Here you will find a series of tools co-designed through the Inclusive School Communities Project. They have been developed as practical tools that schools, students and families can use to advance inclusive practice in the education environment.
They have four main sections:
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This tool was written by Loren Swancutt, Head of Inclusive Schooling at a public high school in Queensland. Loren is highly regarded for her innovative work in relation to differentiated teaching practice and inclusive curriculum provisions, a topic she is researching as a doctoral candidate at the Queensland University of Technology.
This tool assists educators to create an inclusive school culture by providing strategies that respectfully acknowledge the competencies of all students, particularly students with disability. Educators will be encouraged to reflect upon attitudes, beliefs and assumptions of disability that impede viewing students as competent. When educators view students as competent, they will find ways to support students to demonstrate their competency. Presuming incompetence causes irreparable harm. The handout within this tool can form the basis of professional learning.
This tool assists educators to create a safe, cohesive, inclusive school culture by supporting educators to identify microaggressions and counteract these through proactive strategies. This tool can be implemented to support a social and emotional learning program or anti-bullying program in your school. The two handouts within this tool can form the basis of professional learning.
This tool is a summary of the full report on school student consultation conducted as part of the Inclusive School Communities Project. The key recommendations presented in this tool are relevant to all schools in Australia/worldwide and offer a starting point for schools wanting to move to an inclusive education framework. You are encouraged to read the full report that expands on the content in this tool https://inclusiveschoolcommunities.org.au/news/report-school-student-consultation.
To comply with the Disability Standards for Education (DSE), educators must implement reasonable adjustments so that all students have the opportunity to become active and engaged learners. For some, these adjustments apply to the way in which they access and participate in curriculum. This tool was written by Loren Swancutt following the 90-minute webinar titled ‘Making Supplementary, Substantial and Extensive Curriculum Adjustments’. This tool provides brief responses to a selection of questions raised by participants during the webinars.
Research demonstrates that when students living with disability are included in curriculum alongside their same age peers, they achieve increased results across a range of outcomes. Despite the benefits, curricular inclusion of students requiring such levels of adjustment poses a challenge of practice for teachers. This tool was written by Loren Swancutt following the 90-minute webinar titled ‘Curriculum Adjustments: A Practical Guide to Implementation’. This tool provides brief responses to a selection of questions raised by participants during the webinars.
The tool is underpinned by the Universal Design for Learning Framework which highlights the importance of being able to identify what the learning goal is (the point of the activity) and to look for options in the way the learning can be carried out (the ‘how’ of the activity) that suits your child’s needs, interests and abilities. A four-step process to unpack the learning is presented to help parents/caregivers support their children with homework tasks, assignments and lessons delivered remotely.
Schools are seeking guidance on how best to communicate and collaborate with therapists/service providers to support that student’s participation and engagement at school and their overall learning and development. This tool outlines some benefits of students engaging with therapists in school. A summary of the advantages of collaboration between schools and therapists/service providers is provided as well as the six critical elements for collaboration.
This tool is informed by the change management process undertaken by Pulteney Grammar School, an independent ELC-12 school in Adelaide, to shift from a withdrawal model to Response to Intervention (RTI). This tool introduces RTI including core features and examples of practice that schools can implement. This tool provides guidance based on Pulteney Grammar School’s experience and is useful for schools wanting to shift to RTI through a well-planned process engaging with school staff (leaders, teachers, teacher aides), students, and families.
Assistive Technology (AT) is an umbrella term for any device or system that allows individuals to perform tasks they would otherwise be unable to do, or increases the ease and safety with which tasks can be performed. This tool provides information about evidence-based ATs used in schools and links to AT products that may be suitable for students with a range of additional learning and behavioural needs. This tool is useful for school staff (as well as students and parents/caregivers) to explore how AT can assist a student or group of students to engage, socially and academically, and to reach their full potential.
This tool is an introduction to lunchtime clubs in schools that can be established to help students at risk of or experiencing social isolation in the school setting. Lunchtime clubs are an initiative to help students interact with their peers in traditionally unstructured times of the school day. Lunchtime clubs are one initiative that schools can utilise to assist students to be successful and valued members of their school community.
This tool is designed to assist school leaders and staff to reflect on the meaning of school culture. It presents ways in which schools can establish and sustain an inclusive school culture through building community and establishing inclusive values. This tool considers inclusive culture at the whole of school level (rather than in individual classrooms) and looks at how school leaders can ‘set the tone’ for inclusive education.
The Principles of Inclusion for Children and Students with Disability in Education and Care (Principles of Inclusion) were developed on behalf of the Minister for Education by the Ministerial Advisory Committee: Children and Students with Disability (MAC: CSWD). This tool presents the Principles of Inclusion and ideas for exploring them with school staff.
Values education involves teaching and learning about the ideals that a society deems important. This tool outlines the research on values pedagogy in schools and explores its relevance to developing inclusive school communities. School staff are encouraged to use this tool to expand their understanding of values education and the various ways it can be applied in classrooms, schools, and communities to support the holistic development of all students in an inclusive education setting.
School communities need to develop habits of inclusion to ensure students living with disability are not routinely excluded because they are perceived as ‘different’ or ‘other’. Perhaps the most critical factor in developing habits of inclusion is the role of the principal; they are central to facilitating systemic change and leading school staff to adopt attitudes and practices consistent with an inclusive school vision. This tool explores the mechanics of inclusive school leadership focusing on the pivotal role of school principals. This tool is intended for school leaders to evaluate and reimagine their role in driving whole-school change towards inclusive education.
