“Inclusion is not simply about physical proximity. It is about intentionally planning for the success of all students.” – Tim Villegas
Schools are responsible for providing access to quality education that is free from discrimination. They are obligated to maximise the outcomes of all students, and to ensure that everyone is able and enabled to learn.
To achieve this, it is vital that schools acknowledge and attend to the aspirations, strengths, interests and learning needs of every student. In order to effectively respond, teachers should consult with students and parents, and actively plan for the supportive practices and adjustments that are required to ensure the success of every student.
In order to achieve this, it is recommended that schools engage in a process of gathering qualitative data about their students. This can be done through the use of One Page Profiles. One Page Profiles capture student-centred, autonomous responses about them as learners. They provide insight into a student’s strengths, interests and motivators, and what practices and strategies serve them best. More information on One Page Profiles can be found here. An example of a One Page Profile is provided below.
For students with disability, it may be appropriate to engage in deeper consultation about the specific adjustments and supports that they require. Recommendations on how to go about this have been provided in the Planning for Personalised Learning and Support: A National Resource Based on the Disability Standards for Education 2005 .
Student Support Services Team:
A multidimensional, systems response to providing cohesive management of supports, provision of adjustments, and resources to proactively address the personal, social and educational needs of all students is recommended. This can be achieved by establishing a Student Support Services Team (SSST).
The SSST should be supported by:
- A comprehensive data system that enables proactive monitoring of academic progress, engagement, and effectiveness of Multi-tier System of Supports (MTSS)
- Whole-school investment in evidence-based, effective instructional strategies
A series of steps have been identified to support the implementation of a SSST:
- Establish team members and schedule regular meeting times – the team should include leadership members, multi-disciplinary/specialist support staff, and teachers.
- Establish data gathering and analysis processes to review curriculum and engagement outcomes – consider what data will be used and how it will be recorded and tracked (recommendations for this can be found here.)
- Continuously build staff capability – use data and feedback to proactively drive the implementation of Multi-tier System of Supports (MTSS) at the classroom level, and to provide relevant professional learning and development.
- Consider how individual staff will be supported to increase their capacity to deliver on evidence-based teaching practices – including Universal Design for Learning, quality differentiated teaching practice, adjustments, positive behaviour supports and social/emotional supports (refer to the Building Teacher Capability page for suggestions of how this can be achieved).
- Develop identification/referral processes for students who may not be responding to the implementation of MTSS at the classroom level.
- Analyse referrals, gather additional data if necessary and collaboratively make decisions about appropriate supports and intervention – the supports and intervention may be related to targeted teacher capability development, or may be at a whole-class, small group, or individual student level.
- Assign a Student Support Services Co-ordinator to collaborate with stakeholders and formulate a plan (evidence-based intervention) – utilising an inquire cycle (see below) and outlining clear roles and responsibilities.
- Implement the plan – Student Support Services Co-ordinator to ensure fidelity measures and collect evidence of impact.
- Review the plan – data and evidence used to review the plan and to drive any necessary adaptations or amendments.
- Record actions and monitor outcomes – this may include recording a Personalised Plan, or involve escalation to the level of Complex Support Services.
Utilising a Student-Centred Inquiry Cycle:
An inquiry cycle process provides a systematic and accountable way to inform and respond to challenges of practice that may be experienced in relation to a student’s academic and/or engagement progress. It aims to flip the narrative from seeing the challenge as a deficit or problem of the student, to one of a strengths-based perspective and solution focus.
The aim of the inquiry cycle is to get out of the learning pit!
When faced with a challenge we can often slide into a learning pit which leaves us confused and unsure of how to process and respond to the experience. It is the uncomfortable space where our knowledge and practices are stretched, and we start to ponder how to proceed. It is vital that we do not become dormant at the base of the pit, despairing in the situation and perpetuating the very challenge we are trying to overcome. Instead, we need to embrace the opportunity to reflect, refocus and build capability in order to make it out the other side. The process of making it out of the learning pit deepens overall knowledge, and builds skills and understanding that improve practice, and therefore improve student outcomes.
An inquiry cycle provides an effective framework and process for doing this.
Below is a graphic representation of the inquiry cycle process:
An explanation of the implementation of the inquiry cycle can be found below.
Utilising a Student-centred Inquiry Cycle
Complex Support Services:
In some instances, the support and intervention provided by the SSST does not result in positive changes or impact to a student’s experience or outcomes. If this is the case, it is important to escalate the response to a complex level (the need for complex support services may also be evident upon enrolment, or immediately following a particular event or experience).
A Complex Support Co-ordinator is appointed and pulls together a multi-disciplinary team of internal and external stakeholders that are involved in supporting the student. This team also includes the parent, and the student themselves. The team develops a comprehensive and shared understanding of the student and prioritises areas for support and intervention. A complex support action plan is developed which draws on the expertise of all stakeholders, and takes into consideration the voice and vision of the student. The plan is implemented with fidelity, and is evaluated and reviewed on a weekly basis (this timeframe is faded as the student’s experience and outcomes improve).
NB: Support and intervention at this level should still include identified capability development for staff. Clear roles and responsibilities should be outlined in the action plan.