“I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something about that. Then I realised I was somebody.” ~ Lily Tomlin
School Inclusion – From Theory to Practice
School Inclusion – From Theory to Practice is a platform founded and created by Loren Swancutt to share and unpack school-level design, leadership and instructional practices that support the realisation of inclusive education in Australian schools and school systems.
As a passionate, inclusive educator and the substantive Head of Inclusive Schooling at a State High School in Queensland, Loren facilitates the behind-the-scenes insight into authentic inclusive classrooms and broader school experiences.
Loren has a Bachelor of Education (Primary and Special Education) and a Master of Inclusive Education. She has been teaching for over 10 years and has been a substantive Head of Inclusive Schooling at a complex and challenging high school since 2014. Loren has previously fulfilled roles as a Deputy Principal, and as a Coach across an education region. Her coaching role saw her supporting Principals, school leadership teams and teachers to advance inclusive education practices in local school contexts. Her teaching experience includes classroom teacher and support teacher roles across both primary and secondary. In 2020, Loren commenced her professional Doctorate of Education at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), and is a student member of the Centre for Inclusive Education.
Loren has used her professional experience as an accomplished classroom educator in combination with her exceptional leadership skills to successfully transform whole-school systemic practices. This has resulted in the development and sustained implementation of an inclusive schooling model at a regular government High School in her local area. In particular, Loren is passionate about the inclusion of students with complex learning profiles, accessible curriculum design, and transforming research into sustainable practice.
Despite decades of unequivocal research supporting inclusive schooling and its superior outcomes for students with disability, the realisation of inclusive schooling from theory to practice is still limited within the Australian context.
Inclusive schooling requires a commitment to transforming traditional practices and mindsets, skilled and highly responsive pedagogical approaches, and strong leadership that is underpinned by solid professional knowledge and understanding. The demands of which can be overwhelming, with schools often experiencing a disconnect between accessing and interpreting strong theoretical frameworks and references, and transforming them into successful reform and practice. Therefore School Inclusion – From Theory to Practice is focused on bridging the the knowing/doing gap, and building capability and confidence across schools and systems.
Loren’s work is guided by a human rights framework including the principles embodied in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the most authoritative expression of the human rights of people with disability, including the right to inclusive education under Article 24 which was defined and clarified in August 2016 in General Comment No. 4 (Right to Inclusive Education).