Providing age-equivalent curriculum in general education environments is an important aspect of inclusive education. For students to be genuinely included, they need to be accessing and participating in the same content and learning experiences alongside their peers.
Research demonstrates that all students (including those with significant cognitive disabilities) benefit from academic curriculum instruction, and can make progress in academic knowledge and skills. In order for this to be achieved, some students may require curriculum adjustments.
It can be challenging for teachers to identify and align curriculum adjustments that alter the complexity of age-equivalent curriculum content, and to deliver such adjustments within regular lessons.
The ‘Inclusive Curriculum Design and Delivery’ page of the School Inclusion website has been updated to provide an example of how curriculum adjustments can be applied within a Year 10 unit of study on trigonometry.
The hearing heard testimonies from many students and families about the barriers experienced when attempting to consult with schools around appropriate and impactful adjustments, school disciplinary measures, and attendance and engagement.
The Disability Standards for Education legislates the requirements to consult students and families. However, barriers to consultation are prevalent and ongoing.
During this Cafe, Haley will support educators to understand their obligations to consult, and what consultation is and is not. She will also provide insight into how educators can engage in consultation in a way that is supportive of students with disability.
This week the Disability Royal Commission conducted its second hearing into education.
The hearing explored the barriers experienced by students with disability in accessing a safe, quality and inclusive school education. It also considered the resulting life course impacts on students and families when barriers prevent equitable schooling experience. The hearing heard testimony from students, parents, advocacy groups, organisations, academics, and education department representatives.
Focus topics included:
– The impact of absences, suspensions, exclusions and expolsions
– The re-engagement of students when they have experienced suspensions, exclusions and expolsions
– The provision of adjustments and supports, and the barriers to making and receiving reasonable adjustments
– Individualised planning
– Use of restrictive practices
– Teacher training and qualification requirements
– The resulting impacts on life course and mental health of students who have experienced barriers, including the transition to higher education and employment.
Twitter is also a great place to hear reflections and comments regarding hearing testimonies. Follow the hashtag #DisabilityRC. The School Inclusion Network for Educators (SINE) have a Twitter presence, and has been contributing to the commentary. Follow us @sineinclusion
Coming off the back of a tumultuous Term 2, Term 3 is now in full swing for most states, or nearing its start in others.
Check out the information below to catch up on what’s been happening at the Network, and what’s to come.
Collaboration with the Inclusive School Communities Project
The start of Term 3 has signalled the end of a series of 6 webinars that Loren hosted in collaboration with JFA Purple Orange and their Inclusive School Communities Project. The webinars covered topics relating to curriculum adjustments for students with disability, and engaging in data analysis and cycles of inquiry to monitor the advancement of inclusive schooling practices.
In addition, Loren is currently working on associated Q&A responses to accompany the recorded webinars, and is producing 2 tools which will be added to the Inclusive School Practices Toolkit on the site.
Inclusive Education Cafe
The first cafe for Term 3 is happening Wednesday next week at 3.45-5.15 AEST.
Following the results of a survey that gave SINE members an opportunity to select preferred topics, the 3 sessions this Term will focus on curriculum adjustments:
Loren is in the process of creating sequences of achievement that support inclusive curriculum provision.
The sequences support teachers to make decisions about associated curriculum content and complexity across the strands and sub-strands of learning areas to ensure that all students can access age-equivalent content. This supports the curriculum clarity process associated with making substantial curriculum adjustments.
Sequences of achievement for Mathematics and Science are currently available, and English and History are in the final stages of development and will be added soon.
The Disability Standards for Education (DSE) are undergoing review.
“The Standards help to make sure students with disability can access and participate in education and training on the same basis as students without disability. This supports people with disability to be able to participate fully in society and have more opportunities throughout their life.”
We encourage all inclusive educators to contribute to the consultation process. This is an opportunity to influence the strengthening of the DSE to better reflect the human right to inclusive education as outlined in the UNCRPD.
The social distancing requirements of COVID-19 presented a prime opportunity for Loren to re-design the popular Inclusive Education Cafe’s. The Cafe’s were once an opportunity only accessible in person by those in Loren’s school district/region.
Loren came up with concept when the Queensland Department of Education released its Inclusive Education Policy in mid 2018. Loren identified a need for educators to have an opportunity to come together and learn about the practical application of the policy, to share in challenges of practice, and to celebrate improvement.
