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education.vic.gov.au

Students with Disability

Policy last updated

16 July 2021

Scope

  • Schools

Contact

Inclusive Education Division School Education Programs and Support Group (SEPS)


Date:
February 2020

Policy

Policy

This policy sets out requirements to support the inclusion of students with disability and additional needs in government schools.

Summary

  • The Department is committed to embedding inclusive education in all school environments for students with disability and additional needs.
  • Schools must meet their legal obligations under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic), the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) and also the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (Cth) to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate students with disability. These obligations apply to all students with disability, not just those who are eligible for support under targeted funding programs.
  • Further information and resources, including comprehensive guidance for all school community members on the main features of inclusive education, is available under the Resources tab.

Details

The Department is committed to embedding inclusive education in all school environments for students with disability and additional needs. All Victorians, irrespective of the school they attend, where they live or their social or economic status, should have access to high quality education.

An inclusive education system enables all students to be welcomed, accepted and engaged so that they can participate, achieve and thrive in school life. Inclusive education: 

  • ensures that students with disability are not discriminated against and are accommodated to participate in education on the same basis as their peers
  • acknowledges and responds to the diverse needs, identities and strengths of all students
  • occurs when students with disability and additional needs are treated with respect and are involved in making decisions about their education
  • benefits students of all abilities in the classroom and fosters positive cultural change in attitudes and beliefs about disability, in and beyond the school environment
  • contributes to positive learning, engagement and wellbeing outcomes for students

Legal obligations

All schools, as education providers, must comply with the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic), the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) and also the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (Cth) (the Standards).

The Standards cover enrolment, participation, curriculum development, student support services and the elimination of harassment and victimisation, and provides guidance for schools on:

  • the rights of students with disability
  • the legal obligations on education providers
  • some of the measures that would demonstrate compliance

The Standards apply to all students with disability, not just those who are eligible for support under targeted funding programs. Additional resources provided to schools do not define or limit the support provided for student disabilities.

Reasonable adjustments

Under both State and Commonwealth laws schools must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to accommodate students with disability. An adjustment is a measure or action taken to assist students to participate in education and training on the same basis as their peers without a disability.

When planning an adjustment for a student, the school should consult with the parent or carer(s) and the student, through the Student Support Group process. This process should apply to all students with disability or additional needs, not just those who are eligible for support under targeted funding programs.

For further information on making reasonable adjustments, refer to the Department's guidance: Making reasonable adjustments.

For comprehensive information and resources relating to students with disability and additional needs refer to: Support Students with Additional Learning Needs.

For an Easy English version of the policy, refer to:

Relevant legislation

Contact

Inclusive Education Division School Education Programs and Support Group (SEPS)


Guidance

Guidance — Victorian SHARE Principles for Inclusive Education

The following principles provide guidance for all members of the school community on the main features of inclusive education.

S: Student-centred

Inclusive education involves students, in collaboration with their peers and/or carers, in decision-making processes as respected partners in education.

H: Human rights focused

Inclusive education is supported by and is the realisation of a human rights based approach to education. International human rights principles and Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 provide a framework for every Victorian to be treated with dignity and respect and to enjoy their human rights without discrimination.

A: Acknowledges strengths

Inclusive education recognises that each child and young person is unique. It focuses on a strengths-based, personalised approach to education that celebrates and welcomes difference to maximize learning, engagement and wellbeing outcomes.

R: Respects legal obligations

Inclusive education enables schools to uphold legal obligations to make reasonable adjustments for all students with disability. Reasonable adjustments assist all students to participate in education on the same basis as their peers without a disability.

E: Evidence-based

Inclusive education uses contemporary evidence-based practices known to be effective in responding to individual student needs and improving student outcomes.


Resources

Resources

Quick guides to supporting students with disability

School staff will be working with families and ensuring educational, wellbeing and engagement supports are in place. This is a focus for Term 3 and 4 so that students are connected with learning and engaged in a positive transition into 2022.  

Quick guides are available to share key information, guidance and resources for supporting students with disability. This includes a guide that can be shared with parents and carers.

To access these guides, refer to:

Supporting Students with Additional Learning Needs 

The Department's resource Supporting Students with Additional Leaning Needs provides comprehensive information for schools, including further guidance, teaching materials and programs available to support students with additional learning needs. It also contains specific information on Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD).

Inclusive Education for Students with Disabilities Program

For further information on the Inclusive education for students with Disabilities program, refer to Inclusive education for students with disabilities

For an Easy English version of the Inclusive Education Policy, refer to:

Transition support for students with disability

The provision of quality educational, wellbeing and engagement supports is essential for students with disability to successfully achieve a confident and cohesive transition. Key transition points include Kindergarten to Grade Prep, Grade 6 to Year 7, and final year students transitioning to post-secondary options.

For further information refer to:

Supported Inclusion Schools Operational Manual

Supported Inclusion Schools Operational Manual – A Supported Inclusion School is a mainstream school with additional professional capabilities and facilities designed to cater to a higher proportion of students with significant disability. Students with disability are provided enhanced support to receive high quality, evidence-based educational provision alongside mainstream students in a safe, accessible and supportive environment. The manual supports school principals and the Department’s regional and central staff to implement the Supported Inclusion Schools model.

School Update articles relevant to this topic (staff login required)


Reviewed 21 May 2020