On the same basis:  Implementing the Disability Discrimination Act Standards for Education

Cataloguing-in-Publication data

 On the same basis: Implementing the Disability Discrimination Act standards for education.

 Bibliography.
ISBN 0 7308 7809 0 (hbk).

1.        Australia. Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

2.        People with disabilities - Education - Law and legislation - Australia. 

3.        Students with disabilities - Education - Australia. 

4.        Students with disabilities - Legal status, laws, etc. – Australia.

5.         People with disabilities - Legal status, laws, etc. - Australia.  I. South Australia. Dept. of Education and Children’s Services.

 

344.94230071
Copyright 2007
Reprinted 2008
The State of South Australia, Department of Education and Children’s Services

Produced by:  DECS Publishing, 266 Port Road, Hindmarsh, SA 5007
Edited by: Professional Editing Services
Designed by: Might.Graphic Design
Illustrations by:  Gerry Wedd
Printed by:  Nexus Print Solutions, South Australia

Acknowledgements

On the same basis: Implementing the Disability Discrimination Standards for Education

was produced by the Department of Education and Children’s Services through the work of Disability and Statewide Programs within the Office of Early Childhood and Statewide Services.

The project was managed by Margaret Lynch, Manager Disability Curriculum Policy and Research, with the assistance of John Liddle, Project Officer for Patricia Winter, Assistant Director, Disability and Statewide Programs.

Leigh Burrows, Project Officer, Learning Difficulties, provided material for Chapter 11: Teaching about disabilities.

A working party assisted with writing tasks and provided direction and feedback.

The members were: Heather Ashmeade, Disability Coordinator, Kumangka Para District

Creagh Bedson, Principal, Lobethal Primary School

Pam Jacobs, Special Education Coordinator, Ocean View P–12 College

John Liddle, Project Officer

Margaret Lynch, Manager, Disability Curriculum Policy and Research (chair)

Kathy Meredith, Project Officer, Statewide Verification and Professional Support Team

Judith Taylor, Disability Coordinator, Riverland District.

Thank you also to the wide range of people who provided feedback and input to drafts of the document. These people included: advocates of people with a disability, parents, university staff and preschool and school personnel.

Editing: Susan Rintoul

Artwork: Gerry Wedd

Design: Susan Gent

Disability Standards for Education 2005

Disability Standards for Education 2005— Guidance Notes

All legislative material herein is reproduced by permission but does not purport to be the official or authorised versions. It is subject to Commonwealth of Australia copyright.

Forward to Contents

Foreword

Disability Standards for Education have been developed under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and these became a legal requirement for Australian education authorities in August 2005.

On the same basis: Implementing the Disability Discrimination Act Standards for Education has been developed to help education staff within the Department of Education and Children’s Services, implement the new Disability Standards. The Standards emphasise the need to consider people with disabilities ‘on the same basis’ as all other people — hence the name of this resource. A copy of the Standards is provided in Appendix 1. Guidance Notes, provided by the Commonwealth Government Attorney-General’s Department for implementing the Standards, are included as Appendix 2.

The Standards cover: enrolment; participation; curriculum development, accreditation and delivery; student support services; and harassment and victimisation.

Appendices 3 and 4 contain information about attendance of learners with disabilities and support by non-DECS personnel.

While the focus of the new resource is the Disability Standards, its general purpose is to help provide a more inclusive education for learners with disabilities.

I thank the many people who have contributed to this resource and I commend it to you.

Signature - Chris Robinson

Chief Executive

Department of Education and Children’s Services

 

Back to Contents

How to use this resource

This resource could be used in a number of different ways:

Groups of people could select one or more sections, read and discuss the material and complete one or more of the learning activities provided.

Individuals should find the resource a useful reference, both for ideas and strategies to support preschools and schools to become more inclusive, as well as for an explanation of the specific terms used in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) and in the Standards for Education. There is a list of key terms and explanations, at the beginning of the resource. Each explanation has a page number reference for further information.

Tertiary educators should find this a useful resource for teaching students who are studying to become teachers and service providers who assist preschools to provide inclusive learning environments.

Back to Contents

Some notes about particular words

Preschools and schools

The Disability Standards for Education apply to a wide range of education providers, including both preschools and schools.

In this document the word sites includes both preschools and schools. Sometimes in the text, either the word school or the word preschool is used. This may be because of the particular context. Alternatively, it may be because the word is part of a quotation.

Children, students and learners

Where appropriate, the term learner has been used in the document to refer to both children and students; this is to be inclusive of both preschools and schools.

Sometimes, the word children or the word students has been used because of the particular context or because it is part of a quotation.

Electronic version

On the same basis is available from the website of the Department of Education and Children’s Services ‹http://www.decs.sa.gov.au/›. The resource can be downloaded as a whole document or section by section. It is available in both .pdf and .doc versions.

 

Content Diagram -
This is an alternative way to show the contents of the book

 

Contents
Acknowledgements
Foreword
How to use this resource
Content Diagram
Key terms

Section One – Disability legislation
1. Disability Discrimination Act 1992  
2. Disability Standards for Education 2005  
3. Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission  

Section Two – Disability Discrimination Act The Disability Standards for Education
4. Standards for Enrolment  
5. Standards for Participation  
6. Standards for Curriculum Development, Accreditation and Delivery
7. Standards for Student Support Services  
8. Standards for Harassment and Victimisation \

Section Three – Related topics
9. Leadership for Inclusion
10. Site planning for Inclusion
11. Teaching about Disabilities  
12. Personalised Education Planning  
13. Support Service and Community Partnerships  
14. Conflict Resolution 109
15. Employees and Employers — Rights and Obligations  

Appendices
Appendix 1. Disability Standards for Education 2005
Appendix 2. Guidance Notes
Appendix 3. Attendance for students with disabilities
Appendix 4. Direct support of students with disabilities by non-DECS personnel

 

 

Key terms

Key terms used in this resource are listed below. Each entry includes a page reference to the most appropriate point in the text, where the meaning of the term is further explained.

Access — a learner being enrolled and attending at a site. Access is affected by withdrawal from class, suspension and exclusion. p. 6

Accommodations/Adjustments — actions or measures taken that assist a student with a disability to enrol, participate in the program and use the facilities or services on the same basis as a student without a disability.

pp. 18, 50

Assistive technologies — devices that are used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. p. 62

Associate — Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, an associate includes a relative or caregiver of a learner with a disability.

DDA — see Disability Discrimination Act 1992 below

DECS — see Department of Education and Children’s Services below

Department of Education and Children’s Services (DECS)

Direct discrimination — occurs when a person is treated less favourably than a person without the disability would be treated in the same or similar circumstances. p. 5

Disability Action Plan — plan to make a site more inclusive for learners with disabilities. A disability action plan can help in complying with the Education Standards under the Disability Discrimination Act. Disability action plans are referred to in Part 3 (Section 61) of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

p. 83

Disability definition — under the DDA, a disability includes: physical; intellectual; psychiatric; sensory; neurological; learning disabilities; physical disfigurement; and the presence in the body of a disease-causing mechanism. The term covers a disability that people have now; may have in the future; or are believed to have. pp. 4–5

Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA)

— Commonwealth Government legislation, which can be used to address discrimination against people on the grounds of disability in many areas of public life. p. 3

Disability Employment Register — a register to identify and refer registered people with a permanent disability to vacancies advertised through the public sector Notice of Vacancies. Used by the South Australian Government, and coordinated by Disability WORKS Australia. p. 122

Disability Standards — the Standards clarify the legal obligations of service providers under the existing Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA). They also state the rights of learners with disabilities. p. 15

Education provider — includes: schools and preschools in the private and public sector (but not child-care providers); post-compulsory education and training authorities; and accreditation authorities such as the Senior Secondary Assessment Board of South Australia (SSABSA). p. 17

Educational authority — a body or person administering an educational institution; p. 5

Educational institution — a school, preschool, college, university or other institution at which education or training is provided. p. 5

Enrolment — Learners with disabilities have the right to seek admission/enrol on the same basis as prospective students without disabilities, including the right to reasonable adjustments to ensure that they are able to enrol on the same basis as prospective learners without disabilities. Education providers must allow prospective learners with disabilities to enrol without experiencing any discrimination. pp. 31–32

Harassment — includes persistent behaviour that offends, humiliates, intimidates and creates a hostile environment. This could include such things as insensitive comments, inappropriate SMS messages, photographs, cartoons and inappropriate body language. It is unlawful to harass or victimise a person with a disability, or any of their associates. p. 10

Health Support Plan — assists education and childcare workers, in partnership with families and health professionals, to plan safe, reasonable and consistent health support for all learners. Includes planning for personal care support such as continence care and eating and drinking. p. 98

HREOC — see Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission below

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) — administers Commonwealth laws relating to human rights infringements and discrimination such as the DDA. A person who believes that he or she has experienced discrimination on the grounds of disability can make a complaint to HREOC. pp. 25–28

Indirect discrimination — occurs in situations where a requirement is the same for all people, but in some way unreasonably disadvantages a person because they have a disability. p. 6

Measures see Special measures

Negotiated Education Plan (NEP) — a process for collaborative planning between the site, the family, the learner and other agencies/support services. It is expected that all children accessing high levels of preschool support and all students identified under the DECS Students with Disabilities Policy will have a learning plan developed through this process. p. 96

NEP see Negotiated Education Plan above

On the same basis — means that a person with a disability must be able to seek admission, participate in programs, and use the facilities and services of education institutions on the same basis as a student without a disability so that the person has choices and opportunities that are comparable to those of other students without disabilities. p. 18

Participation — refers to the way in which the learner engages with the learning activities. Participation is affected by such things as: the appropriateness of learning activities; the quality of teaching and the support provided; as well as the skills, interests and motivation of the learner. Education providers must ensure learners with disabilities can participate in courses and programs and use facilities and services without experiencing any discrimination. pp. 6, 41–42

Reasonable adjustment — an adjustment is reasonable if it takes into account the needs of the learner and balances the interests of all parties affected. Consideration needs to be given to: the nature of the learner’s disability; the effect of the adjustment on the learner’s ability to achieve learning outcomes, participate in courses and programs and operate independently; and the costs and benefits of making the adjustment. The education provider is required to consult with the learner and/or their associate about the appropriateness of the adjustment. p. 19

Special measures — special programs/ structures to provide equal opportunities for people with disabilities. p. 9

Special Needs Education Helpline — a help line established by DECS for families concerned about the education of their child with a disability and/or learning difficulty, phone: 1800 222 696. p. 116

Student Development Plan — the basis for an agreement between the learner, their family, the school and the interagency and behaviour management personnel (if appropriate), prepared when a learner is unwilling to or unable to behave responsibly. A method of documenting behaviour, intervention strategies and student outcomes. p. 98

Transition Plan — plan to assist students to successfully make the transition beyond school by mapping realistic and achievable options and directions. The Transition Plan has two related plans, the Individual Learning Plan and the Transition Pathways Plan. p. 98

Unjustifiable hardship — if the adjustments required to accommodate a person with a disability impose an unreasonable burden on the organisation, then it may be considered an unjustifiable hardship. Most adjustments within the public education sector will not amount to unjustifiable hardship. p. 9

Victimisation — when someone has been treated unfairly for complaining or helping others to complain about an incident of discrimination or harassment. p. 10

 

On the same basis Implementing the Disability Discrimination Act Standards for Education

 

Back to Contents

Section One

Disability Legislation

Section One Chapter One

Disability Discrimination Act 1992

 

What is the Disability Discrimination Act?

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) is Commonwealth Government legislation, which can be used to address discrimination in many areas of public life. The objectives of the DDA are:

1.      to eliminate, as far as possible, discrimination against people on the grounds of disability

2.      to ensure that people with disabilities have the same rights before the law as the rest of the community

3.      to promote the principle that people with disabilities have the same rights as the rest of the community.

 

The DDA overrides all state and territory legislation.

Disability Standards are one of a number of strategies within the DDA to achieve its aims. Section 31 of the DDA provides for the formulation of Standards, which are subordinate legislation. The Standards aim to clarify legal obligations in a range of areas, e.g. education, access to premises, accessible public transport, communications and employment.

Refer to the next chapter for further information about the Disability Standards for Education.

 

Who is covered by the DDA?

The DDA has a very broad definition of disability that covers a wide range of disabilities, imputed (thought to have) disabilities and possible future disabilities.

The DDA also covers carers or associates (e.g. parents, grandparents) of people with disabilities who may experience discrimination as a result of their caring role or association with a person with a disability.

Quote

‘In Australia the right to belong is recognised in State and Federal

anti-discrimination law. Our national commitment to human rights,

formalised by the signing of various international instruments, requires

that people who have a disability be recognised as full citizens and

that our rights to equal participation in the life of the community be

assured, along with all Australians’.

Elizabeth Hastings, Disability Discrimination Commissioner. (1997) ‘The right to belong: disability discrimination law in education’, p. 3, ‹http://www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/speeches/1997/ edspeech.html› 16 March 2006.

Disability Discrimination Act Section 22: Education

In relation to education:

‘It is unlawful for an educational authority (see below) to discriminate against a student on the ground of the student’s disability or a disability of any of the student’s associates:

1.      by denying the student access, or limiting the student’s access, to any benefit provided by the educational authority; or

2.      by expelling the student; or

3.      by subjecting the student to any other detriment’.

 

Specifically, in relation to enrolment:

‘It is unlawful for an educational authority to discriminate against a person on the ground of the person’s disability or a disability of any of the other person’s associates:

1.      by refusing or failing to accept the person’s application for admission as a student; or

2.      in the terms or conditions on which it is prepared to admit the person as a student’.

 

Important terminology in the DDA:

A number of terms used in the DDA are important to understand in order to provide equitable and non-discriminatory education for learners.

1.      An ‘educational authority means a body or person administering an educational institution’.

2.      An ‘educational institution means a school, college, university or other institution at which education or training is provided’.

 

Disability Discrimination Act 1992, Part 1, Section 4.

Note that the DDA Standards for Education extend the DDA definition of an educational institution to include preschools and registered training organisations.

Disability

The definition of disability is broad and includes:

1.      physical

2.      intellectual

3.      psychiatric

4.      sensory

5.      neurological

6.      learning disabilities

7.      physical disfigurement

8.      the presence in the body of a disease-causing mechanism.

 

The term covers a disability that people:

1.      have now

2.      may have in the future (e.g. a family history of disability, which a person may also develop)

3.      are believed to have (e.g. if people think someone has HIV/AIDS).

 

Direct discrimination

Direct discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably than a person without the disability would be treated in the same or similar circumstances.

Example

It would be direct disability discrimination if a learner with a disability was not allowed to participate in a sports day.

Discrimination issue

There is direct discrimination because the learner does not have the opportunity to participate on the same basis as other learners. The action to prevent any participation makes it direct discrimination.

How could direct discrimination be avoided?

The sports day could be planned so that there are events in which the learner can participate. This may require some accommodations/adjustments for the learner and some additional personal support.

Indirect discrimination

Indirect discrimination occurs in situations where a requirement is the same for all people, but in some way unreasonably disadvantages a person because they have a disability.

Example

It would be indirect disability discrimination if a teacher assessed the knowledge of a group of learners by requiring them all to write a report, even though one member of the group had a learning disability, which affected their ability to write effectively.

Discrimination issue

There is indirect discrimination because, while there is the same requirement for everybody, the person with a learning disability does not have the opportunity to participate in the assessment on the same basis as other learners.

How could indirect discrimination be avoided?

There are other ways to assess the knowledge of a learner. The section on ‘Accommodations/adjustments’ in chapter 6 ‘Disability Discrimination Act Standards for Curriculum Development, Accreditation and Delivery’ has a range of examples of alternative practices.

Access

Access refers to a learner being enrolled and attending at a site. It is affected by withdrawal from class, suspension and exclusion.

Moore, M., Jackson, M., Fox, S. & Ainscow, M. (2004) Manchester Inclusion Standard: High standards for all: Guidance for Schools. Manchester City Council, UK, p. 7.

Participation

Participation refers to the way in which the learner engages with the learning activities. Participation is affected by such things as: the appropriateness of learning activities; the quality of teaching and the support provided; and the skills, interests and motivation of the learner.

Activity 1

Direct or indirect discrimination quiz

Complete the following quiz and discuss in a group.

Action

Example

Direct or Indirect Discrimination?

Refusing or discouraging a learner’s enrolment application

1. Saying: ‘There are no places at preschool,’ (when there are vacancies). 2. Saying: ‘We already have a lot of learners with learning difficulties. The school down the road has a very good reputation with these learners.’

 

Setting terms or conditions on which the site is prepared to admit the learner

3. Saying to the parents/caregivers: ‘We need a volunteer to provide extra help — do you know anyone?’ 4. Saying: ‘If we get funding, your child can come here.’

 

Denying or limiting the learner’s access to benefits provided

5. Not offering Languages (e.g. Italian or French) as the learner has difficulty with English. 6. Telling the parents/caregivers that the learner cannot go on an excursion because the destination isn’t suitable.

 

Suspending and/or excluding a learner, whose disability impacts on her/his understanding of the school behaviour policy

7. Suspending and/or excluding a learner for infringing the standard school behaviour guidelines or policy 8. Allowing conditional re-entry, resulting in ongoing reduction in the number of lessons attended.

 

 

Answers are provided at the end of this chapter.

Reasonable adjustments

These are changes and/or alterations to provide an equal opportunity in relation to access, participation and achievement for a learner with a disability. They also serve to eliminate discrimination as far as possible. Consideration needs to be given to:

1.      the learner’s disability

2.      the views of the learner or the learner’s associate

3.      the effect on the learner’s:

– ability to achieve learning outcomes

– ability to participate in programs

– independence.

4.      the effect of the proposed adjustment on anyone else affected, e.g. staff and other learners

5.      the costs and benefits of making the adjustments.

 

Activity 2

There is often a diversity of learners with disabilities in preschools and schools.  What are some of the reasonable adjustments that are/could be made for learners with disabilities:

1. Within your site?

2. Within your classroom/learning space/school yard?

 

There is information about the range of reasonable adjustments in chapter 6 'Disability Standards for Curriculum Development, Accreditation and Delivery'.

 

Activity 3

Read the following scenario and use the questions as a framework for discussion.

 

Jason is 10 years old and enjoys using the computer, playing with cars and looking at books about space.  In the playground, he likes to use the swing and climbing equipment.  He has autism, severe epilepsy and exhibits challenging behaviours characterised by hitting, biting and screaming.  He has not yet attended school on a regular, full-time basis.  His parents are finding it increasingly difficult to support Jason and want him to attend school full-time.  The staff involved have refused to consider this.  Using the Negotiated Education Planning process and with input from several disability support agency personnel, it has been eventually negotiated that Jason's attendance at school will increase to full-time over 10 weeks.