Since the inception, the Cafe’s have grown to include focused professional learning and network coaching on topics including data analysis, action planning, whole-school approaches to differentiated teaching and learning, Universal Design for Learning, Co-teaching, curriculum adjustments, and supporting student engagement. The Cafe’s also grew to include educators from Catholic and Independent schools from Loren’s local area.
The Cafe is now delivered in partnership with the School Inclusion Network for Educators (SINE). The Cafe has broadened to suit a national audience, and brings together educators from across all States and sectors of education. The Cafe’s are planned to be delivered three times per Term, and occur via Zoom video conferencing.
Feedback from the first two Cafe’s has been very positive. Educators enjoy the collaborative and practical nature of the sessions, and take away great ideas and learning.
Examples of feedback provided via survey:
The recordings from the Cafe’s, along with their associated resources are available on Loren’s website.
During the month of May, Loren will be presenting two free webinars for Australian school leaders and educators.
Making Supplementary, Substantial, and Extensive Curriculum Adjustments
To comply with the Disability Standards for Education (DSE), educators must implement reasonable adjustments so that all students have the opportunity to become active and engaged learners. For some, these adjustments apply to the way in which they access and participate in curriculum. This presentation focuses on unpacking processes that ensure all students can continue to engage with their age-equivalent curriculum within the general education classroom, including those who require supplementary, substantial or extensive curriculum adjustments.
Wednesday 13 May, 2020 – 3:30-5:00pm ACST (Adelaide Time)
Scan and Assess: Data Analysis and Designing Surveys for School Staff and Students
A core component of successful inclusive school improvement involves considered reflection and monitoring of impact. Essentially – how are we going, and how do we know? This inquiry approach is paramount in identifying challenges of practice, prioritizing and action planning, and reviewing implementation. This presentation focuses on unpacking processes that assist in gathering and analysing relevant scan and asses data, including the use of surveys as a valuable and insightful qualitative measure.
Wednesday 27 May, 2020 – 3:30-5:00pm ACST (Adelaide Time)
These events are funded by the National Disability Insurance Agency as part of the Inclusive School Communities Project.
The Inclusive School Communities Project is about making SA schools accessible and inclusive for ALL students, including those living with disability. The project is being led by JFA Purple Orange under the guidance of a Steering Group of local and national stakeholders and with the leadership of young people living with disability. We now have 15 schools from government, catholic and independent sectors involved in the project and a group of 20+ school delegates (principals, deputies, directors, heads, coordinators, teachers, and teacher’s aides) – all keen to lead their schools towards inclusive education. Visit the Inclusive School Communities website to find out more https://inclusiveschoolcommunities.org.au/
Please join us for these free professional learning opportunities!
For the past 2 years Loren has been hosting a regular Inclusive Education Cafe across the North Queensland Region – this has equated to the delivery of over 20 sessions, and has encompassed schools and educators in areas such as Ingham, Townsville, Ayr/Home Hill, Bowen, Whitsunday’s and Mount Isa.
The Cafe’s have provided a unique way to connect and engage participants in informal professional learning around Inclusive Education. The Cafe’s have offered exploration and delivery of practical solutions and responses to common questions and challenges of practice experienced in schools. This contextual and collaborative approach has been a successful way for participants to build their capability.
The Cafe’s have attracted a lot of interest from across Queensland State Schools, other systems, and other parts of the country. However, Loren’s return to her substantive position within a school has limited her availability to deliver the Cafe sessions beyond her immediate location. This in combination with the current COVID-19 restriction on social gatherings, has presented an opportunity to rethink Cafe delivery.
The Inclusive Education Cafe’s will now exist as an online experience through the use of Zoom. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in professional learning that centers on the same principles as the previous in-house sessions. This shift will allow for broader and larger cross-sector/system collaboration.
The following structure will be used to faciliate the Cafe experience online:
Welcome– Framing the focus question and challenge of practice
Connect– Stimulated reflection with participantsin small groups
Learn– Exploration of practical strategies and solutions
Share– Collaborative discussions to share learning and contextual examples
Summary – Stimulated whole-group reflectionand question time
Recordings of the Cafe’s will be made available on the School Inclusion – From Theory to Practice website.
The Cafe’s will run at regular intervals across the year and invites will be shared on the SINE Facebook page. The first online Cafe will take place on April 16, 2020.
More information about the Inclusive Education Cafe’s can be found here.