Building an inclusive education system

The 2020 progress report on improving outcomes for students with disability has been released.

Students in NSW public schools living with a disability are more supported than ever before according to a new report released this week.

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Sarah Mitchell tabled the second progress report on reforms taken to improve outcomes for the more than 125,000 students in NSW learning with disability.

“Our teachers, principals and school staff work incredibly hard each day to support students with a disability so that they receive the education they deserve,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Significant improvements have been made in 2020 in all four key areas of the Disability Strategy; support for teachers and staff, resourcing, support for families and building best practice.

“In 2020, 160 teachers were successful recipients of our Inclusive Practice in Education scholarship, each receiving up to $23,000 develop their skills and confidence in supporting students with disability.

“This year we’ve also expanded our scholarship program to allow staff to study a Graduate Diploma of Special/Inclusive Education, a Masters with specialisation in the area of hearing and vision or a Masters in Special/Inclusive Education.

“All school leaders now take Disability Standards for Education training ensuring staff understand their legal obligations to make sure students living with a disability can access and participate in education on the same basis as students without disability.

“Families and carers now have access to online resources to make it easier for them to find the advice and information they need to support their child through their education journey.”

Ms Mitchell said the Disability Strategy commits the department to an ambitious reform agenda, and the progress report demonstrates we are going beyond this to consider students with disability in everything we do in schools.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said schools in NSW are supportive places for students who are living with a disability.

“When students feel included and welcomed, they can achieve their learning goals and reach their fullest potential. We are taking important steps towards a more equitable education system for students with disability,” Mr Ward said.

The report also discusses a range of further initiatives that are on track for release next year that will further enhance education outcomes for students with disability and their families.

These include:

  • Further improvements to how students with disability and their families access support so it is provided in a more timely, consistent and transparent way. The expansion of mental health services and the availability of better research on what works best to support students with disability.
  • An outcomes measurement framework for students with disability to track progress.
  • Media releases
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