School operations

Disability Inclusion Funding and Support

Planning for expenditure

The following section provides illustrative examples that schools may consider pursuing, based on department resources and evidence-based practices.

Principles for inclusive practice and what this looks like in the school

Available evidence on inclusive practices can be synthesised into 4 key principles. Schools should consider how they can adopt these principles in their setting, and use resources strategically to implement a mix of tailored and school-wide supports that promote inclusive practices and benefit all students in the school.

Principle 1 – Focus on inclusive practice at whole-of-school and in-class level

Whole-of-school practices include adjustments to:

  • culture, policies and practices
  • development of support structures
  • provision of, and access to, equitable learning opportunities.

At an in-class level, research suggests good inclusive practice includes:

  • differentiating curriculum or introducing alternative curricula
  • application of universal design
  • use of information technologies
  • individual planning through individual education plans (IEP)
  • focus on quality teaching for all students.

Principle 2 – Value specialist expertise

Effective inclusive practice relies on teachers, specialists, allied health and support staff with sufficient confidence and capabilities to support students.

Principle 3 – Set a strong inclusive school culture through strong leadership

Both a positive school culture and positive staff attitudes towards inclusion are repeatedly cited in the literature as crucial to ensuring positive outcomes for students with disability.

Principle 4 – Collaborate and engage parents, families and the community

Collaboration between teachers, students, parents, carers, guardians, education and health professionals is essential to consistently meet the needs of students and improve their learning experiences.

Examples of priority initial activities

The following activities provide examples of priority initial actions schools can start with to build capacity and capability and embed a culture of inclusion in their school. Schools are recommended to work through these activities in 2 steps:

  • Step 1 – Focus on priority actions which are applicable to the whole school
  • Step 2 – Focus on priority actions that strengthen support and intervention for students

Step 1 – Examples of priority actions for the whole school

Examples of priority actions
  • Appoint a disability inclusion coordinator/leader (refer to example outline of responsibilities (DOCX)External Link ).
  • Distribute roles and responsibilities to lead inclusive education, considering school leadership and middle leaders.
  • For example:
    • prioritise resources and time to identify and consider the needs of students with disability
    • determine whether other students with additional needs could benefit from an IEP
    • review school processes for student support groups, personalised goal setting and IEPs
    • build staff capacity to understand and implement IEPs
    • embed inclusion and disability expertise in strategic planning and recruitment practices
    • embed evidence-based inclusive education and human rights obligations into school policies and plans.

Options for funding include:

  • increase teaching staff time fraction
  • elevate to leadership role
  • higher duties.
Examples of priority actions
  • Provide specialist disability/inclusion support to the school’s Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), for example, by training PLC Instructional Leaders in relevant inclusive practices.
  • Plan whole school professional learning on priority areas of inclusive practices, for example Universal Design for Learning frameworkExternal Link and Universal Design for Learning webinarExternal Link .
  • Build staff knowledge and understanding of inclusive education and associated legislation and policy.
  • Implement evidence-based professional development – Inclusive Classrooms Professional Learning ProgramExternal Link , including:
    • a human rights approach to diversity and inclusion
    • individual education planning professional learning
    • support for students with:
      • autism
      • speech and language delay/disorder
      • learning difficulties including Dyslexia
      • learning difficulties including dyscalculia
      • hearing loss
      • vision impairment
      • behaviour.

Options for funding include:

  • professional development
  • Casual relief teaching (CRT) coverage, where possible.
Examples of priority actions

Appoint an inclusion learning specialist to build the capability of school staff to meet the educational needs of students with disability through coaching, observation and co-teaching/team teaching.

Options for funding include: learning specialist.

Step 2 – Focus on priority actions that strengthen support and intervention for students

Once schools have considered their whole school approaches, including policies and processes and approach to capability building and professional learning, funding can be used flexibly to focus more intently on strengthening support and interventions for individual students and groups of students. Examples are provided below.

Examples of priority actions
  • Undertake individual education planning using the personalised learning and support process and IEPs.
  • For example:
    • Use data and evidence from a range of sources to identify the types of adjustments required to support students.
    • Engage with the student and their family/carer to identify the student’s aspirations, goals, strengths and needs.
    • Identify options and select adjustments, interventions and other supports that will be provided to address the student’s identified learning needs and build on their strengths.
    • Design age-appropriate learning tasks, resources and learning materials.
    • Implement appropriate teaching strategies to facilitate effective learning.
    • Review supports provided on a regular basis to ensure that the adjustments made are still relevant and required.
  • Examples of specific supports and interventions include:
    • Establish targeted support programs/small group programs, for example to provide extra support with reading and writing skills, or deliver a targeted literacy intervention program.
    • Deliver a small group social skills program to build social skills with peers.

Options for funding include:

  • teaching staff
  • allied health staff (school-based or external)
  • increase time fractions.
Examples of priority actions
  • Consult with professionals with specialist expertise.
  • Implement programs developed by professionals with specialist expertise.
  • Have specialists coach school-based staff on designing interventions and programs themselves, for example:
    • Engage an external speech pathologist to develop a social communication program and training for teachers to deliver the program and monitor progress.
    • Engage an occupational therapist to develop Sensory Profiles, provide advice and training on equipment and technology to support learning for students with autism spectrum disorder, and implement consistent visual supports throughout the school.

Options for funding include: allied health (school-based or external).

Examples of priority actions
  • Develop and implement individualised transition plans, which combine information from the student, their family and staff who know them well. A range of supports (for example, books, videos, websites, visits) are matched as appropriate to the student’s age and ability.
  • Additional/more intensive transition and orientation support, for example, up to 10 weeks:
    • supported or reciprocal visits
    • joint planning between schools
    • input from any professionals involved, and collaboration with families
    • proactive planning for post-school pathways.

Options for funding include:

  • teaching staff
  • education support
  • CRT coverage, where possible.
Examples of priority actions
  • Utilise education support staff strategically in the classroom to enhance teaching and learning, to supplement the instructional role of teachers.
  • Prioritise time for teachers and education support staff to work together, and understand learning progress against IEP goals.
  • Education support tasks may include:
    • implementing supplemental small group and individual instruction
    • engaging in class-wide instructional monitoring of student work
    • collecting data on student performance
    • assisting students who require personal care support
    • facilitating peer interactions between students based on guidance from the teacher.

Options for funding include:

  • education support
  • teaching staff.
Chapter providing illustrative examples that schools may consider pursuing, based on Department resources and evidence-based practices

Reviewed 13 March 2024

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