When Jason does not have 1:1 support his teacher requires him to stay in a corner area of the classroom - this is not negotiated 'down time'.

1. Identify the discriminatory actions - are they direct or indirect discrimination?

2. What reasonable adjustments need to be made?

 

Comments are at the end of this chapter.

For information about autism go to <http://www.autismsa.org.au/>.

 

Unjustifiable hardship

If the adjustments required to accommodate a person with a disability impose an unreasonable burden on the organisation, then it may be considered to be an unjustifiable hardship.

It is unlikely that a large public educational authority would be able to use this defence due to the nature of financial support available from the government. However, each case must be judged on its individual circumstances.

It is important to remember that most adjustments within the public education sector will not be considered as an unjustifiable hardship.

Special measures

Section 45 of the DDA allows for the establishment of special programs/structures to provide equal opportunities for people with disabilities. Examples include: sporting teams for people with disabilities; or employment registers of people with disabilities. Such arrangements are called special measures.

Because of the possibility of having special measures, it is lawful to provide special learning programs to support learners with disabilities. The Department of Education and Children’s Services (DECS) provides the following options:

Preschool special programs

These include: The Preschool Support Program; Speech and Language Programs; Inclusive Preschool Programs; Auslan Early Learning Program; The Briars Special Early Learning Centre.

Disabilities Support Program

Additional support is provided to support learners with disabilities to work alongside learners without disabilities, in mainstream settings.

Special classes

These are located in some junior primary, primary and secondary schools. They provide a setting for learners with a disability who need extensive curriculum support.

Special units

These are located in some primary and secondary schools. They provide long-term educational options in a local school for learners with significant or multiple disabilities.

Special schools

These provide a structured learning environment, in a separate setting, for learners with significant or multiple disabilities.

State-wide Transition Centres (Daws Road Centre and Prospect Centre)

Learners with disabilities, enrolled in a DECS school, may be able to participate in employment focussed programs at state-wide transition centres to support their transition to post school options.

Special measures cannot be made compulsory. Learners with a disability cannot be compelled to attend any one of these education options.

 

Harassment and victimisation

It is unlawful to harass or victimise a person with a disability, or any of their
associates.

Harassment includes persistent behaviour that offends, humiliates, intimidates and creates a hostile environment. This could include such things as insensitive comments, inappropriate SMS messages, photographs, cartoons and inappropriate body language or T-shirt slogans.

Victimisation happens when someone has been treated unfairly for complaining or helping others to complain about an incident of discrimination or harassment.

See Chapter 8 for more information about harassment and victimisation.

Further Information

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) is available from the website of the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department <http://www.ag.gov.au/DSFE>.

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) <http://www.humanrights.gov.au>.

The South Australian Equal Opportunity Commission <http://www.eoc.sa.gov.au>.

Commonwealth Disability Strategy <http://www.facs.gov.au/disability/cds/fs/fs_index.htm>.

Disability Information Resource Centre (DIRC) 195 Gilles St. Adelaide 5000. Phone: 08 8223 7522. <http://www.dircsa.org.au>.

 Answers for Activity 1 - Direct or indirect discrimination quiz.

Example

Type of Discrimination

Points to Consider

1

Direct

There are vacancies — the learner is being refused enrolment because of their disability.

2

Indirect

Enrolment is not actually refused but is discouraged by suggesting alternative options as better able to meet the needs of the learner.

3

Direct

The inference is that the learner’s needs can be met only if another person is there for support. This is a ‘condition’ to the enrolment. It is unlikely to be suggested if the learner did not have a disability.

4

Direct

The inference is that the learner’s needs can be met only if extra funding is made available. Enrolment of learners with disabilities cannot be made contingent upon funding.

5

Indirect

Languages are a mandated part of the SACSA Framework. All learners, regardless of their ability, are entitled to access and participate in these classes. To suggest Languages are not a high priority due to ability with English, although not actually refusing the learner the opportunity to study languages, is indirect discrimination.

6

Direct

Planning for an excursion must include assessing the accessibility of the location for all learners, including those with disabilities.

7

Indirect

Behaviours associated with a disability may impact on the ability of learners with disabilities to comply with a site’s behaviour policy. Reasonable adjustments may need to be made.

8

Indirect

A learner’s attendance needs to be negotiated to meet the needs of the learner. All learners over the age of 6 and under the age of 16 are entitled to attend school full-time. An ongoing reduction in attendance requires special approval. (See Appendix 3 for further information.) If a temporary reduction in session times is not a strategy that would be used with learners without disabilities at re-entry meetings, the strategy is indirectly discriminating against a learner.

 

 Comments on Activity 3

 

Discriminatory actions:

1.      The child is 10 years old and has not yet attended school full-time (see Appendix 3 for more information on part-time enrolment).

2.      There is an initial refusal of staff to consider the parents’ request for full-time attendance for their child.

3.      There is no planning or educational program provided when 1:1 support is not provided.

 

Reasonable adjustments:

1.      An educational program, e.g. peer support or negotiated ‘down time’, is provided when 1:1 support is not available.

2.      A positive behaviour strategy is implemented when 1:1 support is not available.

3.      An alternative program in the school is considered.

4.      Other educational options in the district are considered.

 

Back to Contents

 

 Section One Chapter 2

Disability Standards for Education 2005

Purpose of the Standards

The Standards:

1.      clarify legal obligations already in the existing Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA)

2.      state the rights of learners with disabilities

3.      state the legal obligations of service providers.

 

The Standards specify how education and training are to be made accessible to learners with disabilities.

The five areas of the Standards
The Standards cover the following areas:

1.      enrolment

2.      participation

3.      curriculum development, accreditation and delivery

4.      student support services, and

5.      harassment and victimisation.

 

Quote:

'The Standards are intended to give students with disabilities the same rights as other students.  The Standards are based on the position that all students, including students with disabilities, should be treated with dignity and enjoy the benefits of education and training in an educationally supportive environment that values and encourages participation by all students, including students with disabilities.

To achieve this, the effect of the Standards is to give students and prospective students with disabilities the right to education and training opportunities on the same basis as students without disabilities.  This includes the right to comparable access, services and facilities, and the right to participate in education and training unimpeded by discrimination, including on the basis of stereotyped beliefs about the abilities and choices of students with disabilities'.

Disability Standards for Education (2005).

Guidance Notes (See Appendix 2, p.2).

 

The Standards specify rights, obligations and measures

Each area of the Standards includes:

1.      a statement of the rights or entitlements of learners with disabilities

2.      a description of the legal obligations or responsibilities of educational providers

3.      a description of the measures which, if implemented, will be evidence of compliance with the legal obligation.

 

A copy of the Standards is included as Appendix 1.

Key Terms

Purpose

Rights

To assist people to understand and comply with the Standards set out in the obligation provisions – What’s fair and reasonable

Obligations

To describe the responsibilities of education providers – What you have to do

Measures

To provide examples of performance based compliant actions – What could be done

 

The Standards clarify and extend the DDA

The Disability Discrimination Act deals in broad terms with what is required of education providers for compliance with the Act.

The Standards seek to provide:

1.      increased clarity as to the scope of the DDA

2.      guidance for education providers about their obligations under the DDA and about the nature of the educational services that learners with disabilities and their parents/caregivers are entitled to expect under the DDA.

 

The Standards extend the scope of the DDA in three areas:

1.      inclusion in the definition of ‘education provider’ a range of organisations including preschools and bodies that develop and accredit curricula, training packages and courses (Disability Standards for Education, Part 1, pp. 8-9).

2.      the prevention of harassment and victimisation

3.      extension of the defence of unjustifiable hardship beyond the point of enrolment.

 

The Standards were developed as a result of extensive consultation that began in 1995. The legislation provides for a review of the Standards every five years.

 

Guidance Notes

The Standards are accompanied by Guidance Notes. These provide additional explanatory material, including background information and comment, to assist in interpreting and complying with the Standards.

A copy of the Guidance Notes is included as Appendix 2.

Activity 1

Expert Jigsaw

Divide into initial groups of five.

Give each person a card about one area outlined in the Standards (pages to photocopy are in Appendix 1 ‘Disability Standards for Education 2005’).

Ask individuals to read their card.

Ask those with the same heading/area of the Standards to make a group. Ask group members to share their understanding of the area.

Ask group members to return to their place and share their information with others in their initial group.

 

Important terminology in the Standards

The Standards provide further explanation of key terms used in the DDA.

1. Education Provider — includes:

  schools and preschools in the private and public sector (but not child-care providers)

  post-compulsory education and training authorities

  accreditation authorities such as the Senior Secondary Assessment Board of South Australia (SSABSA).

 

More details are in Disability Standards for Education, Section 1.5. See Appendix 1, p. 8.

 

2. On the Same Basis — means that a person with a disability must be able to:

1.      seek admission,

2.      participate in the program, and

3.      use the facilities and services

 

of education institutions on the same basis as a student without a disability so that the person has choices and opportunities that are comparable to those of other students without disabilities.

Section 2.2 of the Disability Standards for Education has more information. See Appendix 1, p.10.

3. Adjustments — are actions or measures taken that assist a student with a disability to:

1.      apply for enrolment,

2.      participate in the program, and

3.      use the facilities or services

 

on the same basis as a student without a disability. Measures include an aid, a facility or a service that the student requires because of her/his disability.

Disability Standards for Education, Section 3.3. See Appendix 1, p. 11.

4. Reasonable Adjustments — an adjustment is reasonable if it takes into account the needs of the learner and balances the interests of all parties affected. When assessing whether an adjustment is reasonable, consideration needs to be given to:

1.      the nature of the learner’s disability

2.      the effect of the adjustment on the learner’s ability to achieve learning outcomes, participate in courses and programs and operate independently

3.      the costs and benefits of making the adjustment.

 

A key aspect of the enhanced meaning of reasonable adjustment provided in the Standards is that the education provider is required to consult with the learner and/or her/his associate about the appropriateness of the adjustment. An education provider may provide an alternative adjustment to the learner’s preferred form of adjustment if the alternative is effective in achieving the desired purpose and would be less disruptive and intrusive for the learner and for others. It is most important to seek professional expertise in deciding on an adjustment.

Disability Standards for Education, Section 3.4. See Appendix 1, pp. 11–12.

5. Reasonable Time — the education provider must take reasonable steps

to ensure that any adjustment required is made within a reasonable time. Whether or not the time is reasonable for any adjustments to be made depends on whether and when the student or their associate has provided:

1.      any relevant information about how the disability affects the student in relation to education or training, and

2.      the student’s or associate’s opinion about the adjustments.

 

Disability Standards for Education, Section 3.7. See Appendix 1, p. 13.

 

6. Obtaining Disability Information — an education provider is entitled to information about the learner’s disability and individual requirements, if that information is to be used for:

1.      assessing the nature and extent of the adjustment needed and the provider’s capacity to provide the adjustment, and

2.      clarifying the learner’s ability to comply with any non-discriminatory requirements of the course or program.

 

Disability Standards for Education. Guidance Notes, Section 4.3. See Appendix 2, pp. 4–5.

Reasonable adjustments and unjustifiable hardship

An adjustment will have costs and benefits.

Benefits may include positive learning, social and wellbeing outcomes.

Costs may include additional staffing, resources and facility modifications, and effects on others.

A reasonable adjustment balances benefits against costs.

It is important not to confuse the concepts of unreasonable adjustment and unjustifiable hardship.

It is necessary to first decide if the adjustment is reasonable and then to decide if making the adjustment will impose an unjustifiable hardship.

Note:

The Standards extend the concept of unjustifiable hardship to cover the whole time in which a learner is enrolled in an educational institution. (In the original DDA legislation, unjustifiable hardship applied only at the time of enrolment.)

As discussed in the previous chapter, the resources available to a state government education provider are considerable and it would be very difficult for a government preschool or school to successfully claim that the cost of an adjustment is an unjustifiable hardship. This is because the provision applies to systems and not to individual institutions within systems.

In assessing whether an adjustment is reasonable, the provider is entitled to maintain the integrity of the program and its assessment requirements.

 

Compliance with the Standards, in practice

1.      Professional expertise about the disability-specific needs of the learner must be sought. Education staff must collaborate with such persons with expertise.

2.      Information gathering processes need to be accessible and transparent.

3.      Information gathering must maintain the dignity, respect, privacy and confidentiality of the learner and her/his associates.

4.      The learner and/or associate must be consulted and their views sought about what makes a ‘reasonable adjustment’.

5.      Adjustments that are least disruptive and intrusive should be negotiated.

 

It is good practice for an education provider to ensure that there are review mechanisms in place to deal with any grievances arising from differences in opinions about what makes an adjustment reasonable. Schools/preschools should ensure that their grievance procedures address this.

Negotiation

The best outcomes for learners with disabilities are achieved by respectful negotiation. Being proactive, instead of reacting only to complaints, generates goodwill on all sides.

Such positive outcomes are achieved when there is a genuine partnership between the site management team, the teacher and the family. The provision of extra resources to support the inclusion of a learner with a disability will always be subject to negotiation with all parties involved.

Activity 2

This activity will enable you to recognise what you are already doing that demonstrates compliance with the DDA and Standards for Education.

Identify a learner in your site who has a disability and/or high support needs or a learning difficulty. Use Chart 1 to record what the site is currently doing to ensure this learner is able to access, participate and achieve in all aspects of education.

As you do this you are likely to think of actions/situations that may be discriminatory. Record these on Chart 2.

Finally, brainstorm future strategies that could be used to ensure compliance with the DDA and the Standards for Education.

 

Activity 2 continued

Chart 1

Area of the Standards

What is being done?

Enrolment

 

Participation

 

Curriculum development, accreditation and delivery

 

Student support services

 

Elimination of harassment and victimisation

 

 

Chart 2

Area of the Standards

Identified areas of ‘risk’ or possible discrimination

Future strategies

Enrolment

 

 

Participation

 

 

Curriculum development, accreditation and delivery

 

 

Student support services

 

 

Elimination of harassment and victimisation

 

 

 

 Activity 3

Read these scenarios and use the questions below as a framework for discussion in group(s).

Scenario 1:  A small rural primary school has little experience of learners with disabilities.  The school enrols a five year old girl with learning difficulties, poor muscle tone and speech and language difficulties.  She has two siblings at the school.

Scenario 2:  A year 11 student with intellectual impairment is in a special class of nine students.  Because he is the only student in year 11 he has been told to do year 12 subjects so that a group of four students is following the same SACE program.

Scenario 3:  A year 8 student with mild intellectual impairment and visual perception and fine motor difficulties is denied access to Technical Studies because of the safety risk to herself and others.

 

1.      What are the key issues in each situation?

2.      Identify any discriminatory or potentially discriminatory practices or behaviour and the relevant area(s) of the Standards.

3.      How does the situation relate to the principles of on the same basis and reasonable adjustments?

Discussion points about each scenario are provided below.

 

Comments on Activity 3

 

Discussion points for scenarios

Scenario 1

Key issues

1.      The need to gather information from the child’s parents, recommendations from assessments and reports

2.      Requesting the involvement of disability-specific support personnel

3.      Identifying ‘reasonable accommodations’

4.      The need for staff training and development

5.      Identifying resources available and how to access them

6.      Ascertaining equipment needed and how to obtain it

7.      Two siblings attend the school.

 Scenario 1 continued

Identify any discriminatory/potentially discriminatory practices or behaviours and the relevant area of the Standards.

1.      This situation could be potentially discriminatory in all areas of the Standards.

2.      It would be discriminatory if the school were to assume that this child could participate in the curriculum on the same basis as other five year old students without disabilities.

3.      It would be discriminatory if a suitable curriculum that ensured that the child could access all areas of the curriculum on the same basis as other children was not developed to meet this child’s needs.

4.      It would be discriminatory if support was not used in the school or not accessed from any relevant support services.

5.      Although the school has few learners with disabilities, it would still be discriminatory if measures were not taken to ensure that no harassment or victimisation of this child occurs.

 

How does the situation relate to the principles of on the same basis and reasonable adjustments?

The school has enrolled the child on the same basis as other students, but now needs to ensure that she can attend and participate on the same basis as other learners by making whatever reasonable adjustments are necessary. This requires the school to contact a speech pathologist and to speak with the girl’s family and their support agency, regarding the assessment of her functional skills and modifying and/or providing any specialist equipment and support.

Scenario 2

Key issues

1.      This student should have a curriculum developed and delivered to meet his needs, not the needs of the teacher or other students.

2.      The student should be doing year 11 subjects following a recognised SACE pattern that has been recorded in his Learning Plan as part of the Negotiated Education Planning process.

 

Identify any discriminatory/potentially discriminatory practices or behaviours and the relevant area of the Standards.

1.      Making the student study subjects at an inappropriate year level is discriminatory.

2.      All other year 11 students in mainstream classes would be studying SACE Stage 1 subjects.

3.      This requirement to study year 12 subjects does not meet the Standards set out in Participation, Curriculum and Student Support Services.

 

How does the situation relate to the principles of on the same basis and reasonable adjustments?

This student is not able to study year 11 on the same basis as other year 11 students, and reasonable adjustments to ensure he can do this are not being made. In a class of nine students, it should be possible to use support services and school resources to ensure that he has an individual curriculum at an appropriate year level.

 Scenario 3

Key issues

1.      The student not accessing the curriculum on the same basis as other students

2.      The teacher’s right to work in a safe environment

3.      All students’ rights to learn in a safe environment and within a supportive learning environment.

 

Identify any discriminatory/potentially discriminatory practices or behaviours and the relevant area of the Standards.

1.      Refusing to allow this student to attend Technical Studies due to her disability is discriminatory.

2.      Support should be provided to ensure that both she and the other students and staff are safe.

3.      The areas of the Standards that are relevant to this situation are Participation, Curriculum Development, Accreditation and Delivery and Student Support Services.

 

How does the situation relate to the principles of on the same basis and reasonable adjustments?

This student is not being treated on the same basis as all other year 8 students, nor are reasonable adjustments being made.

Further Information

The Disability Standards for Education are available from the website

of the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department

<http://www.ag.gov.au/DSFE>

(Also, see Appendix 1 of this document.)

 

Back to Contents

 

 Section One Chapter 3

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission

 

Commonwealth legislation

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) was established following the passage of the legislation Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986.

