Frequently asked questions

Answers to your questions about the Inclusive, Engaging and Respectful Schools package.

About the Inclusive, Engaging and Respectful package

Inclusive, Engaging and Respectful schools brings together new policies and system-wide supports on inclusive education for students with disability, student behaviour and restrictive practices, to ensure every student can reach their full potential in NSW public schools.

The Inclusive, Engaging and Respectful Schools package aims to strengthen school practice around inclusive education, behaviour management and restrictive practices. The package includes the

  • Inclusive Education Policy for students with disability
  • Student Behaviour Policy and Procedures; and
  • The Restrictive Practices Framework and Restrictive Practices Reduction and Elimination Policy and Procedures

These changes provide more guidance, support, training and resources to help us create safe and inclusive learning environments and to manage student behaviour positively and consistently. These policies and their supporting resources will help schools meet their Strategic Improvement Plan and legal obligations.

The policies have been released to schools in Term 1 for familiarisation.

The policies become operational in Term 2.  As appropriate, during this time, your school may consult with parents and carers, student, and relevant specialists.

The three policies work together to support the inclusion and engagement of students. They will ensure schools are in the best position to help all students reach their full potential across the entire NSW public education system.

Each of these policies have distinct aims and objectives, but they are fundamentally integrated and interconnected. By releasing these three reforms together the impact of the changes will be realised for students more quickly. 

The policies deliver a student-centred approach and they provide practical resources for teachers and leaders, on the ground support from specialists in behaviour and wellbeing, professional learning and development, and clear guidance around how policies and procedures should be implemented across every NSW public school.

Inclusive Education for students with disability

The NSW Government is committed to building a more inclusive education system. An education system where every student is known, valued and cared for and all students are learning to their fullest capability.

In August 2020, the Department launched the Inclusive Education for Students with Disability statement. The statement builds on the commitment to inclusion set out in the Disability Strategy, which was developed together with educators, disability experts, families, and carers.

The Department has developed the Inclusive Education Policy for Students with Disability to clarify the roles and responsibilities of staff. The policy is supported by new practice resources to support schools to strengthen inclusive practice.

The ensures the safety of all students, staff and people at our schools, and meet our legislative obligations under the Disability Standards for Education 2005 legislation

Read our statement of commitment to inclusive education for students with disability

The Inclusive Practice Hub provides evidence-based resources about different disability types, common strengths and challenges, and teaching strategies.

There are no plans to remove the existing options available to families for their child to attend their local school, a support class or SSP where it best meets their child’s individual needs.

We value the knowledge and professionalism of our workforce within mainstream and specialist settings and their commitment to ensuring students with disability receive a high-quality education.

New practice resources are available to support your child’s classroom experience to strengthen inclusive practice. The decision to develop these resources is based on our extensive consultation with school leaders, teachers, and specialists.


New resources are in addition to existing resources, including:


  • Professional Learning on supporting students with disability
  • An Inclusive Practice Hub with evidence-based resources about different disability types, common strengths and challenges, and teaching strategies.
  • Achieving School Excellence in Wellbeing and Inclusion’ tool to support leaders to understand what excellence in inclusive practice looks like.
  • Optional scenario-based training for school leaders that cover a range of different inclusive education challenges schools commonly face.

Student behaviour policy and procedures

Our vision is for the NSW education system to be the best education system in Australia and one of the finest in the world.

The Student Behaviour Strategy, released on 8 March 2021, encompasses three key areas: practice; support; and ongoing improvement and systems changes.

The new Policy and Procedures are one element of our work under the Strategy to ensure our vision applies to all of our students - no matter where they live or what their background is - throughout their entire educational experience.

Our Student Behaviour Strategy outlines the case for change and why this work is important.

The new Student Behaviour Policy and Procedures have been released as part of the Student Behaviour Strategy

Delivered within the continuum of care, explicit teaching works best when working directly with students to develop their social, emotional and behaviour skills. Aims to achieve enhanced positive behaviour outcomes for students with positive social, emotional and behavioural learning and wellbeing outcomes. Teachers are provided with new and improved professional learning based on positive behaviour principles, together with tools and resources.

Restrictive practices

A restrictive practice is any action that has the effect of restricting the rights or freedom of movement of a person, with the primary purpose of protecting the person or others from harm.

The policy ensures practice is in line with upcoming changes to legislation through the Persons with Disability (Regulation of Restrictive Practices) Bill 2021.

If a child or young person’s behaviour threatens their safety, the safety of other children or young people and staff, a staff member must only take action, if it is safe to do so.

The Framework and policy outline that in an emergency or crisis situation, such as a fight between students, restrictive practices must only be used if their use is proportionate to the risk or threat and there is no other way to prevent the injury.

The department is balancing a new student-centred approach to the use of restrictive practices in schools and government preschools with the need to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of all children, young people and staff. With clear plans in place, the need to use restrictive practices should reduce or be eliminated except when strictly necessary.

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