Australia"

Sam Brain leads Deloitte Access Economics’ work in inclusive education and is a national expert in inclusive education policy. His work has focused predominantly on inclusion in a schooling context, while extending at times to cover early learning and the training sector.

He specialises in supporting governments to set goals to progressively realise inclusive education and develop structures to achieve them. Sam’s work has led to improvements in system design, service delivery and financing at the federal level and in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT.

With over a decade’s experience in public policy design and evaluation, he applies a range of economic and public policy frameworks to education issues. He draws on an extensive professional network of experts in disability, inclusive education and teaching practice.

As part of his participation in the Inclusion and Disability conference, Sam is hoping to share his insights into the adequacy of the current national framework for students with disability and learn from school leaders the challenges they face and opportunities they see to adopt inclusive education for all students..

Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM

Lived experience

Dinesh was the first quadriplegic medical intern in Queensland and the second person to graduate medical school with quadriplegia in Australia. Dinesh is a doctor, lawyer, disability advocate, and researcher.

Halfway through medical school, he was involved in a motor vehicle accident that caused a cervical spinal cord injury. Dinesh has completed an Advanced Clerkship in Radiology at the Harvard University.

As a result of his injury and experiences, Dinesh has been an advocate for inclusivity. He is a founding member of Doctors with Disabilities Australia.

Dinesh works in the emergency department at the Gold Coast University Hospital. He is a senior lecturer at the Griffith University and adjunct research fellow at the Menzies Health Institute of Queensland. Dinesh is a researcher in spinal cord injury. He is a doctor for the Gold Coast Titans physical disability rugby team. Dinesh is a senior advisor to the Disability Royal Commission. He is an ambassador to the Human Rights Commission’s Includeability program. He was a 2021 International Day of People with Disability ambassador.

Dinesh was the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service’s Junior Doctor of the Year in 2018. He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2019. He was the third Australian to be awarded a Henry Viscardi Achievement Award. He was the 2021 Griffith University Young Alumnus of the Year. Dinesh was the Queensland Australian of the Year for 2021.

Dr Kate de Bruin

"Multi-tiered Systems of Support"

Dr Kate de Bruin is a Senior Lecturer in inclusion and disability in the Faculty of Education at Monash University. She has taught in secondary school and higher education over two decades. In her academic teaching she has played a central role in developing and delivering the Inclusive Education courses for pre-service and experienced teachers. Her research examines system, school and classroom level practices that are supported by evidence, and that promote quality and equity for all students with a particular focus on students with disability. Her current projects explore teaching and learning interventions that fit within multi-tiered systems of support with a particular focus on the teaching of reading through a Response-to-Intervention framework. She has worked with Commonwealth and State Education Departments on research projects such as the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data for Students with Disabilities: A Moderation Resource, and the Evaluation of Disability Inclusion. She also appeared as an expert witness at the Royal Commission in Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

Dr Toshiko Kamei

"How assessment reform is being led by principles of inclusion"

Toshiko is a research fellow at the Assessment Research Centre. Her work has focused on projects to investigate the assessment and recognition of complex competencies in school-age students and adults. For instance, she has led projects that aims to develop resources to assess foundational skills in students with disability. Prior to her time at the Centre, she taught in primary, secondary and specialist settings in Canada, England, Japan, and Australia.

Toshiko’s research interests include assessment of complex competencies, measurement theory, and raising the capacity of teachers to educate all students.

Professor Sandra Milligan

"How assessment reform is being led by principles of inclusion"

Enterprise Professor Sandra Milligan is Director of the Assessment Research Centre at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne. Sandra has an unusually wide engagement with the education industry and in educational research. Originally a teacher of science and mathematics, she is also a former Director of Curriculum in an Australian state education department and has held senior research, management and governance positions in a range of educational organisations, including government agencies, not-for-profits, small start-up businesses and large, listed, international corporations. Sandra’s current research interests focus on assessment, recognition and warranting of hard-to-assess learning. She directs several research partnerships with school networks and organisations working to develop Learner Profiles for their students,. She is lead author of ‘Future Proofing Australian Students with New Credentials’ report, outlining methods to reliably assess and recognise the level of attainment of general capabilities, and of Recognition of Learning Success for All: Ensuring Trust and Utility in a New approach to Recognition of Learning in Senior Secondary Education in Australia.