People who believe that they have been discriminated against can complain to the commission, which will investigate their complaint and arrange conciliation or redress if discrimination has occurred.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) contains provisions which enable people with disabilities to lodge a complaint with HREOC if they feel they have been excluded from access to services normally available to people without a disability.

State and territory legislation

Most states and territories have Equal Opportunity legislation. In most cases, people who wish to lodge a complaint about discrimination can choose to complain under either the Commonwealth or state/territory legislation.

 HREOC

Toll free:  1300 369 711

TTY:  1800 620 241

Telephone:  (02) 9284 9600

Facsimile:  (02) 9284 9611

Internet Address:  http://www.humanrights.gov.au

Email address:  paffairs@humanrights.gov.au

 

The Commission administers Commonwealth laws relating to human rights infringements and discrimination. It is an independent body and acts without favour to any party involved in a complaint.

The commission’s responsibilities fall within four main areas:

1.      education and public awareness

2.      discrimination and human rights complaints

3.      human rights compliance

4.      policy and legislative development.

The Commission has the legal power to conduct enquiries and resolve matters of discrimination and human rights infringement under four different Acts (see below). These Acts, passed by the Commonwealth Parliament, are aimed at protecting people from certain kinds of discrimination in public life and from violation of their human rights by government departments and agencies.

The Commission receives, investigates and conciliates complaints under the following Acts:

Age Discrimination Act 2004

Disability Discrimination Act 1992

Racial Discrimination Act 1975

Sex Discrimination Act 1984.

A person who considers that he or she has experienced discrimination on the grounds of disability can make a complaint to HREOC. The complaint will be resolved through investigation and conciliation. If this is unsuccessful, the complainant can apply to the Federal Court to have the matter heard and determined.

HREOC and Education

The HREOC website <http://www.humanrights.gov.au/infosheet.html> provides useful and interesting information for schools and preschools about how the Disability Discrimination Act has been interpreted and applied in education.

The following information is taken from a brochure about HREOC, which may be downloaded from the above site.

Education

‘Human rights education is an international obligation that Australia has consistently supported.

One of the central functions of the Commission is to raise awareness about human rights in Australia …

 

 To reach as many people as possible, the Commission:

1.      works with teachers and students, to develop curriculum-linked study units using on-line, CD-ROMs and video resources

2.      works with employers, to provide information and resources to reduce discrimination and harassment in employment

3.      works with community groups, to provide information and resources to assist with their work

4.      works with members of the legal profession, holding seminars and publishing updates on human rights legal issues

5.      hosts conferences and events, such as the annual Human Rights Medal and Awards ceremony …

 

By joining one of the Commission's electronic mailing lists you will receive up-to-date information about the Commission's activities.  Lists include:

1.      Human rights education;

2.      Information for employers;

3.      Legal and complaints;

4.      Human rights;

5.      Indigenous;

6.      Disability rights updates;

7.      Racial discrimination;

8.      Sex discrimination.

 

To join go to:

<http://www.humanrights.gov.au/mailinglists>.

 

Activity 1.

Access the HREOC website at <http://www.hreoc.gov.au>,

Follow the pathways:  Disability rights/Information on rights and responsibilities/Education/Brief Guide to DDA and Education or Frequently Asked Questions.

Reflect on the content of these readings and how the information may impact on your work practices.

 

Activity 2.

Access the HREOC website at <http://www.hreoc.gov.au>,

Follow the pathways:  Disability rights/Complaints decisions/Conciliated outcomes/Education.

Read the information provided.  What possible implications are there for your work practices or for your worksite?

 

 HREOC Conciliation process

If an issue of alleged discrimination is not resolved at a local level, then a complaint may be made to HREOC, which will then determine what is ‘fair and reasonable’, not right or wrong.

The following flowchart shows the processes that may occur with a complaint to HREOC.

When a formal complaint is made by parents/caregivers to HREOC regarding treatment of a learner by DECS personnel, the complaint is against the system

(i.e. DECS), not against an individual employee (e.g. principal, teacher or school services officer). The employee(s) may be named in the details of the complaint, but the employee(s) is/are not the subject of the legal action.

Further Information

HREOC <http://www.humanrights.gov.au>.

A brochure about the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission <http://www.humanrights.gov.au/info_sheet.html>.

Disability Discrimination Act 1992 <http://www.ag.gov.au/DSFE>.

Standards for Education <http://www.ag.gov.au/DSFE>. (Also, see Appendix 1 of this document.)

South Australian Equal Opportunity Commission <http://www.eoc.sa.gov.au>.

Commonwealth law online <http://www.scaleplus.law.gov.au>. Australasian Legal Information Institute <http://www.austlii.edu.au>.

 

Back to Contents

 

 Section Two

The Disability Standards for Education

Section Two Chapter 4

Disability Discrimination Act

Standards for Enrolment

 

To whom do the Standards apply?

The Standards for Enrolment apply to:

1.      prospective learners with disabilities

2.      education providers.

 

(Section 1.5 of the Disability Standards for Education provides details about providers bound by the Standards. See Appendix 1. p. 8).

Rights

Learners with disabilities have the right to seek admission/enrol on the same basis as prospective students without disabilities including the right to reasonable adjustments to ensure that they are able to enrol on the same basis as prospective learners without disabilities.

 

Disability Standards for Education, Section 4.1. (See Appendix 1. p. 14).

 

Obligations under the Standards for Enrolment

Education providers must allow prospective learners with disabilities to enrol without experiencing any discrimination.

This means:

1.      taking reasonable steps to ensure that the enrolment process is accessible to learners with disabilities and their associates

2.      considering learners with disabilities and their associates in the same way as learners without disabilities and their associates when deciding whether or not to offer a place

3.      consulting with the prospective learners with disabilities and their associates about:

                        – the effect of the learner’s disability on their ability to seek enrolment and

                        – to make reasonable adjustments, if necessary, to facilitate the enrolment.

 

Specific compliance measures for the Standards for Enrolment

The measures that the education provider may implement ensure the following:

1.      Information about the enrolment process addresses needs, is accessible, and is available in a range of formats.

2.      Enrolment processes are user friendly.

3.      The enrolment process occurs within a reasonable timeframe.

4.      All information about entry requirements, choice of course and progression in the educational setting is accessible to facilitate the making of informed decisions.

 

What does this mean in practice?

1.      Learners with disabilities must are able to enrol at their local DECS school/preschool.

2.      After enrolment, the learner’s placement, attendance and participation are negotiated:

        following consultation and collaboration with the parents/caregivers, DECS and non-DECS agency personnel and the learner if appropriate

        using the Negotiated Education Planning process (Refer to chapter 12 ‘Personalised Education Planning’).

 

1.      When the parents/caregivers of a child with disabilities contact the local school/ preschool to enrol their child:

        the principal/director must accept the enrolment and is able to negotiate the attendance of the child, under certain conditions. (See Appendix 3 for information about part-time attendance)

        the Negotiated Education Planning process needs to be used to gather Information about the nature and impact of the child’s disability. Professional expertise must be sought about the disability-specific needs of the learner

        consultation and negotiation with the learner, if appropriate, and/or her/his associates, is also an important part of this process.

2.      The outcome may be that:

        the learner attends the local school/preschool, or

        an alternative placement at a specialised setting is considered to be in the best interests of the learner, or

        the learner attends the local school/preschool for a certain period of time, while the suitability of the placement is reviewed. If it is then agreed that the learner should be enrolled in a more specialised setting, transition to the new setting must be considered. It is important that an explicit transition plan is prepared and implemented.

        the learner attends another preschool or school while major/minor works are completed to ensure safe access to the site.

 

If the parents do not wish to have their child in a specialised setting, it is necessary for the site and agency support personnel to develop the required support structures and processes to maximise the likelihood of positive educational outcomes for the learner.

Note: Placement in a specialised DECS setting is subject to district processes.

 

Question

The Disability Standards for Education 2005 make it unlawful to discriminate against a prospective learner who is thought to have a disability. What do you do when the parents of a child with obvious significant disabilities want to enrol their child at the local mainstream preschool or school?

Refusal of admission

 

Example – Refusal of admission

‘The parents of a boy with a psychiatric condition complained that he had been discriminated against when he was refused admission to a secondary college after the principal formed the view that he was unsuitable for mainstream schooling. After a conciliation conference [in 2000] the college apologised and agreed to pay $5,000 compensation.’

Conciliated outcomes: education. 2000. Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. ‹http://www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/ decisions/conciliation/education_conciliation.html›.

 Department of Education and Children's Services

Key Policy Statements

 

Statement of Directions 2005-2010:

Key Priority:  Our Children and Students

What are we doing currently?

1.        Developing non-discriminatory policies and practices that ensure the inclusion of children and students with disabilities.

Department of Education and Children's Services. (2005).

Statement of Directions 2005-2010, p. 4.

 

Students with Disabilities Policy (May 2006):

The Department of Education and Children's Services:

1.        acknowledges that the neighbourhood school is the first point of contact for the initial enrolment of all students.

2.        affirms its commitment to provide through special schools/units, special support options and the neighbourhood school, a range of resources and services which acknowledge the diversity of students with disabilities.

Department of Education and Children's Services.  (May 2006).

Students with Disabilities Policy, p. 2 <http://www.decs.sa.gov.au>.

 

Administrative Instructions and Guidelines

1.        Enrolments of students with disabilities - refer to SECTION:  3 STUDENT MATTERS Part 1, Attendance and Progression Provisions, p. 14.

 

Preschool Enrolment Policy

1.        Enrolment of children with disabilities and/or developmental delay in preschools - refer to Department of Education, Training and Employment. (1999) Including children with disabilities and/or developmental delay in preschools:  guidelines for successful practice.  DETE Curriculum Resources Unit, Sections 4.1 and 4.2.

 

What do I need to consider when a learner with high support needs is to be enrolled at my site?

The following points will assist in the process
and can be adapted to meet specific needs.

1. What is the learner’s background information?

Discuss with the parents/caregivers.

Contact the previous site/district office for relevant reports on:

a)      Education history

b)      Guidance officer/psychologist’s involvement

c)      Speech/language pathology

d)      Occupational therapy

e)      Physiotherapy

f)        Support agencies/services.

 

2. What medical information is available?

Find out information from the parents or from the learner’s health professionals, with parents’ permission.

a)      Health care support

b)      Medication

c)      Specialised daily procedures

d)      Special equipment

e)      Specific syndrome/condition.

 

3. What are the teaching and learning issues?

Relevant site personnel, e.g. special education and classroom teachers,
senior staff need to consider:

a)      Staff development

     Site based skill training sessions

     Assistance from disability services

     Visits to other facilities

     External seminars/workshops.

b)      Curriculum

– Content and planning

– Teaching strategies

– Program design, implementation and evaluation

– Assistance from other specialists with expertise.

c)      Communication and language needs

d)      Behaviour support and socialisation

e)      Personal needs of the learner

f)        Health care needs of the learner.

 

4. Are there any safety issues involved?

Involve specialist expertise, OHS&W officer to check with relevant site personnel:

a)      Is the site accessible and safe?

b)      Does the learner run away/wander off?

c)      Does the learner travel independently or need assistance?

d)      Are there safety issues, e.g. in Art/Craft, Physical Education, Science and Technology?

 

5. Are there any physical access issues?

Involve Facilities Officer, specialist expertise (e.g. occupational therapist, if involved) and relevant site personnel to check:

a)      Are all required areas of the site accessible to the learner, e.g. computer room, toilets, resource centre, learning areas etc?

b)      Is there an appropriate parking area to facilitate ease of access for the learner and their parent/associate or bus/taxi transport?

 

6. What resources are required?

Are additional resources needed for the learner? Is there a need to consider the re-allocation of current resources? The resources could involve:

a)      financial support, expertise, support services

b)      district support personnel

c)      the Special Education Resource Unit

d)      the appropriate support group/agency.

 

What can the site do using internal resources?

Adapted from Department of Education (QLD), 1997. Teaching students with disabilities: the school administrator. Brisbane: Education Queensland and Griffith University. Cited by Department of Education, Training and Employment. (2000). Fair and Reasonable Disability Discrimination Act Implementation Kit. Appendix 4. DETE, p. 9. Copyright in this work is owned by or licensed to the State of Queensland (acting through the Department of Education and the Arts), PO Box 15033 City East QLD 4002 Australia and is reproduced with its permission. No part may be further reproduced in hardcopy form, electronically or by any other process without the express written permission of the Department.

 Activity 1

Look at the information in the following table.

It gives details about the issues raised in complaints to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity commission (HREOC) over the period 1999-2001.

In groups, discuss the following:
Is there anything surprising in the complaints listed?
Are there any implications for your site?

 

Issues¹ raised in complaints to HREOC

 

Issue in complaint

1999-2000

2000-2001

Enrolment refused

6

5

Suspension/exclusion

2

3

Harassment

2

3

(Reasonable adjustment for disability not provided) Exams

1

4

(Reasonable adjustment for disability not provided) Materials/information

1

2

(Reasonable adjustment for disability not provided) Assistance in classroom²

15

4

(Reasonable adjustment for disability not provided) Other

7

4

Victimisation

 

1

Breach of privacy

 

1

Transport services

 

1

Parents aggrieved³

 

2

 

 

 

From Toohey, K. & Hurwitz, H. (2002). ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution in Education: Case Studies in Resolving Complaints of Disability Discrimination’. Draft paper presented for the purposes of the National Mediation Conference. Human Rights And Equal Opportunity Commission, NSW, p. 6.

1  ‘The issues have been categorised for ease of reference and refer to the major issue raised in the complaint. Often complaints are more complex and reflect the long-term nature of the relationship between the education provider and a parent and student’ (Toohey & Hurwitz, 2003: p. 6).

2  This includes complaints relating to such things as adequacy of teacher-aide time and the provision of interpreters.

3   Complaints lodged where the parents allege that they are aggrieved by the treatment of the learner or have been treated less favourably because their child has a disability.

 Activity 2

In a group, look at your site's enrolment information folder and think about the enrolment process currently in place.  Use the checklist below to decide if it complies with the Standards for Enrolment.

 

Heading - Checklist  Yes.  No.  Comment.

1.      Can this information be made available in alternative formats eg braille, audio and other language?

2.      Does the folder contain information about the curriculum, assessment and reporting, support structures and processes?

3.      Is the information comprehensive and easy to understand?

4.      Can the enrolment processes be completed without undue hardship?

5.      Is the enrolment process flexible, eg in terms of time and venue?

6.      Does the enrolment process allow for the learner and/or associate to be present and express opinions?

 

Activity 3

In a group, consider the following concerns raised by parents/associates during the enrolment process.  How would you respond to these issues?

1.      How much 1:1 support will my child get?

2.      I'm worried that my child will be bullied like he was at the other school.

3.      What are the knowledge and skills of the teachers to be able to work with my child?

4.      I work, so I don't want my child to be sent home when they get into trouble.

5.      Why can't my child be in the special class?  I know it would be better for them.

 

(Possible responses are provided below.)

Comments on Activity 3

Possible responses to these parent/associate concerns

How much 1:1 support will my child get?

1.      Explain that support is provided in a number of ways depending on the needs of the child.

2.      Describe how support is given in the classroom, in small groups or individually.

3.      Point out that school services officers provide indirect support in a variety of ways, for example, in developing classroom materials.

 

I’m worried that my child will be bullied as happened at the other school.

1.      Discuss the Preschool Site Behaviour Code or the School Discipline Policy, and the school’s behaviour code, harassment and anti-bullying policy, and how these policies are put into practice.

2.      Discuss how the preschool/school helps learners develop and use self-advocacy skills in relation to bullying and harassment.

3.      Encourage the parents/associates to work with the preschool/school to help the learner develop and use these skills.

 

What about the knowledge and skills of their teachers?

1.      Explain that all teachers are trained to work with learners with different needs.

2.      Explain, also, that if teachers need to increase their skills in this area, support is provided by professionals with expertise, sometimes at the preschool/school and/or by the teacher attending professional development sessions.

 

I work, so I don’t want my child to be sent home when they get into trouble.

1.      Explain how the school discipline policy operates and what accommodations are made for learners with disabilities and, if necessary, for their child.

2.      Negotiate processes to be followed if ‘take home’ and/or suspension are required.

3.      Explain the need to consider the safety of the student, peers and staff.

4.      For a parent of a preschool child, explain that there is no suspension or exclusion in preschool.

 

Why can’t my child be in the special class? I know it would be better for them.

1.      Explain that DECS has eligibility criteria for entry to special classes.

2.      Discuss how decisions are made at a local district level.

3.      Clarify that a school with a special class does not make the decision about which students are placed in that class.

Back to Contents

 

 

Section Two Chapter 5

Disability Discrimination Act

Standards for Participation

To whom do the standards apply?

The Standards for Participation apply to:

1.      learners with disabilities who are enrolled in an educational institution

2.      education providers.

 

 (Section 5.1 of the Disability Standards for Education. See Appendix 1. p. 16).

 

Rights

Learners with disabilities have the right to:

1.      participate in courses and programs

2.      use services and facilities

3.      have reasonable adjustments

to ensure they are able to participate in education and training on the same basis as learners without disabilities.

 

Standards for Education, Section 5.1. (See Appendix 1, p. 16).

 

Quote:

‘[Inclusion] comprises two linked processes: it is the process of increasing the participation of students in the cultures and curricula of mainstream schools and communities; it is the process of reducing the exclusion of students from mainstream cultures and curricula’.

Skidmore, D. (2004). Inclusion: The dynamic of school development. Maidenhead, Berkshire, England: Open University Press. McGraw-Hill Education, p. 35. Reproduced with the kind permission of the Open University Press/McGraw-Hill Publishing Company.

Obligations under the Standard for Participation

Education providers must ensure learners with disabilities can participate in courses and programs and use facilities and services without experiencing any discrimination.

This means:

1.      taking reasonable steps to ensure participation in courses and programs and use of facilities and services

2.      consulting with the learner or an associate about the effect of the learner’s disability on their ability to participate in courses and programs and use facilities and services

3.      considering information from this consultation when deciding whether an adjustment is necessary

4.      making a reasonable adjustment if necessary

5.      repeating this process as necessary to allow for the changing needs of the learner over time.

 

Question

Students with disabilities The Standard for Participation requires have the right to participate education providers to consult with the in the full range of programs student or his/her associate about the effect and services, and to use of the student’s disability on his/her ability services provided by DECS to participate in programs. on the same basis as students without disabilities.

What about a student, who has limited control of their arms, participating in a woodwork class?

