Parents and carers of students with disability were invited to attend the Inclusive Teaching and Learning, SERU Parent Forum on Thursday 1 September 2022
The day commenced with a welcome by our new Director, Rhoni McFarlane. Rhoni introduced herself and, as well as being available throughout the day for one on one discussions, provided a Department update, highlighting four of the key reforms. The first one being, improvements to the Inclusive Education Support Program (IESP), a program that provides funding to schools and preschools to support the functional needs of students. An update and overview of the newly released Practice Guides followed. These Guides have been developed to provide evidence based strategies and advice to improve learning outcomes for students with additional needs. At this stage, the Guides are only available to Department staff but parents/carers can approach their school to gain access if required. Next, Rhoni provided an update of the work that SERU will be actioning, which is to plan, design and implement quality targeted training packages for educators who support students with disability. And finally, she discussed the Autism Inclusion Teacher Initiative in primary schools and the role of the newly appointed Assistant Minister for Autism, Emily Bourke.
Anna Noble, Assistant Director Inclusive Practice, introduced the SERU Parent Engagement Project, which aims to lead reform work to build leaders’ and teachers’ capacity in knowing and using inclusive practices, by identifying and supporting opportunities that build and amplify supportive practices for families, schools and preschools. This provided participants with the opportunity to discuss and share ways they engage with their school and identify which behaviours as mostly helpful/mostly not helpful. Supporting the Parent Engagement Project, participants discussed ways we could develop and share communication ideas and resources with schools and provided feedback on what would be helpful to know and discuss before we progress.
The morning provided plenty of time for networking and connecting, conversations focussed on Parent Engagement and support for one another.
In the afternoon Hermione Farmer and Nicole Gooden, presented on the One Plan based on the questions participants provided at registration. Most, if not all questions were addressed during the presentation as well as time at the end for more.
Participants left with positive feedback and a smile as the day ended with a little light relief; a new agenda item that supports wellbeing, providing a positive end to what can be an emotional day. Today’s video was a short skit by Peter Kay about misheard lyrics….very funny!
Planning is underway for Term 4