Inclusive education for students with disability

Inclusive education in NSW is defined as all students, regardless of disability, ethnicity, socio-economic status, nationality, language, gender, sexual orientation or faith, can access and fully participate in learning, alongside their similar aged peers, supported by reasonable adjustments and teaching strategies tailored to meet their individual needs.

Inclusion is embedded in all aspects of school life, and is supported by culture, policies and everyday practices. Inclusion means education environments that adapt the design and physical structures, teaching methods, and curriculum as well as the culture, policy and practice of education environments so that they are accessible to all students without discrimination.

Inclusive education in NSW public schools is an ongoing process of reflection, evaluation and reform at all levels across the Department: in classrooms, schools, and networks, and in policy, practice, projects and culture.

Staff and students discuss Inclusive Education in NSW public schools

On screen text: Inclusive education in NSW public schools.

On screen text: Hobartville Public School, NSW.

Female teacher talking to camera.

We have 5 classes in our support unit from Kindergarten to year 6.

On screen text: Cate Clark, Hobartville Public School.

Female school principal talking to camera.

Every student has an individual learning plan. The curriculum is differentiated to meet their specific needs.

On screen text: Lisa Crawford, Hobartville Public School.

The students in our support unit are treated exactly the same way as every child in the school.

They are included in the assemblies, classrooms, playgrounds, peer support programs, sport, dancing, creative arts.

We follow the same curriculum as everybody else. We often do a lot of activities with the mainstream classes.

Inclusion is not just placing a child somewhere. Inclusion is making sure that the students have the skills and the comfort to be doing the activities that we’re asking them to do

On screen text: Kylie, parent, Hobartville Public School.

Woman talking to camera.

I feel all of my children are included in the school. They can play together and feel comfortable wherever they are, whether or not it's in the classroom or out in the playground.

Upbeat music.

On screen text: Woollahra Public School, NSW.

On screen text: Nicole Molloy, Principal, Woollahra Public School.

Female school principal talking to camera.

We really work on having a mindset of inclusion. There should never be a sense that any child's disadvantaged because they have any individual needs.

It's important because that that's our job, no child is disadvantaged and equity drives everything that we do.

On screen text: Jacqui Dahl, Principal, Penrith Valley School.

On screen text: Penrith Valley School, NSW.

Female school principal talking to camera.

Many of our students will have a number of things that they've been diagnosed with. Might be depression, might be anxiety, conditions like PTSD, ADHD, ODD. Could be autism.

On screen text: Jake Matthews, Teacher, Penrith Valley School.

Male teacher talking to camera.

We have smaller classes. We have a great opportunity for them to get some one on one tuition. They've got great opportunity to work on some behaviour management strategy. Mindfulness is one, wellbeing is another.

On screen text: Jorden, Student, Penrith Valley School.

Male teenager talking to camera.

When I finish I will either go to uni or staff and at the moment I’m really pulling towards TAFE.

On screen text: Cath Eddie, Principal, Wentworth Public School.

Female school principal talking to camera.

Inclusive education means equity not equality so we don’t have a one size fits all – whatever our students need that’s what we try and provide.

On screen text: Cath Eddie, Principal, Wentworth Public School, NSW.

On screen text: Marni Milne, Narrandera High School.

On screen text: Narrandera High School, NSW.

Female school principal talking to camera.

In terms of the impact of all the changes and the inclusive practices have had at the school, student enrolments have increased as we’re gaining greater credibility in the community.

There is a focus on inclusive education that encompasses everyone in the school right from your office staff to your teaching staff

NSW Government logo.

End of transcript.

Our commitment to inclusive education

We are committed to building a more inclusive education system, one in which every student is known, valued and cared for, and receives a high-quality education that enables them to excel.

We remain committed to providing students with an education that best meets their individual needs and supports them with learning to their fullest capability. We also acknowledge the importance of parental choice regarding the type of education provided to their child.

We are committed to making inclusive education real for all our students with disability in our mainstream schools and their support classes, and schools for specific purposes.

We are committed to continue to listen and work with students, parents and educators.

We are committed to growing inclusive practice, sharing knowledge across the system, and building the capacity of our NSW public schools to meet the needs of their local students in an inclusive school culture.

In NSW, we strive to embed inclusive education across all of our public schools.

Our inclusive education policy

We have developed a policy to support inclusive practice. Access the Inclusive Education policy for students with disability here.

Resources to support inclusion

We want our teachers to have the right skills and confidence to meet the diverse needs of students, supporting them in learning to their fullest potential. This includes:

More information on each of these is located within these pages.


We are continuing to build evidence on what supports students with disability to achieve the best learning outcomes. Our key research pieces can be found here.

Return to top of page Back to top