 

Question

The Standard for Participation requires education providers to consult with the student or his/her associate about the effect of the student’s disability on his/her ability to participate in programs

Occasionally, parents of learners with disabilities want 1:1 support for their child.

What do you do when that learner doesn’t want 1:1 support?  How do you respond to the ‘learner’s voice’?

 

 

Example

Interpreters for a professional training course

‘A woman who is deaf complained that her professional association would not provide an interpreter to enable her to participate in its professional development courses. [In 2005] the complaint was settled when the association agreed to provide interpreters with 14 days’ notice’.

Conciliated outcomes: education, 2005. Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. ‹http://www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/decisions/conciliation/education_conciliation.html›.

 Specific compliance measures for the Standards for Participation

The measures that the education provider may implement ensure the following.

1.      Course or program activities are flexible.

2.      Requirements of courses or programs are reviewed in the light of information received.

3.      Appropriate programs necessary to enable participation are:

a. negotiated

b. agreed, and

c. implemented.

4.      Additional support is provided where necessary, to assist achievement of intended learning outcomes.

5.      A student who is unable to participate in a program or course activity is offered an activity that is a reasonable substitute within the overall aims of the course or program.

6.      All activities not conducted in classrooms, and associated extra-curricular activities or activities that are part of the broader educational program, are designed to be inclusive of all students.

 

What does this mean in practice?

1.   Schools/preschools and other education providers must provide education options for a range of learners with disabilities.

2.   These options may be provided in a variety of settings.

3.   These options must take into account the needs of the learner with disabilities.

4.   Participation must also be negotiated with the learner, their parents and/or associates.

 

Activity 1

Write each of the six specific compliance measures for the Standards for Participation (outlined earlier in the chapter) on a separate large sheet of paper.

Display these six sheets of paper around the room.  Provide each person/group with ‘post it’ notes.

 

Consider the following:

 

At your site, you have a student with a moderate intellectual disability.

 

Select the level of education (preschool to tertiary) that is relevant to you, as well as a particular curriculum area.

 

List the reasonable adjustments you could make to ensure that this learner is able to participate in the educational program.

 

Each person/group writes on the ‘post it’ notes examples of measures that could be used at the site that describe compliance with the Standards for Participation.

These examples are then placed on the large sheet of paper next to the compliance measure they best illustrate.

 

Activity 2

Read this scenario and discuss the questions below.

 

A year 7 student with autism in a special class also participates in the mainstream year 7 class for several lessons a week.  These include Physical Education, Art and Science, and he also attends excursions and assemblies with this class.  He has 1:1 SSO support to participate in some of these lessons, while in others he participates on his own.  He is usually happy to participate in these lessons, but over a three week period he has been observed to be increasingly anxious and withdrawn.  In discussion with the student, it was discovered he is very anxious about attending swimming.  He says he does not want to go.

 

Should he be expected to participate in this activity?  What are some relevant issues?

 

(Comments on this scenario are provided at the end of the chapter.)

For information about autism go to http://www.autism.sa.org.au/.

 

 

 

Modifications to Facilities/Physical Resources

 

Sometimes it is necessary to modify site physical resources to ensure learners with disabilities are able to participate in the edu cation program – to ensure that the learner is provided with opportunities and choices that are comparable with and available to others.

 

The Negotiated Education Planning process is used to identify any changes required.

 

It is important that district personnel, such as the disability coordinator, and the relevant disability agency personnel (who can provide disability-specific advice), are involved in this process from an early stage.

 

It is also important that the Site Physical Resources Consultant is made aware of the changes being discussed, to ensure timely completion of works.  Note that building works do take time and usually require at least 6 months’ notice.

 

When facilities need to be modified within a very short time frame, the Site Physical Resources Consultant will provide advice about accessing ‘Just in Time’ funding.

 What does the Standard mean for learners with disabilities and their participation in languages other than English?

1.      Languages is a required Learning Area and learners with disabilities have the right to participate in these lessons.

2.      It is discriminatory to assume that, because of their disability or lower literacy skill level than their peers, learners with disabilities wouldn’t benefit from participating.

3.      A program can be negotiated with the learner and/or their associate provided it assists the achievement of intended learning outcomes/goals.

4.      This agreement needs to be documented in the learner’s signed Negotiated Education Plan/Individual Learning Plan.

5.      Preschool Bilingual Program Workers are available in preschools to support the inclusion of children with additional needs from non-English speaking backgrounds.

 

Part-time attendance

Schooling is compulsory for learners from 6–16 years of age. An exemption is required for any student to attend only part-time at school, or not to attend at all.

See Appendix 3 for details about when the principal can approve the exemption and when the principal must seek approval from DECS.

 Department of Education and Children's Services

Key Policy Statements

Statement of Directions 2005-2010:

'The purpose of care and public education is to support all children and students to gain the knowledge, skills and attributes necessary to enable them to participate fully as confident and competent citizens in all aspects of society, irrespective of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, dominant language or health'.

Department of Education and Children's Services.  (2005). Statement of Directions 2005-2010, p.2.

 

Students with Disabilities Policy (May 2006):

'The Department of Education and Children's Services:

1.      Encourages parents/caregivers, teachers, service providers and other agencies to work in partnership to build on the strengths of students with disabilities and to give them the opportunity in achieving to the best of their ability.

2.      Encourages schools, to ensure that students with disabilities have access to community resources and that they can participate in their local learning environment'.

Department of Education and Children's Services.  (May 2006).

Students with Disabilities Policy, p.2. <http://www.decs.sa.gov.au>.

Access to events

A new guide has been produced for event organisers to help bring down the barriers to participation for people with a disability.

Accessible Events — a Guide for Organisers, developed by Meeting Events Australia and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC), helps organisers to make their events more accessible to the millions of Australians with a disability.

A copy of the guide is available through the HREOC homepage:
< http://www.humanrights.gov.au/index.html
>.

Discussion points for Activity 2

1.      The need for prior negotiation and planning with the student and/or his parents

2.      Consideration of behaviour traits associated with his disability, e.g. sensory issues related to water, raised anxiety levels in unfamiliar situations

3.      Potential advantage to the student if he does participate

4.      Strategies to support the learner’s participation

5.      It is compulsory for all year 7 students to participate in the swimming program.

Back to Contents

 

Section Two Chapter 6

Disability Discrimination Act

Standards for Curriculum Development, Accreditation and Delivery

When do the standards apply?

The Standards for Curriculum Development, Accreditation and Delivery apply if:

1.      a course/program is designed by an education provider, and

2.      learners with disabilities undertake the course/program, or

3.      it can be expected that learners with disabilities may want to participate in the course/program.

 

(Section 6.1 of the Disability Standards for Education. See Appendix 1. p. 18).

Rights

Learners with disabilities have the right to:

1.      participate in course and programs that are designed to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding, including relevant supplementary programs, on the same basis as learners without disabilities.

Disability Standards for Eduction, Part 6, Section 6.1. (See Appendix 1, p.18).

 

2.      have reasonable adjustments to ensure they are able to participate in education and training on the same basis as learners without disabilities.

 Obligations under the Standards for Curriculum Development, Accreditation and Delivery

Education providers must take reasonable steps to ensure that a course/program is:

1.      designed to enable learners with disabilities to participate in learning experiences (including assessment and certification)

2.      planned in consultation with the learner and associate and

3.      has taken into consideration whether the disability affects the learner’s ability to participate in the learning experiences

 

on the same basis as learners without disabilities.

Making adjustments

In light of the consultation, the education provider decides whether an adjustment is necessary and, if necessary, makes that reasonable adjustment.  This process must be repeated to allow for the changing needs of the learner with disabilities over time.

 

Specific compliance measures for the Standards for Curriculum Development, Accreditation and Delivery

The education provider may need to implement special measures to enable the learner with disabilities to participate in the learning experiences on the same basis as a learner without disabilities. These measures may include assessment requirements for the course/program.

Such measures may ensure that:

1.      curriculum teaching materials are available in a range of formats

2.      appropriate assessment/certification requirements are adapted to enable the learner with disabilities to demonstrate knowledge, skills or competencies being assessed

3.      program delivery modes and learning activities take into account the learning capacities and needs of the learner with disabilities and the intended educational outcomes

4.      supplementary/bridging courses or programs to develop disability-specific skills of personnel are provided.

5.      Off-site activities are designed to include the learner.

 

 What does this mean in practice?

1.      Curriculum is planned to meet the needs of all learners.

2.      Curriculum is delivered in a variety of ways to meet the needs of all learners.

3.      A range of assessment options is planned and made available.

4.      Appropriate accreditation can be obtained.

 

This Standard requires education providers to take reasonable steps to ensure that the course or program is designed in such a way that any learner with disabilities is able to participate in the learning experiences (including the assessment and certification requirements) of the course or program, and any supplementary course or program, on the same basis as learners without disabilities.

The South Australian Curriculum Standards and Accountability (SACSA) Framework provides the curriculum entitlement for all learners, including those with disabilities. Accommodations and/or modifications must be provided, as needed, to help ensure learner achievement against the SACSA Framework Standards and Outcomes.

The needs of the learner determine what appropriate action to take.

Some learners have disabilities that need not prevent them from achieving educational Outcomes and Standards commensurate with their peers without disabilities. This is provided that necessary accommodations are made to the way in which they are expected to learn and to assessment tasks used to demonstrate outcomes.

Other learners have disabilities that will prevent them from achieving educational Outcomes and Standards or particular learning goals commensurate with their peers. However, they may, with assistance or modification, perform some of the tasks and competencies associated with the Outcomes and Standards.

 

In some cases, the nature, type and degree of severity of their disability may mean that the Outcomes and Standards are not considered relevant. Alternatively, the expectations and program delivery may need to be modified to the extent that they are significantly different from that of their peers.

The scope of the curriculum provided for learners with disabilities is identified through the Negotiated Education Planning (NEP) process and recorded in the Learning Plan. (See chapter 12 ‘Personalised Education Planning’ for further information about the NEP process).

In the senior years, particularly years 11 and 12, the SACSA Framework can dovetail with external curricula such as the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) and Vocational Education and Training (VET).

SSABSA oversees the curriculum and assessment requirements for SACE. SSABSA policy allows eligible students to demonstrate their knowledge and capabilities in different ways. This Special Provisions in Curriculum and Assessment Policy is particularly relevant to students with disabilities.

The SSABSA website <http://www.ssabsa.sa.edu.au> provides detailed information about the curriculum and assessment options for students with disabilities.

Accommodations/adjustments

Accommodations/adjustments can be clustered into four categories: Presentation, Response, Setting and Timing. Additional accommodations are listed in the ‘Learning Plan’ section of the Negotiated Education Plan. See the NEP website at <http://www.decs.sa.gov.au>.

Presentation

Assessment, teaching and learning may include:

1.      Alternating new learning with opportunities for practice

2.      Repeating instructions

3.      Cue cards

4.      Tapes, videos, DVDs

5.      Reading aloud

6.      Large print

7.      Magnification devices

8.      Interpreters

9.      Signing

10.  Braille.

 

Response

Learners could respond in a variety of ways:

1.      Verbally

2.      By drawing

3.      By using word processors

4.      Through photos

5.      With videos

6.      By another person scribing

7.      Using model-making

8.      Using voice-activated software

9.      By signing

10.  Through a communication device

11.  Using a Braille writer.

 

Setting

Assessment, teaching and learning may occur in different settings, for example:

1.      in small groups

2.      in class with peer support

3.      in a separate venue or room

4.      with additional equipment such as a sloping desk-top or thicker pencils.

 

Timing

Adjustments may need to be made to the time allocation for assessment, teaching and learning activities. For example, a teacher could:

1.      extend the waiting time for answers

2.      extend the time to complete tasks

3.      reduce the number of tasks

4.      alter the time of day that the task is done

5.      allow breaks during the activity.

 

Adapted from Department of Education and Children’s Services. (2004). Early Intervention Learning Difficulties Working collaboratively: improving outcomes for learners. DECS, pp. 131–2.

Examples of assessment options:

1.      portfolios

2.      checklists

3.      work samples

4.      multimedia presentations

5.      oral questioning

6.      peer evaluation and self-evaluation

7.      anecdotal recording

8.      charts / posters

9.      oral presentations

10.  adults recording answers

11.  constructing eg models

12.  digital photos

 

Example

School assessment adjusted

‘A father complained that his son, who has a number of disabilities including Asperger’s syndrome and Tourette syndrome, was being discriminated against by an assessment system for English oral presentation.

[In 2004] the complaint was settled with an agreement to provide a number of modifications to testing procedures for the student to accommodate his disabilities, including taking tests in familiar environments and being allowed to colour code his notes’.

Conciliated outcomes: education, 2004. Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. ‹http://www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/decisions/conciliation/education_conciliation.html›.

Activity 1

 

Reading this scenario and discuss the question below:

 

All students with disabilities in a secondary school have an Access Card in their diaries and each teacher has a copy of the Access Cards for the students they teach.

Many of the students' Access Card state 'limited or no copying from the board'.

Two teachers continue to put copious quantities for information on the board without providing printed copies for students with disabilities or allowing them extra time to copy from the board or from a buddy.

 

How do the actions of these two teachers disregard the Standard for Curriculum Development, Accreditation and Delivery?

 

Discussion points for this scenario are provided at the end of the chapter.

 

Activity 2

 

For this activity, you will need the SACSA Framework resource.

 

1.      Read the details for students 1-4 and select a student similar to one you teach.

2.      Turn to the next page, and

     Read the section below ‘How do I cater for the diversity of learners within a class/group?

     Follow the process steps below under ‘How do I use this model for inclusive programming?

Student 1

1.      Six year old male, in year 1

2.      Interests – trains, dinosaurs

3.      Socially withdrawn

4.      Expressive and receptive language difficulties

5.      Fine and gross motor skills less than age appropriate

6.      Becomes anxious when expected to attempt new tasks.

 

Student 2

1.      Eight year old female

2.      Interests – playing with soft toys especially dolls, interacting with peers and younger learners, drawing

3.      Literacy skills approximately three years less than her peers

4.      Difficulty coping with changes to routine

5.      Hearing difficulties due to ear infections

6.      Absences average six to ten days per term.

 

Student 3

1.      Thirteen year old male, in year 8

2.      Interests – cricket, soccer, construction activities

3.      Popular with peers

4.      Limited intellectual functioning

5.      Language disorder

6.      Easily distracted

7.      Has difficulty with organisation skills.

 

Student 4

1.      Fourteen year old female, in year 9

2.      Less than age appropriate social skills

3.      Likes using a computer and watching DVDs about pop stars

4.      Waits for 1:1 adult support to begin tasks

5.      Autism

6.      Limited body awareness

7.      Limited verbal skills

For information about autism go to http://www.autismsa.org.au/.

 

Activity 2 continued

 

How do I cater for the diversity of learners within a class/group:

‘All, Most, Some’ Support Plan

The ‘All, Most, Some’ model developed by Schumm, Vaughn and Leavell (1994) provides educators with a pyramid framework for inclusive planning.

A triangle showing what students learn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


1.      What some learners will learn

2.      What most learners will learn

3.      What all learners will learn

Adapted from Schumm, JS, Vaughn, S and Leavell, AG (1994)

‘Planning Pyramid:  A framework for planning for diverse student needs during content area instruction’; Reading Teacher.47.8, 608-15. Copyright 1994 by the International Reading Association.

 

How do I use this model for inclusive programming?

The process:

1.      Select a topic/unit of work

2.      Consider the Standards and Outcomes that will be addressed from the Learning Area(s) in the SACSA Framework.

3.      Identify what learners need to know and be able to demonstrate in order to achieve the outcome(s).

4.      Identify the curriculum differentiation in the form of accommodations and strategies to support success; resources can also be listed.

5.      Design methods to collect evidence of learning.

 

Use the flow chart of the following page to plant curriculum content, delivery and assessment for the class of which that learner is a member.

 

Activity 2 Curriculum planning proforma

A blank proforma

Second Box:
Considerations:
Ability to follow verbal instructions
Writing ability
Ability to express himself/herself and make their needs known
(6 extra dot points to fill in)

Leads to and joins 3 final boxes.
First Box
Student:
Curriculum Area:
Strand:
Outcomes:

Joined to second Box

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Final Boxes 
3a
Learning Activities:
All
Most
Some
3b
Differentiation - Teaching Strategies / Accommodations
All 
Most
Some
3c
Assessment
(7 dot points)
 

 

 

 

 


Curriculum and equity for learners with disabilities

The South Australian Curriculum Standards and Accountability (SACSA) Framework provides key information about curriculum and equity for different groups of learners.

See Department of Education, Training and Employment (2001) South Australian Curriculum Standards and Accountability Framework. General Introduction, pp. 18–21. The document is available online at<http://www.sacsa.sa.edu.au>.

Department of Education and Children’s Services Key Policy Statements

Statement of Directions 2005–2010:

Key Goal: Excellence in Learning: Provision, Achievement and Pathways

Objective:

‘Improve the collaborative arrangements between preschools, schools and community agencies providing specialist support services which meet the specific needs of children and students with disabilities’.

Department of Education and Children’s Services. (2005). Statement of Directions 2005–2010, p. 7.

Students with Disabilities Policy (May 2006):

‘The Department of Education and Children’s Services:

1.        recognises that the appropriate education of students with disabilities is based on curriculum needs rather than the description of disability. Disability alone does not necessarily determine special educational provision.

2.        is committed to negotiating and documenting an appropriate curriculum for students with disabilities through the Negotiated Education Plan.

3.        acknowledges the responsibilities of all Department personnel to provide an appropriate curriculum and to ensure an effective delivery of services to students with disabilities.

4.        ensures the Curriculum Frameworks in South Australia provide the
curriculum entitlement for all learners, including students with disabilities’.

Department of Education and Children’s Services. (May 2006). Students with Disabilities Policy, p. 2. ‹http://www.decs.sa.gov.au›.

 

Further Information

SACSA website <http://www.sacsa.sa.edu.au>.

Senior Secondary Assessment Board of South Australia website <http://www.ssabsa.sa.edu.au>.

SACE website <http://www.ssabsa.sa.edu.au/sace.htm>.

Special Education Resource Unit website http://web.seru.sa.edu.au

 

Discussion points for Activity 1

Points to consider include:

1.      consideration not given to how the students’ disability impacts on their ability to participate in the lesson as delivered by the teacher

2.      ignoring disability-specific advice.

 

Back to Contents

 

 

Section Two Chapter 7

Disability Discrimination Act

Standards for Student Support Services

To whom do the standards apply?

The Standards for Student Support Services apply to:

1.      learners with disabilities who are enrolled in an educational institution

2.      education providers.