School staff want up-to-date, evidence-based information and regular opportunities to explore practice issues with peers. We want to make it easier for schools to access quality professional learning (PL) around inclusive practices and disability. We have prepared a catalogue of PL for school staff in South Australia relevant to inclusive practices and working with students living with disability. This is a starting point for schools to explore and engage with PL relevant to supporting inclusive school communities.
AI is underpinned by five core principles, all of which are relevant to, and can influence pedagogical practices . AI is consistent with constructivist theories of learning and is compatible with pedagogical approaches that focus on active learning, collaboration and asking questions, such as inquiry-based learning. This tool discusses AI as a teaching approach in schools, and how it can be applied to enhance learning and teaching.
Appreciative inquiry (AI) is a strengths-based, collaborative approach to organizational change which focuses on understanding the ‘positive core’ of an organization and how this can be strengthened. This tool provides an introduction to AI including the principles and cycle. School leaders may use AI as an approach to manage change with inclusive school development.
AI has been applied in many different organisational settings and disciplines including in the education sector. The current tool presents examples of how AI has been applied to guide change in schools at different organisational levels.
For a school deepening its practice as an inclusive school community, the challenge is how best to support students with behaviours of concern so they can remain in the mainstream setting and in ways that advance their valued membership in the school community. This tool is designed to be a starter for thinking and action; it is not intended as a complete recipe for responding to behaviours of concern and it does not cover approaches such as Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) and Positive Behaviour Support (PBS). This tool is designed to assist school staff (primarily educators) to reflect on their approach to supporting students of diverse ability, where aspects of a student’s behavior cause concern.
The Pygmalion Effect has significant implications in education. If an educator has positive expectations about student’s capacity, then the Pygmalion Effect means that student will respond by rising to that expectation. This tool discusses the Pygmalion Effect and its theoretical counterpart, the ‘Golem Effect’, focusing on how this research is relevant in schools. This tool is designed to assist educators to reflect on the expectations they carry about each student in their diverse classroom. While there is a range of ways that a student's learning can be supported, a key determinant is the expectation the educator carries about that student’s chances of success.
Peer mentoring is an evidence-based way to create positive outcomes and build social capital among young people, including those with increased vulnerability. This tool outlines what mentoring involves and the benefits to those participating in mentoring relationships. The information contained in this tool will be helpful to schools considering designing and implementing a peer mentoring program.
This tool is written for parents/carers and discusses negotiating and compromising when it comes to getting the best for your child at school. Negotiating well and acknowledging that compromise, from both parties, is part of that negotiation will help create a strong relationship between the school and family and lead to the best outcomes for the child.
This tool is written for parents/carers to assist their selection of a school and support helpful conversations with school staff about engaging their child. Finding a school that believes in each child's capacity for success is essential.
This tool is written for parents/carers and school staff about creating the conditions for a collaborative relationship from the start; specifically, how schools can learn from the student and family.
For a school to deepen its practice as an inclusive community of learning, it needs to describe what it wants to achieve and why that is important. For the purpose of this tool, this is termed a ‘school inclusion policy’. Generating new policy content can be a difficult task for school leaders. This tool is designed to assist school leaders with the process of writing a new inclusion policy or reviewing and improving an existing one.
This tool is an overview of the Model of Citizenhood Support 2nd Edition; a framework for advancing people’s life chances and moving people into good, valued lives. This tool has been developed because the Model of Citizenhood Support is relevant to school staff working with young people who may be at risk of being excluded because of their circumstances.
Schools need to be proactive in creating a culture of inclusion in which all students feel a sense of belonging. This tool looks at how school staff can run a conversation or an activity that shows what inclusion is and how to do it; the idea is that it becomes a more natural thing around the school and creates an inclusive culture. Ideas for teaching students to be ‘includers’ are explored; that is to show students (and adults) how to perceive or respond to the unspoken needs of others.
Schools need quality teaching and learning tools that are informed by evidence-based approaches and practices to facilitate positive academic and social outcomes for all students. This tool provides an overview of three approaches that can support school staff to apply the social model of disability and implement inclusive school policies and practices: strengths-based approach, growth mindset, and social capital.
It is essential to inclusion that school staff (including leaders, educators, teacher aides, office staff, and other site staff) understand the various policies and laws and meet their legal (and moral and social justice) obligations to students living with disability and their families. This tool provides a brief overview of disability rights and inclusion policies relevant to education.
Schools are encouraged to support their staff to examine their assumptions about disability, discuss relevant definitions and concepts, and reflect on the models of disability. This tool is designed to help school staff reflect on their beliefs about students living with disability and to discover which model of disability their worldview is most aligned with. The questionnaire provided in the tool can be used to stimulate critical self-reflection among staff and with clear guidance and support, a shared understanding of the school’s view towards diversity and inclusion.
Models of disability affect beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviours toward people living with disability. School staff require an understanding of the models of disability in order to provide quality teaching and learning experiences for students living with disability. This tool focuses on the social model of disability, which is about removing barriers to inclusion, and its application in schools. Foundational concepts within disability studies that are relevant for school staff are introduced in this tool.
This tool is an introduction to terminology and concepts relevant to disability and inclusion. It is designed to assist school staff to understand the various perspectives of disability and the importance of countering ableism through using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and a social justice perspective within the curricula. School staff need to have shared beliefs on what inclusion is and how this can be achieved for it to be successful and for all students to be genuinely included, regardless of ability and identity.
This tool is intended as an introduction to accessibility and Universal Design (UD) for school staff. UD is a way of thinking about environments and curricula that schools can apply to maximize access and participation of all students in high quality inclusive educational experiences. This tool discusses the application of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to curricula and eliminating barriers. Schools are encouraged to use this information to shape the way they think about and design their environments and curricula to meet the needs of all students.