The Inclusive School Communities Project, delivered by JFA Purple Orange and governed by a steering group comprised of local and national stakeholders, is building the capacity of 15 South Australian schools for creating inclusive school communities. The purpose of the project is to facilitate improved access and inclusion of students living with disability in mainstream schools from government, catholic and independent sectors. People living with disability are involved in co-design and co-production project activities including a team of Inclusive School Mentors, young people living with disability who bring rich experience of their own education journeys.
We have drawn together schools already engaging in inclusive practices to form a Community-of-Practice (CoP). CoPs are groups of people who share a profession or concern and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. The CoP is providing a platform for peer support focused on inclusive school development; giving school leaders the space and resources to reflect, explore, learn, synthesize, plan, and apply inclusive school policies and practices. The project methodology is a cascade model where the first group of schools influence and support a second group of schools to plan and implement inclusive school policies and practices.
We are developing an Inclusive Schools Toolkit, a continuously growing body of information, across a range of formats and accessible to all schools. We hope our Toolkit will stimulate the replication of good practices across the South Australian education system.
The Inclusive School Communities Project is funded by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Information Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) Jurisdictional Based Grants. The project commenced on 1 July 2018 and will conclude on 30 June 2020. We hope this methodology will create sufficient momentum to develop inbuilt sustainability and roll out practice to an increasing number of schools in South Australia.