 

 (Section 7.1 of the Disability Standards for Education. See Appendix 1. p. 20).

Rights

Learners with disabilities have ‘rights in relation to student support services provided by educational authorities and institutions on the same basis as students with disabilities’.

The Standards also give learners with disabilities ‘rights in relation to specialised support services needed for them to participate in the educational activities for which they are enrolled.  These services include specialist expertise, personal education support or support for personal and medical care, without which some learners with disabilities would not be able to access education and training’.

Disability Standards for Education, Section 7.1. (See Appendix 1, p. 20).

 Types of support

Depending on the needs of all involved, the type and intensity of support provided in an educational setting will vary.

‘One of the most significant contributions any educational team member can make is to identify and build on an individual student’s strengths and gifts to form a basis for future success in personal, academic and vocational pursuits’.

York, J., Giangreco, M. F., Vandercook, T. & Macdonald, C. (1996). ‘Integrating support personnel in the inclusive classroom’ in Stainback, S, & Stainback, W. (eds). Curriculum considerations in inclusive classrooms. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., p. 101. Reprinted by permission.

Obligations under the Standards for Student Support Services

Education providers need to take reasonable steps to:

1.      ensure that learners with disabilities are able to use support services provided in general on the same basis as learners without disabilities

2.      ensure learners with disabilities have access to specialised support services if necessary to be able to participate in education and training

3.      facilitate the provision of specialised support services to learners with disabilities if those services are not provided by the education provider.

 

Specialised services

These include:

1.      services in health, personal care and therapy, and

2.      services provided by speech pathologists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists.

 

Although DECS does not provide all the above services, there is an obligation to liaise with agencies to facilitate these services.

A wide range of service providers is listed in chapter 13 ‘Support Service and Community partnerships’.

The best support is that which helps achieve desired outcomes.

An important aspect of support is identifying the outcome being sought. Providing support must include:

1.      goal setting

2.      monitoring progress

3.      measuring achievement.

 

Education providers must:

1.      consult the learner with disabilities or their associate about whether the disability affects the learner’s ability to access support services

2.      in light of the consultation, decide whether an adjustment is necessary to ensure that the learner is able to access support services, and

3.      make a reasonable adjustment, if necessary, for the learner to be able to participate in education and training.

 

The above process must be followed in regard to the provision of specialised support services.

Education providers must review and repeat these processes as necessary to allow for the changing needs of the learner over time.

 Support services checklist

Have you provided the learner (or associate) with:

1.      awareness of support services available?

2.      Consultation about the need to access specialist support services and the necessary adjustments?

3.      Information about access to specialist support services that may be necessary for the learner to participate in the educational program?

4.      An offer of facilitation to other services if necessary?

5.      The opportunity to consult the learner and/or their associate about whether the disability affects the learner’s ability to access support services?

6.      Appropriate consultation about reasonable adjustments necessary? (Adjustments can be (1) environmental, eg facilities, (2) equipment and/or (3) curriculum.)

7.      Necessary preferred or alternative adjustments?

8.      Adjustments that are the least disruptive and obtrusive?

9.      The opportunity to negotiate the outcome of the activity for which support is required, with the site, learner and/or associate and relevant support personnel?

10. Access to appropriately trained staff?

11. Clear documentation of the reasonable adjustments, aims and outcomes negotiated?

12. Provision for the changing needs of the learner over time by establishing regular review processes?

 Activity 1

 

The Support Services checklist on the previous page includes a number of aspects of implementing the DDA Standards for Support Services.

 

In small groups, discuss one of the following scenarios in relation to these aspects and discuss the question below.

 

Scenario 1:  A four year old girl with a history of extensive seizure activity is making the transition from a child care setting to a preschool.  She likes looking at books and playing with soft toys and puppets.  She is not yet toilet trained.  She ahs a special diet to help control seizure activity and requires sleep during the day at irregular times.

 

She relates very well to her mother but not to other adults.  She has been placed in voluntary care on several occasions.  She has no verbal communication skills and limited ability to interact socially with peers.

 

When the girl is upset she often screams very loudly and the other children become distressed.

 

What are the support services issues that preschool staff should be discussing with the parents/caregivers?

 

Scenario 2:  An 18 year old has an intellectual disability and a physical disability, requiring use of a wheelchair.  He has some verbal communication, supplemented by the use of visual communication cards.  He has been attending a special school and is preparing to move from school into a program of day options, run by a disability support organisation.

 

What are the support service issues that school staff should be discussing with the learner and parents/caregivers?

 

Discussion points for these scenarios and some notes about Transition Planning are given at the end of the chapter.

Question:

A three and a half year old child with autism has been participating in an early intervention behaviour program. During an enrolment meeting at the preschool, the parents request that the behaviour therapist works with the child at the preschool during the preschool session. How do you respond?

(See Appendix 4 for information about direct support of learners by non-DECS personnel, during the hours of instruction.)

Example:

Diabetes at school

‘A mother complained that a school had failed to take reasonable measures

to accommodate her daughter’s diabetes. [In 2002] the complaint was resolved with an agreement for a diabetes educator to present information to staff at the school, a meeting to be held with a Diabetes Nurse Educator to develop a management plan, and that every endeavour be made to ensure that the girl not be excluded from any program, activity or service provided by the school due to her diabetes’.

Conciliated outcomes: education, 2002. Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.http://www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/decisions/conciliation/education_conciliation.html›.

Specific compliance measures for the Standards for Student Support Services

The measures that the education provider may implement ensure the following.

1.      Staff are aware of specialised services available and are provided with information that enables them to assist learners with disabilities to access support services.

2.      Provision of specialised services for the learner with disabilities is facilitated where necessary. This may involve collaborative arrangements with specialised service providers.

3.      Necessary specialised equipment is provided to support learners with disabilities participating in the course or program.

4.      Appropriately trained support staff are made available to learners with disabilities, e.g. specialist teachers, learning support personnel, interpreters or scribes.

 

What does this mean in practice?

1.      If a specialist support service is necessary for a learner with disabilities to be able to participate in the activities for which he/she is enrolled, the provider must take reasonable steps to ensure that the learner has access to that service.

2.      If these specialised support services are not the kind provided by the education institution (for example, physiotherapy or occupational therapy) the provider must take reasonable steps to facilitate the provision of the service.

3.      Also, learners with disabilities need to have access to the same support services as learners without disabilities.

 

Specialised equipment

This includes Assistive technologies. These are devices that are used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Examples include:

1.      Desktops

2.      Laptops

3.      Dedicated word processors (e.g. Alphasmart, QuickPads)

4.      Hand held devices with a range of software options (e.g. BoardMaker, Clicker, Dragon Naturally Speaking)

5.      Alternative key boards (e.g. on screen, big keys, Intellikeys)

6.      Alternate point devices (e.g. stylus, touch screen)

7.      Mounting systems for wheelchairs.

 

The DECS Special Education Resource Unit can assist with the provision of this kind of equipment <http://web.seru.sa.edu.au>. Further information on Assistive Technologies can be obtained from <http://www.setbc.org/setbc/default.html>.

Assistive technologies can enable and/or enhance learners’ access, participation and achievement. Successful use of assistive technologies involves careful planning, selection, training and monitoring. The need for assistive technologies should be identified in the learner’s Negotiated Education Plan according to their learning goals.

An assessment needs to be undertaken to match the most appropriate technologies to the learner’s strengths and needs. Assessments should be undertaken by a team that can include: the learner; the parents/caregivers; the classroom teacher, school or district support teacher; the school services officer; and a health professional such as a physiotherapist, occupational therapist or speech therapist.

 

The assessment should include the following:

1.      physical considerations

2.      sensory considerations

3.      cognitive considerations

4.      environmental considerations

5.      available assistive technology.

 

Training needs for staff and the learner should be identified at the time of assessment.

The technology should be trialled in the context in which it will be used.

Implementation should be monitored and re-assessment undertaken as needed.

Learners with refugee and migrant experience

A group of DECS employees in the West and Inner South Metro districts have developed some resources to help support learners with disabilities from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Their materials focus particularly on learners with refugee and migrant experience. It is intended to publish the resources within DECS.

Questions raised in the materials include:

1.      Does the concept of disability exist within the family’s culture or cultural beliefs?

2.      Does a word for disability exist?

3.      Does a generic term exist to describe disabilities, instead of individual labels such as autism, or Down syndrome?

4.      How does the family and culture support or accept an individual with disability?

5.      Is there understanding that individuals with disabilities can develop independent skills to function in the community?

6.      What awareness and understanding does the family have of services and support available within and outside DECS?

 

Aboriginal learners

Information about Aboriginal learners with disabilities is available in the publication Aboriginal Students with Disabilities (2003), Ministerial Advisory Committee: Students with Disabilities. Adelaide. The document is available from the website of the Ministerial Advisory Committee <http://www.macswd.sa.gov.au/>. Section 4 ‘Discussion’ includes such topics as:

1.      Aboriginal concept of disability

2.      culturally appropriate assessment

3.      classroom issues

4.      home/school interactions

5.      support service issues.

 Department of Education and Children’s Services

Key Policy Statements

Statement of Directions 2005–2010:

Key Goal: Excellence in Learning: Provision, Achievement and Pathways

‘We know that all children and students, given the appropriate time land support, can achieve academic and social success.  It is up to us to ensure that, regardless of individual circumstance, they all receive the support they require to achieve the highest standards possible.

Department of Education and Children’s Services. (2005). Statement of Directions 2005–2010, p. 6.

Students with Disabilities Policy (May 2006):

‘The Department of Education and Children’s Services:

1.        is committed to building organisational capacity by ensuring professional learning activities are targeted to support the staff that work with the learners and their families/carers and advocates.

2.        Will enter into documented collaborative arrangements with outside agencies to ensure effective coordinated delivery of service to support students with disabilities and their families/carers.

 

Department of Education and Children’s Services. (May 2006). Students with Disabilities Policy, p. 3. ‹http://www.decs.sa.gov.au›.

 

Activity 2

 

Read the following scenario and discuss how, as principal, you would respond.  You could start by considering the question:  what are the issues that need to be addressed?

 

The parents of a child with cerebral palsy provide their child’s school with a copy of a private speech pathologist’s report recommending two 30-minute speech therapy sessions per week.  The parents are able to pay for this support for their child and want the speech pathologist to provide the sessions at school during school times.

 

See Appendix 4 for information about a range of issues that should be considered.

For information about cerebral palsy go to the Novita website at <http.www.cca.org.au/>.

 

Activity 3

 

1.      Divide staff into pairs.

2.      Some pairs list the internal support structures available at your site.

3.      The remaining pairs list the external support services that you know about for learners with disabilities and /or their parents/caregivers.

4.      Combine the responses from pairs to form one list of support services and structures available for your site.

 

Discussion points for this scenario are provided at the end of the chapter.

 

 Comments on Activity 1

In applying the Standards to these scenarios, the preschool/school needs to note that the Standard for Support Services covers two obligations — support services available to all learners and Specialised Support Services for learners with a disability. Where necessary, the provision of specialised services for these learners needs to be facilitated through collaborative arrangements with Specialised Service providers. It is important that district support services staff are involved in this process.

Scenario 1

Points to consider include:

1.      development of an Individual Learning Plan (refer to page98)

2.      development of a Health Support Plan (refer to page 98)

3.      recognition of the knowledge and skills of the parents and their ability to contribute to support plans

4.      involvement of support services staff (refer to pages 103–105).

 

Scenario 2

Points to consider include:

1.      consultation with the student and parents/caregivers about preferred, achievable and available post school options

2.      review of the student’s Negotiated Education Plan (refer to page 96)and Transition Plan (refer to page 98)

3.      participation in required referral and assessment processes of disability support organisations

4.      taking reasonable steps to facilitate access to trial visits to day options programs.

 

 Transition Planning

The scenarios in Activity 1 highlight the need for detailed and comprehensive transition planning for learners with disabilities.

Transition to preschool, school, across levels of schooling (e.g. primary to secondary) and to post school life for these learners can be a time of considerable uncertainty — for both parents/caregivers and for the learners themselves.

It is important that staff of education providers are aware of their obligations in relation to the:

1.      provision of reasonable adjustments to enable the learner to participate in the learning program (refer to page 8)

2.      wellbeing of other learners and staff not directly involved with the learners with disabilities.

 

Collaborative consultation must occur with all key people.

A transition plan needs to detail roles and responsibilities, actions and timelines, as well as evaluation and review procedures.

Comments on Activity 3

Internal supports could include such things as:

1.      Learner review team

2.      Learning Assistance Program

3.      Early intervention program

4.      Peer mediation program

5.      Buddy/mentor system

6.      Cross-age tutoring

7.      Student services

8.      Learning support leaders

9.      Equal Opportunity officer

 

A range of potential external supports is provided in chapter 13 ‘Support Service and Community Partnerships’.

 

Back to Contents

 

 

 Section Two Chapter 8

Disability Discrimination Act

Standards for Harassment and Victimisation

To whom do the standards apply?

The Standards for Harassment and Victimisation apply to:

1.      an educational institution or an educational authority that administers the educational institution

if either:

2.      a learner with a disability is enrolled in the educational institution or the provider has a reasonable expectation that a student with a disability may enrol.

(Section 8.1 of the Disability Standards for Education. See Appendix 1. p. 23).

Rights

Learners with disabilities have the right to:

Education and training in an environment that is free from discrimination caused

by harassment and victimisation on the basis of their disability.  The Standards also support the right of learners who have associates with disabilities to an educational environment free from discrimination, harassment or victimisation in relation to those disabilities.

The effect of these Standards is to require educational institutions to have in place strategies and programs to secure these rights.

Disability Standards for Education, Section 8.2. (See Appendix 1, p. 23).

 

Harassment is an action taken in relation to the person or associate’s disability that is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to humiliate, offend, intimidate or distress the person or the associate.

‘Disability harassment can have a profound impact on students, raise safety concerns, and erode efforts to ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to benefits that an education offers. Indeed, harassment can seriously interfere with the ability of students with disabilities to receive the education critical to their advancement’.

New Jersey Protection and Advocacy, Inc. Bulletin. ‘Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying of Children with Disabilities’. Available at ‹http://www.njpanda.org/pdf/bltnbully.pdf›.

It is unlawful to harass or victimise a person with a disability, or any of their associates. The following material provides examples of harassment and victimisation of learners with disabilities.

Harassment could include such things as insensitive comments, inappropriate SMS messages, photographs, cartoons and inappropriate body language or T-shirt slogans.

Victimisation happens when someone has been treated unfairly for complaining or helping others to complain about an incident of discrimination or harassment.

An example follows:

Tasmin, with the help of her friend Jamie, spoke to the school principal about other students bullying her during class because of her disability. Their teacher was unhappy that they had done this and ridiculed both of them in front of the class.

From the website of the South Australian Equal Opportunity Commission‹http://www.eoc.sa.gov.au/› (EO 4 Schools/Serious Stuff).

Obligations under the Standards for Harassment and Victimisation

An education provider must:

1.      develop and implement strategies and programs to prevent harassment or victimisation of a learner with a disability or a learner’s associate with a disability, in relation to the disability

2.      take reasonable steps to ensure that its staff and learners are informed about:

        their obligation not to harass or victimise learners with disabilities or learners’ associates with disabilities

        taking appropriate action if harassment or victimisation occurs

        complaint mechanisms available to a learner with a disability, or the learner’s associate, who is harassed or victimised in relation to the learner’s disability.

 

Other important information

Section 42 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 makes it an offence to victimise a person for acting to assert their rights under the Act or Standards.

Behaviours which could be humiliating, offensive, intimidating or distressing include:

1.       name calling

2.       invading personal space

3.       aggressive and/or negative body language

4.       sending abusive texts via mobile phones

5.       covert remarks

6.       physical and/or verbal abuse

7.       teasing

8.       ‘setting up’ for ridicule or openly ridiculing

9.       spreading rumours

10.   exclusion from groups and social activities



Bullying may be:

1.       physical — punching, poking, hair pulling, biting, hitting, excessive tickling

2.       verbal — hurtful name-calling, teasing, gossip, offensive text messaging

3.       emotional — rejecting, humiliating, blackmailing, manipulating friendships, isolating, peer pressure, defaming, rating/ranking of personal characteristics such as disability, race, perceived sexual orientation

4.       sexual – includes many of the actions above as well as sexual propositioning, harassment, abuse involving actual physical contact, sexual assault.

 

Adapted from: US Department of Education (1998) ‘Preventing Bullying – A Manual for Schools and Communities’. Available at LDOnLine. ‹http://www.ldonline.org/ld_indepth/social_skills/preventing_bullying.html›.

 Specific compliance measures for the Standards for Harassment and Victimisation

The measures that the education provider may implement to enable the learner with disabilities to participate in education and training in an environment free from Harassment and Victimisation include:

1.      the provider having policies, procedures and codes of conduct explicitly prohibiting harassment and victimisation of learners with disabilities and of associates of learners with disabilities

2.      fair, transparent and accountable procedures for handling complaints

3.      the provider effectively informing and reminding staff and students at appropriate intervals of their rights and responsibilities to maintain an environment free from harassment and victimisation

4.      professional development programs that ensure that policies, procedures and codes of conduct are known and understood by staff and that staff are trained to identify and deal with harassment

5.      any cases or complaints of harassment or victimisation on the basis of disability being dealt with promptly and with consideration given to the seriousness of the complaint.

 

What does this mean in practice?

1.      All personnel are aware of, and abide by DECS policies/guidelines for harassment, grievance procedures and occupational, health, safety and welfare policies/guidelines.

2.      All sites develop and implement policies to address harassment and bullying for all students.

3.      Policies/guidelines for harassment, grievance procedures specifically include reference to learners with disabilities.

4.      All sites develop and inform all members of the school community about grievance procedures.

5.      DECS regulations and site policies and procedures in relation to harassment and grievance procedures are reviewed regularly.

 

Activity 1

 

Use this checklist to ensure that your site’s ani-bullying policy complies with the Standards for Harassment and Victimisation.  The answers to the following questions should be ‘yes’.

 

Checklist

1.      Does the policy specifically mention learners with disabilities?

2.      Does the policy specifically mention the associates of learners with disabilities?

3.      Are the procedures for handling complaints clearly stated?

4.      Do all learners and members of the wider school community know these procedures?

5.      Do these procedures facilitate prompt investigation and response?

6.      Do learners know what to do when they experience victimisation or when they observe another learner being bullied?

7.      Does the policy have an inbuilt review mechanism so that staff and learns are regularly reminded of their roles and responsibilities in relation to the maintenance of an environment free from harassment and victimisation?

