Sarah Hanson joins the Disability Strategy team as director in September. Her new role is just the next step in a long career supporting people with disability and mental health issues.
We asked her a few questions about her experience, what’s exciting her about the role, and the team’s plans for the future.
What has your background been working with people with disability?
I have worked with people with disability my entire professional career starting as a forensic psychologist, and going on to work in many areas of government including Justice, Health, Ageing, Disability and Home Care, and Department of Premier and Cabinet before coming to education in 2019. Particular areas of focus were in leading systemic reforms to improve outcomes for people with disability and people living with mental illness including reforms to the Forensic Mental Health system, the NSW Mental Health Strategy, the Quality and Safeguards Framework under the NDIS, and the establishment of the NSW Ageing and Disability Commission.
What do you love about working in the education space?
I think my answer will be the same as most people, it’s that every day you get to make a difference for kids. It’s an incredible privilege to work for the children and families of NSW and work with our colleagues in schools to ensure all children receive high-quality education.
Why do you think it’s so important that we create a more inclusive system for students with disability?
Every child has the same right to an education and to realise their full potential. This means that we need to address the systemic, practical, physical, and social barriers that we know still limit this for children with disability.
What do you think has been the most significant achievement of the disability strategy to date?
The collaborative effort across the department to achieve not only the specific actions, but to live up to the vision of the strategy. Reading the progress report, the dedication of so many individuals and areas of the department to the implementation of the strategy is clear
What are you most excited about delivering with the team in 2021?
The next phase of the Inclusive Education work is really exciting and such a foundational piece of work to meet the broader aims of the Disability Strategy.