Girl leaning over laptop, papers on her desk, head in her hands from frustration

Unpacking the learning at home – a guide for parents

This 10 minute video guide is aimed at parents looking for ideas to support their children’s learning at home.

The guide was developed in response to COVID-19 but the strategies are just as relevant once your children return to school and bring their work and assignments home.

The guide is underpinned by the Universal Design Learning Framework and highlights the importance of having a clear learning goal; choice and flexibility in the way the learning can be carried out and empowering your child to take control of their own learning.


Learning from home for students with disability during COVID-19

This week we have been reflecting on the impact of learning from home or students with disability, in particular students with communication and social needs. In this podcast I chat with Gail Williams, Deputy Principal of a special school in Queensland and Dr Bree Jimenez, Research Consultant with Mater Dei School in NSW and Research Associate with the University of Sydney.

Both acknowledge the energy and commitment of their teachers over the last couple of weeks in shifting their practice to support their students with learning from home. They identify the particular challenges for their students that include the nee to see and hear their teachers as well as addressing learning needs that go beyond the learning areas.

They highlight the importance of harnessing genuine person-centred planning as the way forward – a shared responsibility in identifying student/family prioirities and ways to support these priorities. We may need to slow down and give consideration to the fact that learning does not always have to be about something new, it could be about providing opportunities for repeated practice of what we’ve already been doing.

You can listen to the full podcast by selecting the play button below.

Using UDL to guide the development of inclusive online learning.

We wanted to reach out to our school communities to let you know that we are here to support you make online learning accessible and inclusive of all of your learners.

The shift to online learning, whether that be at home or at school, is going to take some time to get used to. Some of our students will adapt readily, others may find the transition more difficult. There are many variables to consider and that is why we have created a resource, drawing from the UDL guidelines, that we hope will guide and prompt your thinking as you design your online materials.

We will continue to share ideas and resources over the coming months to support inclusive online learning. So please get in contact – let us know if this resource has been helpful for you or if you would like more support from us.


Submission – NSW Curriculum Review

The NSW Curriculum Review aims to enhance the effectiveness of school education in NSW. At Inclusive Schools Australia we believe that a 21st century curriculum must be inclusive of all learners and this can only be achieved if the curriculum is truly developed with all learners in mind from the outset. For too long we have had a curriculum for most but not for all. NSW schools currently rely on add-ons and exemptions to support students with the greatest challenges. Life Skills outcomes and content are the current ‘add-on’ which result in ‘exemptions’ from the same academic rigour and assessment practices associated with the regular curriculum. This is neither helpful for teachers nor equitable for students and has resulted in:

  • a default curriculum for special schools and support units from Year 7 onwards.
  • an opt-out curriculum for students who are disengaged or struggling (academics; behaviour; mental health).
  • an opt-out curriculum for teachers/schools struggling to manage challenging students, particularly when Life Skills assessment data does not count.
  • a simplified curriculum for non-specialist high-school teachers running a support class or special school class across the whole day on a primary model.
  • an alternative to the Australian Curriculum content – there is no Australian Curriculum content tagged in any of the Life Skills syllabuses. That is not to say it is not present, but it indicates an alternative syllabus development process that permits content to be omitted for students who cannot access the regular course outcomes.
  • a curriculum that supports segregation and low expectations. Without assessment expectations other than achieved or achieved with support teachers can essentially teach what they like against the same outcome/s for an extended period.

We believe the focus for an inclusive curriculum should be on providing alternative access rather than alternative content. Read our full submission to the NSW Curriculum Review in which we compare curriculum models nationally and internationally and highlight the advantages of developing and delivering curriculum using the Universal Design for Learning framework.


Inclusive Schools Australia’s response to Senator Hanson’s remarks in parliament

Inclusive Schools Australia strongly condemns the statements made by Senator Pauline Hanson in parliament on Wednesday 21 June 2017. Her statements showed a lack of understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorders and a naivety about the type of support available to students with autism in schools.


Students with disability, including students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, have the fundamental right to participate in a regular classroom in a mainstream school.  This right is recognised in Article 24 of the  Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in General Comment No. 4 (Right to Inclusive Education). In Australia these rights are protected by the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education 2005


We recognise that Senator Hanson’s comments may have been informed by the personal experiences of some of her constituents, however the evidence available does not support her assertions about the impact on other students in the classroom. The research evidence strongly and consistently demonstrates benefits both academically and socially for students with disability from inclusion in regular mainstream classrooms. This same research also demonstrates no impact on academic outcomes and positive impacts on social and emotional outcomes for their non-disabled.


All school settings require greater access to funding, resources and professional learning to develop the capacity of teachers, teaching assistants and school leaders to effectively cater for the wide ranging diversity of learners in Australian classrooms today. Teachers in classrooms need to be supported to provide high quality teaching programs that recognise the diverse learning needs of all students in their care.


Inclusive Schools Australia has been created to build capacity within the education sector to action the intention of the Australian Curriculum to provide high quality curriculum that promotes equity and excellence to all students without exception.