 

Question:

Learners with disabilities have the right to education or training in an environment that is free from discrimination caused by harassment and victimisation on the basis of their disability.

What about a learner with disabilities who continually appears to be the perpetrator of harassment and/or victimisation of other students?

What about a parent/caregiver with a disability who harasses and/or victimises a teacher or learning support person?

 

Example:

Responding to bullying

‘A mother complained that her son who has an autistic disorder had been discriminated against when he was suspended from school. She said her son was constantly bullied at school and reacted to bullying by being aggressive, and that the school had taken action only against her son and not the bullies. After a conciliation conference and further negotiations an agreement was reached [in 2001] for the boy to return to school with the support of an intervention plan, additional teacher aide time and an individual education program, as well as for the review of the school’s suspension policy and strategies for dealing with bullying’.

Conciliated outcomes: education, 2001. Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.‹http://www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/decisions/conciliation/education_conciliation.html›.

For further information about bullying see Department of Education and Children’s Services (DECS) 2004. Reducing bullying in schools: A professional development resource. DECS Publishing. Adelaide.

 

Child Protection

Three sources of information relevant to the protection of learners with disabilities are on the DECS website <http://www.decs.sa.gov.au> :

1.      the document ‘Protective practices for staff in their interactions with students: guidelines for schools, preschools and out of school hours care’; this has a section ‘Working with students with special needs’

2.      the section on Mandatory Notification. Some of the Frequently Asked Questions have implications for learners with disabilities

3.      the DECS Child Protection Policy.

 

Department of Education and Children’s Services Key Policy Statements

Statement of Directions 2005–2010:

‘Wellbeing refers to children and students’ physical, social and emotional welfare and development. Evidence suggests that these elements are integral rather than incidental to learning. A learner will find it difficult to engage with learning programs if they are distracted by significant physical, social and emotional issues’.

Engagement and Wellbeing Targets

‘All schools to have developed an anti-bullying policy by 2005’.

Department of Education and Children’s Services. (2005). Statement of Directions 2005–2010, p. 8.

Students with Disabilities Policy (May 2006):

‘All students with a disability have the right to participate in education in a safe environment free from harassment and victimisation.

Consistent with this commitment and the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992:

1.        The policies, procedures and codes of conduct of staff and students will explicitly prohibit harassment and victimisation of students with disabilities or their associates, on the basis of disability.

2.        The procedures for handling any complaints of harassment and victimisation relating to disability will be fair, transparent and accountable.

3.        Students and staff will be effectively informed and reminded of their rights and responsibilities in maintaining a safe environment free from harassment and victimisation on the basis of disability.

4.        Any complaints of harassment or victimisation on the basis of disability will be handled promptly and with due regard to the seriousness of the matter…’.

 

Department of Education and Children’s Services. (May 2006). Students with Disabilities Policy, p. 3. ‹http://www.decs.sa.gov.au›.

 Activity 2

 

Persistent or pervasive harassment creates a hostile environment, which can contravene a learner’s rights under the Standards for Harassment and Victimisation.

 

Consider the following examples of harassment.

 

1.      Several students continually remark out loud to other students during class that a student with dyslexia is ‘retarded’ or a ‘retard’.  As a result the harassed student has difficulty doing work in class and her level of achievement declines.

2.      A staff member belittles and criticises a learner with a disability for needing accommodations and for not remembering previously taught work.

 

How do these examples relate to the principles of the DDA and Standards for Education?

 

List the strategies that could be used to resolve each situation.

 

Share your strategies with other personnel.

 

Comments on these scenarios are given on the following page.

 

For information about dyslexia go to <http://www.ldonline.org/indepth/dyslexia>.

 

Further Information

Department of Education, Training and Employment (2000). Grievance procedures for employees, children’s services & schools. This is available through the DECS website at <http://www.decs.sa.gov.au>.

Department of Education and Children’s Services, Association of Independent Schools SA and Catholic Education SA (2005). Protective practices for staff in their interactions with students: guidelines for schools, preschools and out of school hours care. This is available through the DECS website at <http://www.decs.sa.gov.au/>.

Department of Education and Children’s Services (DECS) 2004. Reducing bullying in schools: A professional development resource. DECS Publishing. Adelaide.

Department of Education, Training and Employment (2000).

Responding to concerns from parents and caregivers in DETE

preschools and schools. DETE Publishing. Adelaide.

 

Comments on Activity 2

 

Standards require educational institutions to have strategies and programs to support the right of learners with disabilities to education in an environment that is free from discrimination caused by harassment and victimisation about their disability.

Strategies could include:

1.      raising awareness of the rights of learners with disabilities in relation to the Standards (refer to page 67)

2.      raising awareness of the obligation of staff and students not to harass or victimise students with disabilities (refer to page 68)

3.      focussing on disability awareness for staff and students

4.      reviewing expectations and requirements of the school’s Behaviour Policy and Anti-Bullying Policy

5.      highlighting complaint mechanisms available to the student

6.      providing access to support to the student with a disability, e.g. counselling, to overcome the adverse impact on their participation, and achievement.

 

Back to Contents

 

 

Section Three

Related Topics

 Section Three Chapter 9

Leadership for Inclusion

What does inclusion mean?

Effective inclusion has many different dimensions. Inclusion means:

1.      increasing the participation of learners in, and reducing their exclusion from, the cultures, activities and communities of local sites

2.      restructuring the cultures, policies and practices in sites so that they are responsive to the diversity of learners in the locality

3.      putting inclusive values into action

4.      valuing equally, all learners, parents/ caregivers and practitioners

5.      viewing the differences between learners as resources to support learning, rather than as problems to be overcome

6.      acknowledging the right of learners to good quality education in their locality

7.      making improvements for practitioners as well as for learners

8.      reducing barriers to participation for all learners, not only those with impairments or those who are categorised as ‘having special educational needs’

9.      learning from attempts to overcome barriers to the access and participation of particular learners to make changes for the benefit of learners more widely

10.  emphasising the development of communities and values, as well as achievements

11.  fostering mutually sustaining relationships between schools and communities

12.  recognising that inclusion in education is an aspect of inclusion in society.

 

Adapted from Booth, T., and Ainscow, M. and Kingston, D. (2006, 2nd edition). Index for inclusion: developing learning, participation and play in early years and childcare.

Bristol, UK: Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education, p. 4.

Quote

'Inclusive education is a human right, it's good education and it makes good social sense.'

 

Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education. ‹http://www.csie.org.uk/publication/ten-reasons-02.pdf›

 

Another definition of inclusion:

The continuous process of increasing the presence, participation and achievement of all children, young people and adults in local community schools, where possible.

Presence is to do with where education occurs, with admissions, attendance

and the use of withdrawal from class.

Participation is concerned with the quality of learners’ experiences. Learners’

own views form an essential part of judgements about quality.

Achievement is concerned with learner outcomes, across the whole curriculum,

both inside and outside the classroom.

Moore, M., Jackson, M., Fox, S. & Ainscow, M. (2004). Manchester inclusion standard: High standards for all: Guidance for Schools. Manchester City Council, p. 7.

To develop greater inclusion, leaders need to work closely with staff and other members of the school community.

While inclusion refers to the whole school community, the classroom level is an effective starting point for developing greater inclusion.

Leaders need to focus on classroom teachers, who have the most influence on learners’ experience of school.

Leadership for inclusion can begin by facilitating change in classroom practices

Leaders can facilitate:

1.      enquiry and reflection by classroom teachers. Successful change has to start at the level of the individual teachers, with their attitudes, knowledge and skills. It cannot be imposed from above. The process of teachers working together to reflect on what is happening in their classrooms is the starting point

2.      collaborative planning — this may involve small teams of staff

3.      involvement of classroom teachers (as well as students and the community) in school policies and decisions

4.      staff development activities that focus on classroom teacher practice

5.      the effective use of staff time and energy by controlling the demands on them. This means that sites need a development plan with only a small number of priorities

6.      the spread of leadership roles throughout the school — classroom teachers have their own areas of expertise and can be nurtured to provide leadership to others.

 

The process of enquiry and refection leads to ‘turbulence’ as existing beliefs and practices are challenged. Teachers need support to get through this period of upset, before long-term change can occur.

Hopkins, D., Ainscow, M. and West, M. (1994). School Improvement in an Era of Change. London: Cassell. Cited by Ainscow, M. (2005). ‘The next big challenge: inclusive school improvement’. Keynote presentation at the International Congress of School Effectiveness and Improvement, Barcelona, January 2005, p. 6.

 

Learning about leadership

The DECS resource Professional learning and leadership (see <http://www.earlyyearsliteracy.sa.edu.au>) was developed to support the South Australian Early Years Literacy Program. The resource takes an inquiry approach to professional learning and considers many aspects of effective leadership in sites.

Activity 1

 

How inclusive is your site?

The purpose of this checklist is to help you, as a leader, reflect on some of the issues affecting the education of learners with disabilities and to improve the services you provide for all learners.

 

1.      In what ways does you Site Learning Plan show respect for differences and embody a belief that all learners can achieve?

2.      What adjustments does your site make to ensure that all learners are treated fairly?

3.      In making adjustments, how do you focus on improving learner outcomes?

4.      How does your behaviour show to others that your regard adjustments, made by you, as fair and reasonable?

5.      What pre-conceived ideas do you have about the behaviours/actions of learners with disabilities?  Do you make the same assumptions for all learners?

6.      To what extent are parents/caregivers of learners with a disability represented in site decision-making groups?

7.      In what ways are all the learning and curriculum needs of learners with health care management needs met?

8.      How do you cater for learners with disabilities from different cultural backgrounds?

9.      In planning small group and whole site activities and developments, how do you include the needs of people with a disability?

10.  How do you measure outcomes for learners with disabilities in relation to social, personal and independence goals?

 

A.      Choose the question that was easiest to answer.  List your points.

 

 

Publish your successes in your site newsletter or at public meetings or on notice boards.

 Activity 1 continued

 

B.     Choose the question that was hardest to answer.

Develop a strategy using the following framework.

 

Structural

1.      What changes can you make to the way things are organised?

 

Human Resources

1.      What human resources are needed?

2.      How can you redeploy existing resources?

 

Political

1.      What relationships do you need to foster?

 

Symbolic

1.      How can you let others know what you’re doing?

2.      How can you develop a culture?

 

Adapted from concepts in Bolman, L.G. and Deal, T.E. (1997).  ‘Reframing Organisations:  Aratistry, Choice, and Leadership’.  San Francisco, California:  Jossey-bass.  Cited by Telford, H. (1996).

Transforming schools through collaborative leadership.  London:  The Falmer Press, p.11.

 

Activity 2

Read the following scenario and consider the discussion question raised.

 

A Reception child with severe articulation problems and expressive and receptive language delays is experiencing behaviour problems during his first term and a half at school.  The child is apparently defiant, refuses to follow instructions and has been hitting other children.  He likes cutting and pasting activities, doing simple puzzles and using his preferred computer programs.  He has a Negotiated Education Plan and receives six short sessions of 1:1 support from the special education teacher, for articulation and language development.  A referral has been made for assessment by a guidance officer.

 

Because of his behaviours, school staff have suggested that he be referred to interagency behaviour management services with a view to placement in a behaviour management unit on another site.

 

What are the appropriate actions for the school to take at this point in time?

 

Comments on this scenario are given on the next page.

 

Further Information

South Australian Centre for Leaders in Education <http://www.sacle.edu.au>.

 

Inclusion publications are available from the UK Office for Standards in Education <http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/>.

 

Booth, A. & Ainscow, M. (2002). Index for inclusion: developing learning and participation in schools. Bristol, UK: Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education.

Booth, A. and Ainscow, M. (2004). Index for inclusion: developing learning, participation and play in early years and childcare. Bristol, UK: Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education.

Thomas, G. & Loxley, L. (2001). Deconstructing special education and constructing inclusion. Philadelphia, US: Open University Press.

Thomas, J. & Vaughan, M. (2004). Inclusive Education: Readings and reflections. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press.

Comments on Activity 2

Appropriate actions could include the following.

1.      Review the Learning Plan documented in the Negotiated Education Planning process to ensure it provides relevant/appropriate curriculum content, teaching strategies, accommodations and assessment practices.

2.      Collaborate with the parents — they may be able to give helpful suggestions.

3.      Develop a behaviour support plan outlining learning and behaviour goals, strategies to support the student and evaluation mechanisms.

4.      Consider the effect of the student’s behaviour on the other students and staff in relation to OHS&W responsibilities.

5.      Consider if there is a need for professional development to increase the knowledge and skills of staff in relation to supporting learners with particular needs.

 

Back to Contents

 

Section Three Chapter 10

Site Planning for Inclusion

Planning

‘The future that happens isn’t the future you planned for. Between plan and action, the future takes off on a tangent of its own.

If your planning is very specific it probably won’t fit the future, which actually eventuates. Yet if it isn’t specific, it may not be evident who is to do what.

If it is specific, it won’t fit. If it’s not specific it may not happen.

The escape from this dilemma is to be found in developing two plans. One plan specifies who will do what to move forward from where we are and in the direction we want to go. The other plan specifies who will do what to check that the first plan is working …

The action plans provide the specificity and detail. The monitoring plans provide the flexibility’.

Dick, R. (1996). Managing change (On line).
Available at ‹http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/gcm/ar/arp/change.html›.

Disability action plans

Planning is needed to make sites more inclusive for learners with disabilities. A disability action plan can help in complying with the Education Standards under the Disability Discrimination Act.

 

Planning for disability action should be part of the site’s total planning and reviewing processes. Therefore, any disability action plan needs to relate to the Site Learning Plan.

Planning for disability action should include provisions for evaluation and review. Such planning will help to ensure that the site continues to develop its capacity to meet the needs of learners with disabilities.

Disability action plans are referred to in Part 3 (Section 61) of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

Regardless of any specific disability action plan, sites should ensure that every site plan is inclusive of all enrolled groups, including learners with disabilities.

Possible areas for action

In general, the most effective plans address only a small number of areas. The highest priority areas will differ for different sites. The number of areas addressed will also differ. Some possible examples of priority areas for action are as follows:

1.      to develop teacher skills and knowledge in working with learners with disabilities

2.      to develop the integration of learners in a special class with year level classes

3.      to review behaviour management practices for learners with disabilities to ensure non-discriminatory practices

4.      to develop links between the school, parents/caregivers and agency personnel

5.      to improve documentation in the use of the Negotiated Education Planning process

6.      to develop additional Vocational and Education Training (VET) pathways for senior students with disabilities

7.      to develop the physical resources/teaching spaces for particular classes which have learners with disabilities.

 

More on planning for disability action

Following this page is an example of a proforma, which could be used to document a site disability action plan. It includes a reference to monitoring the plan.

You may choose to use a different proforma.

The example of a school disability action plan, which follows after the blank proforma, includes two priority areas for action.

This sample plan includes some strategies for making sites more inclusive for students with disabilities. You may use different strategies to suit the context of your particular site. You may want to choose other areas for action.


 

A blank proforma
Disability Action Plan (Sample 1)

Site name:

Priority area:  To develop teacher skills and knowledge in working with students with disabilities.

What we want to achieve:  Teachers will use inclusive programming and teaching practices in years 3 and 4. (year levels 3 and 4 targeted because of large number of students with disabilities)

 

Action to be taken

Meetings of years 3 and 4 teachers to be held every two weeks, in staff meeting time, in terms 1 and 2.  Meeting will include:

1.        discussion of individual student needs and possible teaching responses

2.        sharing programming approaches

3.        discussing results of using particular methodologies

4.        solving problem s

 

Outcome

Teachers will learn from each other about how to make their programming and teaching more inclusive of all students.

Teachers’ planning of lessons/units indicate inclusive practices for all learners.

 

Person Responsible

Designated member of the leadership team.

 

Timeline

Terms 1 and 2

 

Action to be taken

At a meeting for all staff:

1.        Brief outline of the year 3-4 teacher project

2.        Input on a range of inclusive teaching methods and approaches (possibly by a person from outside the school staff)

 

Outcome

All staff learn about the project and all staff learn more about inclusive teaching.

Each staff member can demonstrate inclusive practices.

 

Person Responsible

Staff member who organises staff meetings to arrange.

 

Timeline

Mid term 1

 

Action to be taken

Report on year 3-4 teacher project at staff meetings

 

Outcome

Year 3-4 teaches have the opportunity to share learning with all staff.

 

Person Responsible

Designated member of the leadership team.

 

Timeline

Terms 1 and 2

 

Action to be taken

Learning in this project documented and incorporated, where appropriate, in school policies and other statements and in school newsletters.

 

Outcome

Learning from the project is incorporated in statements about the school’s work.

 

Person Responsible

Designated member of the leadership team.

 

Timeline

During the project and in term 3

 

Action to be taken

Monitoring plan:  Regular discussion of the teacher development process at leadership team meetings.

 

Outcome

Teacher development process is monitored and modified, if necessary

 

Person Responsible

Designated member staff.

 

Timeline

(no timeline indicated)

 

 

Disability Action Plan (Sample 2)

Site name:

Priority area:  To review behaviour management practices for students with disabilities to ensure non-discriminatory practices.

What we want to achieve:  The long-term plan is that staff will use non-discriminatory practices in managing the behaviour of students with disabilities.

 

Action to be taken

At a staff meeting, have a member of staff provide information about the DDA and lead a discussion on implications for classroom teachers, particularly in regard to the behaviour management of students with disabilities.

 

Outcome

Staff are able to identify discriminatory practice from case examples

 

Person Responsible

Designated staff member.

 

Timeline

Early in term 2

 

Action to be taken

Find staff willing to discuss their own behaviour management practices with students with disabilities.

From school behaviour management records, select a few instances involving students with disabilities and one or more of the above staff.  For each incident, arrange for staff concerned in the behaviour management to discuss::

1.        What contributed to the student behaviour?

2.        What happened?

3.        What consequence followed?

4.        Was there any discrimination involved?

5.        Were there any appropriate alternative ways of managing the behaviour?

 

Outcome

Current site practice in relation to the behaviour management of students with disabilities is examined.

 

Person Responsible

Designated staff member to examine records, organise discussions with volunteers and ensure documentation occurs.

 

Timeline

During Term 2.

 

Action to be taken

From the above discussions, prepare some written case studies (that involve scenarios and students other than those enrolled in the school, although the sources of ideas is explained to the staff).

In a full staff meeting, arrange for staff to consider the above five questions for each case study.

 

Outcome

Staff learn more about effective and non-discriminatory behaviour management strategies for students with disabilities.

 

Person Responsible

Designated member, with assistance from one or two other staff members.

 

Timeline

Early in Term 3

 

Action to be taken

In later meetings, have staff discuss the site’s current behaviour management policy and consider whether any changes are needed to ensure that it is non-discriminatory.

 

Outcome

School behaviour management policy is modified, as required, to help ensure non-discriminatory practice for learners with disabilities.

 

Person Responsible

Designated member of the leadership team.

 

Timeline

Later in term 3

 

Action to be taken

Monitoring plan:  Regular discussion of the teacher development process at leadership team meetings.

 

Outcome

Review of behaviour management strategies is monitored and modified, if necessary.

 

Person Responsible

Designated member staff.

 

Timeline

(no timeline indicated)

 

Back to Contents

 

Section Three Chapter 11

Teaching about Disabilities

Teaching all learners about human rights is a way of contributing to the establishment of inclusive classrooms, as well as to a more inclusive society.

Here is an early childhood perspective:

Quote

'The role of educators is critical in fostering equity and inclusivity in children's play.  Children are supported to consider multiple viewpoints, using inquiry, discussion and analysis to challenge assumptions, generalisations and stereotypes.  In this process children begin to develop an awareness of unfair attitudes and actions.  They question and challenge the ways particular people or groups of people are constructed and included or excluded, and their personal feelings about these processes'.

 

Department of Education, Training and Employment (2001). South Australian Curriculum Standards and Accountability Framework. Early Years Band: Age 3–Age 5, p. 61.

Teaching and Learning Resources

There is considerable material available for teaching learners about a range of human rights, including those related to disability. Learning activities could be incorporated in many different curriculum areas.

The resources listed below can give teachers ideas for planning lessons at any year level. However, they are most useful for years 5–12.

For younger students, there are specific resources that can be borrowed from the Special Education Resource Unit (SERU). These are listed in the SERU section below.

 

Learning about discrimination

The South Australian Equal Opportunity Commission has constructed

a website for schools. The site address is <eo4schools.net.au>.The site contains useful information for both teachers and learners. It includes:

1.      fun activities

2.      more serious activities

3.      games

4.      quizzes with printable certificates

5.      information about discrimination and harassment

6.      information about bullying

7.      FAQs for learners

8.      case studies for learners

9.      FAQs for teachers

10.  case studies for teachers

11.  interactive stories.

 

Other useful websites

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC). ‘Education Modules: Information for teachers: Human rights education resources for use in Australian classrooms’. <http://www.humanrights.gov.au/info_for_teachers/index.html>. This site contains teaching materials and links to the SA Curriculum Standards and Accountability Framework for Studies of Society and Environment, Health and Physical Education and English. The site includes a link to the ‘Youth Challenge’ materials, also developed by HREOC. They are designed for years 7 to 11 and contain a specific unit about disabilities: “What about Doug’s rights” <http://www.humanrights.gov.au/youthchallenge/unit2/index.html>.

Intel Corporation. (2006). ‘Exemplary Plans: Speaking out — Self advocacy for students with learning disabilities’. <http://www.intel.com/ca/education/unitplans/Speaking_Out/>.

<http://www.d23.org/tip/Frameworks/People%20with%20LD.html>. This site includes alternative assessment and inclusive assessment suggestions.

Sass, E. ‘Disabilities and Special Education’. <http://www.cloudnet.com/~edrbsass/edexc.htm>. This site contains lesson plans about famous people with disabilities, such as Helen Keller, as well as a range of other lesson ideas.

Disability Rights Commission (UK) (2005). Citizenship and Disability <http://www.drc-gb.org/citizenship/>. This site has activities, lesson plans, video clips and photographs. It also provides access options for users with particular disabilities, allowing changes in text size and colour scheme.

 

Centre for Disability Information and Referral (1998). Disability Awareness Site for Youth <http://www.iidc.indiana.edu/cedir/kidsweb/> The content focus is North American. Australian teachers will find some of the site’s resources and ideas useful.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has materials on values education at <http://www.unesco.org/education/tlsf/theme_d/sitemain.html>. These would be useful to consider in teaching about disability.

Information about multiple intelligences is available from the Learning Disabilities Resource Centre (2002) <http://www.ldrc.ca/projects/miinventory/miinventory.php> and from <http://www2.bgfl.org/bgfl2/custom/resources_ftp/client_ftp/ks1/ict/mulitple_int>.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) is available from the website of the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department <http://www.ag.gov.au/DSFE>.

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission <http://www.humanrights.gov.au>.

The South Australian Equal Opportunity Commission <http://www.eoc.sa.gov.au>.

Commonwealth Disability Strategy <www.facs.gov.au/disability/cds/fs/fs_index.htm>.

Disability Information Resource Centre (DIRC) 195 Gilles St. Adelaide 5000. <http://dircsa.org.au>.

Novita Children’s Services is planning to develop units for teaching students about disabilities. <http://www.novita.org.au>.

Web addresses for a number of other South Australian disability organisations are given in Activity 2 in chapter 13 ‘Support Service and Community partnerships’.

Simulation activities

The Sims game can be used by learners to design housing or buildings suitable for people with disabilities. See <http://thesims.ea.com/us/index.html>.

Resources available from the Special Education Resource Unit (SERU)

SERU has a range of videos, books, games and learning packs for learners from the early years to secondary schooling. For example:

Disability Awareness Packs 1 & 2 Primary & Secondary Level — compiled by SERU in 2002. These packs provide resources in a range of media and include CD-ROMs, books and dolls.

Overend-Prior, J. (2003). Appreciating Differences: Thematic Unit. Heatherton, Victoria: Hawker Brownlow Education — lesson ideas for primary students.

Frances, N. (2003). Ben & his helmet Sets 1 & 2. Brisbane, Queensland: Ninderry Press — books written to aid in developing understanding about Asperger’s syndrome.

Buehrens, A. & C. (1991). Adam & the magic marble. Duarke, C.A., US: Hope Press — a fantasy novel written by a 10 year old boy with Tourette syndrome.

Language Australia, Centre for Deafness & Communication Studies. (2003). Deaf Studies Program P-7: Units 1 to 6. Queensland: Griffith University — videos and workbooks raising awareness about deafness.

Goodwin, Thomas C. (1998). Educating Peter. Loganholme, Queensland: Marcom Projects — shows a year in a mainstream class from the perspectives of a young boy with Down syndrome, his parent, the teacher and other students.

Toys

Disabled People Set — four dolls.
Cochlear Bear — bear with a cochlear implant.
Winning Pal — doll in a wheelchair.
Contact SERU at: <http://web.seru.sa.edu.au> or phone 08 8235 2871.

Biographies and autobiographies

Keller, H. (1995). The story of my life. New York: Bantam Books. (multiple severe disability)

Lawson, W. (1998). Life behind glass: a personal account of autism spectrum disorder. Lismore: Southern Cross University Press.

Nasar, S. (1998). A beautiful mind. New York: Simon and Schuster. (biography of John Nash, a mathematician with schizophrenia)

Nolan, C. (1987). Under the eye of the clock: The life story of Christopher Nolan. London: Pan Books.

Reeve, Christopher (2002). Nothing is impossible: reflections on a new life. New York: Random House. (quadriplegia)

 

Sacks, O. (1994). A leg to stand on. New York: HarperCollins. (physical disability)

 

Styron, W. (1990). Darkness visible: A memoir of madness. New York: Random House. (depression)

 

White, M. and Gribbin, J. (2002). Stephen Hawking: a life in science. Washington, DC: Joseph Henry Press. (physical disability, giftedness)

Williams, D. (1992). Nobody nowhere. London: Doubleday. (Asperger’s syndrome)

Axline, V. (1964). Dibs in search of self. New York: Ballantine Books. (autism)

Bauby, J. (1998). The diving bell and the butterfly. New York: Vintage. (severe multiple disability)

 

Brown, C. (1972). The Childhood of Christy Brown (previously titled My left foot), London: Pan. (physical disability, language impairment)

Deveson, A. (1992). Tell me I’m here: One family’s experience of schizophrenia. Camberwell, Victoria: Penguin.

Faludy, T. (1996). A little edge of darkness: a boy’s triumph over dyslexia. London: Jessica Kingsley. (dyslexia, giftedness)

Haddon, M. (2003). The curious incident of the dog in the night time. Lane Cove, New South Wales: Doubleday. (Asperger’s syndrome)

Sauvage, L. and Heads, I. (2002). Louise Sauvage: My story. Pymble, New South Wales: HarperCollins. (physical disability)

Jackson, L. (2002). Freaks, geeks and Asperger’s syndrome. London: Jessica Kingsley.

Films

The Horse Whisperer (1998). US. (amputee, mental trauma)

Awakenings (1990). US. (mental illness, chronic illness)

An Angel at my Table (1990). Aust. (mental illness)

Angel Baby (1995). Aust. (schizophrenia)

Rainman (1988). US. (autism)

What’s eating Gilbert Grape (1993). US. (learning difficulties and autism)

Forrest Gump (1994). US. (intellectual disability, physical disability)

Being There (1979). US. (intellectual disability)

Children of a lesser god (1986). US. (hearing impairment)

One flew over the cuckoo’s nest (1975). US. (mental illness and hearing impairment.)

Mr Holland’s Opus (1995). US. (hearing impairment)

My Left Foot (1989). UK. (physical disability)

Dance me to my song (2000). Aust. (physical disability)

Shine (1997). Aust. (communication disability)

Beautiful Mind (2001). US. (giftedness & schizophrenia)

Murderball (2004). US. (quadriplegia).

 

Outreach services

There are three statewide services that can support teaching about disabilities. These services are provided by:

Regency Park School—for learners with physical disabilities <http://www.regencysp.sa.edu.au/Outreach.htm>

SA School for Vision Impaired <http://www/sasvi.sa.edu.au/sservice.htm>

Kilparrin Teaching and Assessment School and Services—for learners with sensory impairment and additional disabilities <http://www.kilparrin.sa.edu.au>

In each case outreach service staff can:

1.      work with the classroom/preschool teacher, to evaluate a learner’s progress and help develop a relevant educational program

2.      help other teachers understand the implications of the disability and provide information on a specific disability.

 

Outreach staff may also:

1.      provide disability awareness lessons for a class/group and across the school.

 

Back to Contents

 

Section Three Chapter 12

Personalised Education Planning

What is personalised education planning?

Personalised education planning supports the access, participation and achievement of learners within their setting. It is a collaborative approach to identifying learners’ needs and developing educational structures that will support the learner. The purpose is to maximise engagement and educational outcomes. The planning process provides accountability measures and assists with evaluating and reviewing learning.

There are a number of personalised planning structures that have been formalised through DECS Policies and Guidelines including:

1.      Negotiated Education Plan    

2.      Health Support Plan

3.      Individual Education Plan       

4.      Student Development Plan

5.      Individual Learning Plan         

6.      Transition Plan.

 

These plans generally target particular groups of learners, including those at risk of not accessing or participating in the curriculum and/or not achieving in their learning.

What can personal education plans include?

Plans may include:

1.      strengths and interests

2.      areas requiring further development

3.      teaching strategies and accommodations

4.      specific learning goals

5.      assessment/evaluation and review processes

6.      health care and safety needs

7.      special equipment, transport arrangements, curriculum resources

8.      pathways planning, including post school work and lifestyle options.

 

Reminders

1.      Have you checked the files of learners you are working with to see if they have a Learning Plan?

2.      Have you read the Learning Plans of all the learners under your care?

3.      Is the information in the learner's files current?

 

Negotiated Education Plan (NEP)

The NEP is a process for collaborative planning between the site, the family, the learner and other agencies/support services.  The intention is to develop an appropriate Learning Plan based on both:

1.      the needs of the learner, and

2.      the South Australian Curriculum Standards and Accountability (SACSA) Framework.

Planning resources for the NEP are available in electronic form through: DECS website <http://www.decs.sa.gov.au>.

The NEP site contains:

1.      The Learning Plan

2.      a range of templates related to particular needs of learners

3.      a template to be used at NEP review meetings

4.      information about the education of learners with disabilities

5.      information about learning difficulties

6.      details of DECS and non-DECS support services.

 

It is expected that all children accessing high levels of preschool support and all students identified under the DECS Students with Disabilities Policy will have a Learning Plan.

 

The NEP process may also be used for students with learning difficulties, students with high intellectual potential and some students with particular behaviour management or learning needs.  It is also used for some distance education students.

 

It is the responsibility of the site to develop, implement and review the Learning Plan.

 

About the Learning Plan

The Learning Plan includes a:

1.      statement of learning goals and current skill levels

2.      summary of teaching strategies and accommodations needed to maximise student learning outcomes

3.      summary of the student's negotiated learning program

4.      commitment by the site to provide the student with the negotiated curriculum as detailed in the plan.

 

The Learning Plan is used to review the student's progress and the effectiveness of the support program.  It is also an accountability tool that details educational outcomes in relation to the SACSA Framework.  The Learning Plan is reviewed:

1.      at points of transition, or

2.      when the needs of the student change, or

3.      when requested by the family or site.

 

 Activity 1

 

1.      Visit the DECS website http://www.decs.sa.gov.au.

2.      Access the Negotiated Education Plan site.

3.      Explore the information under the headings Information for Families, Additional Needs, Support Services, Gifted Learners and Learning Difficulties.

Read the information relevant to your fields of work and/or interest.

 

Note:  the information is updated regularly and may have changed since your previous visit to the site.

 

Activity 2

 

1.      Visit the DECS website http://www.decs.sa.gov.au.

2.      Access the Negotiated Education Plan site.

3.      Click on the Learning Plan icon and download the plan onto your computer (directions and information on downloading the plan are on the website).

     Explore all areas of the plan:  strengths/motivations; current needs/concerns; accommodations; teaching strategies; assessment strategies; parents’ comments; students’ comments; social/emotional/behavioural; and agreed actions.

     With a particular learner in mind, complete the sections of the Learning Plan with information relevant to the learner’s needs.

     Open the outcomes box.  Using the tabs at the bottom of the page, open the developmental outcomes/standards.  Explore the Standards/developmental learning outcomes and practise attaching the Standard of the relevant learning area.

 

 A brief overview of other DECS personalised planning structures

Individual Education Plan (IEP)

Children and young people under Guardianship of the Minister are required to have this plan to assist in optimising their learning. Sites need to engage in strategies that promote these learners’ participation in and access to the curriculum. Information about the IEP is available through the DECS website: <http://www.decs.sa.gov.au>.

 

Individual Learning Plan

All children attending preschool require an individual learning plan that details learning goals and strategies. Children with significant additional needs and accessing preschool support require a Learning Plan prior to transition to school. This Learning Plan is developed using the Negotiated Education Planning process.

Health Support Plan

This planning process assists education and childcare workers, in partnership with families and health professionals, to plan safe, reasonable and consistent health support for all learners. This includes planning for personal care support such as continence care and eating and drinking and health care support including asthma and diabetes. (Refer to Student Wellbeing and Health Support on the DECS website <http://www.decs.sa.gov.au>.)

 

Student Development Plan (SDP)

A Student Development Plan is prepared when a learner is unwilling to or unable to behave responsibly. The Plan is part of the DECS School Discipline Policy. This Plan provides a method of documenting behaviour, intervention strategies and student outcomes. The SDP is the basis for an agreement between the learner, her/his family, the school and the interagency and behaviour management personnel (if appropriate). (Refer to the NEP program available on the DECS website for an example of a Student Development Plan <http://www.decs.sa.gov.au>.

 

Transition Plan

The Transition Plan aims to support young people to move successfully through and beyond school and to set goals to enable those transitions to be effective.

The Transition Plan has two related plans:

Individual Learning Plan:

A support structure that ensures learners with additional needs access appropriate curriculum and support in their learning.

 

Transition Pathways Plan:

A planning process that assists students to successfully make the transition beyond school by mapping realistic and achievable options and directions. (Refer to Futures Connect on the DECS Website <http://www.decs.sa.gov.au>.)

An Aboriginal Transition Plan — a version targeted for Aboriginal learners — has been developed.

Information about Transition Plans is available from the Futures Connect page on the DECS website <http://www.decs.sa.gov.au>.

 

Hints and tips for developing Learning Plans

These suggestions are for sites, support services and caregivers who are involved with learners with disabilities and/or special needs. They are intended to assist with planning for the educational needs of these learners.

1.      Ensure all stakeholders, including the student when appropriate, are invited to be involved in the development of this plan and that meeting times allow all stakeholders to attend.

2.      Ensure parents/caregivers and other meeting participants are familiar with the NEP process prior to the meeting.

3.      Collect all relevant assessment reports and other available information related to the learning to help plan the goals/learning outcomes.

4.      Encourage parents/caregivers to bring information they would like considered during the meeting. Caregivers are a valuable source of information about their child’s needs.

5.      Ensure information used for planning is current and relevant.

6.      Focus on the learner’s potential to achieve positive educational, social and behavioural outcomes.

7.      Consider the effectiveness of any strategies/accommodations that have been previously implemented.

8.      Link all planning and goal setting with the SACSA Framework and use the relevant language.

9.      Develop goals and strategies that are age and developmentally appropriate.

10.  Develop goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and for which the Time required is reasonable (SMART).

11.  Where appropriate, include behavioural as well as other learning goals. Identify support and management strategies.

12.   

Quote -

The way to achieve success is first to have a definite, clear practical ideal — a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends — wisdom, money, materials and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end’. (Aristotle)

 

 Checklist for a Learning Plan

1.      Is it clear and easy to understand and follow

2.      Have all key players in the learner's education, including the learner, had the opportunity to contribute/be involved in the plan?

3.      Were the parents/caregivers actively involved in the planning and decision-making?

4.      Has the learner been involved in all or part of the planning whenever possible?

5.      Do the documented goals/outcomes reflect the learner's needs as detailed in assessment information/reports?

6.      Are the recommended teaching strategies/accommodations realistic and able to be implemented?  (Remember:  if they are in the plan the expectation is that they will be implemented.)

7.      Has a review date/timeline been set?

8.      Is the plan formalised and signed?

9.      Do all interested parties have a copy of the final plan (as agreed to by the family)?

10.  Are these strategies in place for immediate implementation of the plan?

 

Instruction

When developing a Learning Plan, avoid concentrating only on problems or difficulties. Consider the whole learner — strengths, aspirations, areas for development, concerns and future plans — not just her or his disability.

 

Further Information

Martin, N.R.M. (2005). A guide to collaboration for IEP teams. Baltimore, MA: Paul H. Brookes.

Negotiated Education Plan: <http://www.decs.sa.gov.au>.

Aboriginal Education Strategy: <http://www.decs.sa.gov.au>.

Individual Education Plan: <http://www.decs.sa.gov.au>.

School’s Guide for Implementing Futures Connect: <http://www.decs.sa.gov.au>.

Discovering Post School Pathways resource on the Website of the Special Education Resource Unit <http://web.seru.sa.edu.au>.

Individual Education Planning Guidelines, Ministry of Education, New Zealand <http://www.minedu.govt.nz>

 

Back to Contents

 

 Section Three Chapter 13

Support service and community partnerships

 

In effective partnerships, people collaborate with each other. They achieve more than if each partner works alone.

The most important partnership is between the teacher, learner and parents/caregivers. Within preschools/schools there are also crucial partnerships between teachers, support staff and leaders. The focus of this section is on partnerships with persons outside the educational site, who can assist in improving outcomes for learners with disabilities. It deals with two types of partnerships:

1.   Partnerships with government and non-government support services

These are working relationships with specialist personnel from:

1.      DECS district and other support services

2.      non-government disability organisations

3.      Commonwealth and state government organisations.

 

2.   Community partnerships

These are working relationships with:

1.      local businesses and community groups

2.      volunteers working at the education site

3.      work experience and training providers

4.      local government agencies.

 Activity 1

What ongoing partnerships does the site have with community groups or service providers to help improve outcomes for learners with disabilities?

Choose a partnership, and use the following table to plan any action that the site needs to take to improve the effectiveness of that partnership.

 

Partnership between: (site)

And (group/service provider)

 

Partnerships checklist

There is documented agreement about expected outcomes from the partnership.  Y/N

How do you know?

What needs to be put in place?

 

Partnerships checklist

The roles of each partner are clear.  Y/N

How do you know?

What needs to be put in place?

 

Partnerships checklist

Regular contact between partners is arranged.  Y/N

How do you know?

What needs to be put in place?

 

Partnerships checklist

Each partner can take the initiative in calling a meeting.  Y/N

How do you know?

What needs to be put in place?

 

Partnerships checklist

Meetings result in agreed actions and appropriate records are kept.  Y/N

How do you know?

What needs to be put in place?

 

Partnerships checklist

Progress in achieving outcomes is monitored.  Y/N

How do you know?

What needs to be put in place?

 

Partnerships checklist

The interests of each partner are regarded as important.  Y/N

How do you know?

What needs to be put in place?

 

Partnerships checklist

Each partner respects the points of view of the other.  Y/N

How do you know?

What needs to be put in place?

 

Partnerships checklist

Differences of opinion are discussed openly and partnership difficulties addressed.  Y/N

How do you know?

What needs to be put in place?

 

Partnerships checklist

Help from a third party is sought, if needed, to help resolve differences.  Y/N

How do you know?

What needs to be put in place?

 

Partnerships checklist

From time to time the partnership is reviewed.  Y/N

How do you know?

What needs to be put in place?

 

Summary of action to be taken.

 

 1. Partnerships with government and non-government support services

Education sites may establish ongoing partnerships with support services. Alternatively, support services may be contacted just for advice or for short-term support or assistance.

Education providers may need to seek professional advice to help them decide what adjustment, if any, is appropriate for a learner with a disability. (See ‘Standards for Support Services’, Appendix 1, pp. 20–3.).

DECS district support services

Information about each of the services listed below can be obtained either through the DECS website <http://www.decs.sa.gov.au> or through the website of the organisation concerned.

There is a wide range of support service personnel based in education district offices. There are people with expertise in:

1.      disability and developmental delay

2.      early childhood

3.      psychology

4.      hearing impairment

5.      speech pathology

6.      curriculum in the early / primary /middle / senior years

7.      student transition to training and employment

8.      social work

9.      student attendance

10.  behaviour management

11.  student inclusion and wellbeing

12.  Aboriginal education

13.  School improvement

Contact your local district office to access these services.

 

DECS Disability and Statewide Programs

1.      Special Education Resource Unit (SERU)

                        — Transport assistance

                        — Computer technology support

                        — Early Intervention Hearing Impaired Service

                        — DECS Occupational Health and Safety equipment

                        — Access equipment

                        — Conductive Education

                        — Communication and Language Disorder Support Service.

                         

2.      Preschool Support Program

                        — Learning Links Team

3.      Learning Difficulties Support Team

                         

4.      State-wide Verification and Professional Support Team

 

5.      State-wide Transition Centres: Prospect Centre and Daws Road Centre.

 

DECS special preschool/schools with state-wide responsibilities

1.      The Briars Special Early Learning Centre

2.      South Australian School for Vision Impaired

3.      Kilparrin Teaching & Assessment Unit

4.      Regency Park School.

 

DECS Child and Student Wellbeing Team

1.      Child Protection policy

2.      Attendance policy

3.      Behaviour Management policy

4.      Health Support policy.

 

DECS Hospital Education Services

These are part of child health and support services (chess). Information is available through <http://www.chess.sa.edu.au>.

Senior Secondary Assessment Board of South Australia (SSABSA)

The SSABSA has special provisions in curriculum and assessment for students with disabilities in order to maximise their chances of successfully completing the requirements of the South Australian Certificate of Education. See the document ‘Special Provisions in Curriculum and Assessment’ on the SSABSA website at <http://www.ssabsa.sa.edu.au/>.

Disability organisations
These organisations include the following:

1.      Disability Services SA — formerly Intellectual Disability Services Council (IDSC), Independent Living Centre and Julia Farr Services

2.      Novita Children’s Services

3.      Down Syndrome Society

4.      Autism SA

5.      Inclusive Directions — support for the inclusion of learners with additional needs, including disabilities, who are attending Commonwealth funded child-care services

6.      Townsend House — Cando4kids

7.      Cora Barclay Centre for the Hearing Impaired

8.      Royal Society for the Blind, Guide Dog Service.

 

Government health services

These include the following:

1.      Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service

                        – Access Assistant Program

                        – Early Childhood Intervention Program

2.      Hospital and community health services

                        – Child Development Units

3.      Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

 

child health and education support services (chess)

DECS has formed this partnership with a range of other organisations, to support safe and non-discriminatory education and care for children and adolescents with physical and psychological health care needs. The web address is <www.chess.sa.edu.au>.

Information about Options Coordination

A school may have an ongoing relationship with the manager of an Options Coordination service.

 

Options Coordination is a state-wide network of five agencies working together to assist people with significant and permanent disabilities to access assistance, information and community services.

 

Option Coordinators help families in such things as:

1.      working out their needs

2.      obtaining information about disabilities

3.      obtaining appropriate disability services.

4.       

Organisations providing Options Coordination services include:

Novita Children's Services - for children under 18 years of age with a physical or neurological disability or an acquired brain injury.  Information is available at: <http://www.cca.org.au/content.asp?p=16>.

 

Disability Services SA (formerly the Intellectual Disability Services Council) - for people with intellectual disability.  Information is available at:<http://www.idsc.sa.gov.au/about/structure/community/optionscoordination.shtml>.

 

Further information about all Options Coordination programs is available from the Department for Families and Communities (SA) at: <http://www.dfc.sa.gv.au/disability-services/Options.asp>

 

Activity 2

 

Go to the following websites to learn more about particular disabilities

Autism SA http://www.autismsa.org.au/

Disability Services SA (formerly the Intellectual Disability Services Council)

http://www.idsc.sa.gov.au/

The Down Syndrome Society of South Australia http://www.downssa.asn.au/

Novita Children’s Services http://www.novita.org.au/

 

For other disabilities, there is a range of sites available.  A useful starting point is:

The Disability Information and Resource Centre of SA http://www.dircsa.org.au/

 

2. Community partnerships

Some examples of community partnerships

Local businesses and community groups
Over a period of time, a local business has a number of students with disabilities engaged in work experience. (Here, the work experience agreement forms a key part of the partnership agreement).

Volunteers working at the education site
A parent/caregiver volunteer assists a teacher in the classroom, for a few hours a week, with art/craft activities.

Extra Instruction

For partnerships that involve volunteers or other people, who are not registered teachers, working with learners, there are particular guidelines.

These are detailed below.

For partnerships that involve another organisation, an agreement or memorandum of understanding is needed.  Information about this is given below.

 

Working with volunteers or other people who are not registered teachers

Duty of care

School and preschool staff need to consider their duty of care for learners, for all activities that involve persons and groups from the community. These include parents/ caregivers.

A higher level of care is required for those groups of learners who are the most vulnerable and ‘at risk’. This group includes learners with disabilities.

DECS Interim Procedures for the Management of Volunteers

These procedures are available on the DECS website at <http://www.decs.sa.gov.au>. The current document provides interim procedures for education sites, while a comprehensive DECS policy on volunteers is being developed.

 

The document includes:

1.      overview

2.      selection/screening procedures

3.      induction

4.      supervision requirements

5.      record keeping.

 

The DECS website also includes samples of volunteer policies and agreement forms.

Note that the above interim document includes a variety of selection/screening procedures that may be used to decide if a volunteer can assist at a preschool or school. These range from the principal or director using their own personal knowledge and resulting confidence in the person, to the principal or director requesting a police check. The particular combination of selection/screening procedures required will depend on the nature of the work to be undertaken by the volunteer. A principal or director seeking a police check should contact the DECS Screening Unit, which will arrange the check.

 

Notes about Memoranda of Understanding

Education sites should have a Memorandum of Understanding when undertaking joint work with an outside agency or organisation. Such a Memorandum may include documentation of:

1.      joint objectives

2.      decision making processes

3.      planning processes

4.      dispute resolution guidelines

5.      meeting frequency

6.      financial contributions

7.      evaluation procedures

8.      roles and responsibilities

9.      reporting requirements.

 

As a general guide, a formal understanding between agencies should be agreed at the highest practicable level within each organisation.

Note that memoranda of understanding between DECS and individual services and agencies may already be available.

Further Information

Special Education Resource Unit <http://web.seru.sa.edu.au>.

Disability Information and Resource Centre, SA <http://www.dircsa.org.au>.

Statewide Verification and Professional Support Team <http://www.decs.sa.gov.au>.

A paper on facilitating partnering is available at <http://www.library.uq.edu.au/ schools/presentations_2005/facilitating_partnering.pdf>.

Jewell, P. & Blackmore, P. (2004). From strength to strength: A manual for professionals who facilitate diverse parent groups. Camberwell, Victoria: Australian Council for Educational Research Press.

York, J., Giangreco, M.F., Vandercook, T. & Macdonald, C. (1992). ‘Integrating support personnel in the inclusive classroom’ in Stainback,

S. & Stainback, W. (eds) 1992. Curriculum considerations in inclusive classrooms. Baltimore: Paul H Brookes.

Back to Contents

 

 Section Three Chapter 14

Conflict Resolution

 

This section focuses on solving conflicts that already exist between people. Other sections in this resource provide information and advice about how to be proactive and prevent problems developing in the first place.

Problems develop between people for many reasons, such as:

1.      We have different personalities. For example, we may be more task oriented or more people oriented.

2.      Our needs are different and we want different outcomes.

3.      We have different emotions affecting us at the time.

4.      One person might be affected by long-term chronic grief or sorrow.

 

Activity 1

In a group of two or three people, take turns to describe a personal experience of working on a problem with another person(s), concerning a learner with a disability.

 

Each person could describe:

1.      How the problem arose

2.      Who was  involved

3.      Any complications involved

4.      How the problem was solved/is being managed.

 

Members of the group could then:

1.      Discuss any alternative solutions or different processes that could be used in solving this problem.

 

Quote

'Because most of us shy away from conflict, and tend to notice only its destructive potential, we overlook how useful and positive it can be as an agent of change and a stimulus to new ideas'.

 

Acland, A.F. (1990). A sudden outbreak of common  sense. London: Hutchison Business Books, p. 23.

 Activity 2

Discuss the following enrolment scenario and questions.

 

A child has been assessed as having severe autism and significant developmental delay.  A recommendation for enrolment in a special class was explored but the parent has chosen the local school option.  The Negotiated Education Plan process was used to develop a Learning Plan and the child has been participating in a transition program for the local preschool to the local school.  Observing the child during the transition program, the principal has grave concerns about the child’s ability to progress appropriately in the local school environment.  The principal thinks that the special class option should be reconsidered and that the child would be better placed in a special class in another school in the district, rather than at the local school.  Before the end of the planned transition principal suggest to the parent that this option be investigated by the district special options panel.  The parent is adamant that the local school is the family’s preferred option.  The principal does not refuse to enrol the child, but continues to point out the advantages of the special class placement.

 

1.      How can this problem be addressed?  What help would be available to the principal or the parent?

2.      What is the right of the parent and what is the responsibility of the principal in this situation?

 

In the above scenario, the parent may have a strongly held belief that mainstream education is the best for their child.  The principal may have a strongly held belief that learners with significant disabilities are best catered for in a non-mainstream special option.

1.      What are some of the reasons that cause people to change strongly held beliefs?

 

Discussion points for this activity are given at the end of the chapter.

 

For information about autism go to http://www.autismsa.org.au/.

 

 

Activity 3 - Mapping the conflict

This is a useful process for exploring the issues and defining the needs and concerns of all parties in a dispute.

 

Use the chart below to record the following information:

1.      Briefly define the problem area, the issue or conflict in neutral terms that all would agree on and that doesn't invite a 'yes/no' answer.

(Fill in the centre circle)

2.      List each important person or group involved.

3.      Write down each person's needs.  What motivates them?

(i.e. What interests underlie the problem?  What are the needs arising from people's roles?)

4.      Write down each person's fears, concerns or anxieties.

(See next page for a guide to reading your chart).

The chart is a circle with a small circle inside its centre. 

The issue is written within this small circle. 

The large circle is divided into four quadrants.

Each quadrant has three headings:

1.      Who:

2.      Needs:

3.      Fears:

 

 Reading your chart

(See chart on previous page).

Look for: Common ground:

1.      What are the similar needs and fears?

New perspectives and insights

1.      What hadn’t you seen before?

2.      What now seems clearer?

 

Hidden agendas:

1.      What needs might hint at other underlying needs and concerns?

2.      What might be unexpressed underlying fears?

3.      What unexposed potential benefits might there be?

 

Special Concerns:

1.      What are the areas of difficulty that need most attention?

Leads:

1.      What have you noticed that is worth following through?

2.      What needs more information?

 

The next step:

1.      Pick out each party’s key needs to be met. Perhaps highlight or star them on your map. This defines the problem in terms of needs and points to options for the future.

 

Know where you are with a problem

Problems involving people have dynamic stages. Any problem moves back and forth between three stages.

Stages

Indicators

Useful strategies

 

Antecedent stage

 

Early warning signs of conflict can be identified.

1.        Meetings regarding a Negotiated Education Plan are long winded

2.        Parents/caregivers are non-verbal/ passive/aggressive

3.        Constant phone calls and/or visits.

1.        Develop meeting protocols and processes

2.        Follow up with parents/caregivers after meeting regarding their feelings

3.        Document communications.

Incident intense

 

stage When conflicts are intense, they can consume your time and energy.

1.        All stakeholders feeling uncomfortable, angry or frustrated

2.        Problem dominates your thoughts, time and energy

3.        Your expertise and knowledge challenged

4.        Stalemate/threats/wider grievance process.

1.        Develop an action plan/site management plan

2.        Take time to lower your emotional state

3.        Utilise resources and services

4.        Organise formal mediation (see later).

Maintenance stage

 

Conflicts often seem to remain at high levels of intensity.

1.        Flare ups of events/incidents

2.        Stakeholders feel uneasy.

1.        Examine precursors to incidents (i.e. patterns/ routines/cause and effect)

2.        Review individual plan, documentation and curriculum

3.        Share information.

 

 

Adapted from: Department of Education, Training and Employment. (2000). Fair and Reasonable: Disability Discrimination Act Implementation Kit. South Australia, Section 7, ‘Managing Complex Situations’, p. 2.

Problems can keep on moving between these three stages, without ever being solved. The strategies listed above, under each stage, can help to move on to a solution.

Helping to solve problems — personal behaviours for a meeting

Before the meeting

1.      Be prepared. This may include getting help from others before the meeting and/or in the meeting

2.      Plan for someone to take meeting notes.

 

During the meeting

1.      Have ground rules simply and calmly stated in a collaborative manner.

2.      Listen actively.

3.      Remember that all participants want what is best for the learner.

4.      Remain calm — slow down your breathing.

5.      Acknowledge the emotions — focus on the feelings of all parties.

6.      Reframe negative ideas and statements to reconstruct the issues in a more helpful way.

7.      Maintain a focus on the learner.

8.      Focus on options and consequences, rather than on blaming others.

9.      Be assertive, but not aggressive.

10.  Expect there will be criticism — handle it with dignity.

11.  Acknowledge mistakes.

12.  Feel free to seek help or postpone a meeting, but ensure that everyone is clear about the next steps to be taken.

 

After the meeting

1.      Debrief your feelings about the meeting with an objective person.

2.      Reflect on the meeting process and your attitude.

 

Some other important things to keep in mind in dealing with problems

1.      Acknowledge cultural differences.

2.      Develop a climate in which parents/caregivers feel able to bring an advocate or support person to a meeting.

3.      Site based grievance procedures often prevent small problems from becoming big problems.

 

Activity 4

Discuss the following scenario and questions.

A student in a junior primary special class has an intellectual disability and significant health care needs. A Health Support Plan has been documented and two school services officers have been trained to provide the support needed. The student’s parents are divorced and have a formal shared custody agreement. The parents are not willing to attend review meetings at which both parents are present and have different expectations about their child’s learning goals. At times both parents claim that their child is not being properly cared for when the child is with the other parent.

1.      How can this problem be addressed?

2.      What are the rights of the parents?

3.      What is the responsibility of the principal in this situation?

 

Discussion points for this activity are given at the end of the chapter.

Recurring problems

Sometimes, problems keep recurring. An example might be parents/caregivers approaching the school services officer, rather than the teacher, to discuss the progress of a learner. Another example might concern protocols for administering medication. When the same sort of problem keeps recurring you may consider developing a site-based information pamphlet for parents/caregivers.

Here are some suggestions to consider:

Title: Select a positive title to reflect the mutual respect and collaborative nature of problem solving.

Context: Reflect the values of the site and the importance of a positive relationship between school and community. Acknowledge the range of matters of general and personal concern.

Process for raising concerns: Give the steps towards immediate resolution agreed upon by the school community. Address matters of general and personal concern.