Inclusive, Engaging and Respectful Schools

Inclusive, engaging and respectful schools ensures every student is engaged and learns to their fullest capability and ensures all students, teachers and staff are safe in school.

Knowing, valuing and caring for all students

The Inclusive, Engaging and Respectful Schools package includes three new policies that help our schools manage the diverse spectrum of student needs to improve outcomes for all students in every public school across New South Wales.

Based on international and Australian best-practice, the policies have been developed with the input of teachers, principals, parents, carers and leading educational experts.

The new policies, framework and procedures aim to strengthen the engagement and participation of all students, including those with disability, complex and challenging behaviours and additional needs. They provide more support to teachers and also ensure all students, teachers and staff are safe in school.

STAFF ONLY: Dedicated resources for schools are available in the staff-only area of this website.

Introducing Inclusive, Engaging and Respectful Schools

Voice over

The NSW Department of Education has introduced a range of new policies and additional supports to ensure all public school students reach their full potential.

We want every student in NSW public schools to be known, valued and cared for in all parts of school life. 

Our schools play a critical role in meeting the learning and wellbeing needs of all students.

Our schools reflect our diverse communities. Around 1 in 5 students has a disability.

A growing number of students have additional learning and support needs or display behaviours of concern that require personalised support.

Families, students and schools have told us there is more we can do to ensure every student is engaged, challenged and included.

We’ve heard from school staff that they are committed to providing the best support possible for all students.

We are bringing together resources and guidance for schools to ensure every student is engaged and learning.

We will work with schools so they are well prepared to support changes.

Parents, carers and the broader school community can access resources and further information.

More information on the changes and supports is available on our website.

Why these changes

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.

We have heard from students, families and staff that there is more we can do to improve learning and wellbeing in our schools.

These new policies, framework and procedures will help ensure that best practice is consistent across all our schools.

The Inclusive, Engaging and Respectful Schools package includes:

These 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.

Releasing these together makes it easier for schools to consider any modifications or changes in an integrated way.

The Inclusive Education policy for students with disability and the Student Behaviour Policy and Procedures will come into effect at the start of Term 3 this year, and the Restrictive Practices Framework and Restrictive Practices Education and Elimination Policy and Procedures will come into effect at the start of Term 1 2023.

Preview copies are available to download in both PDF and an Easy-Read versions by selecting the links above.

Key changes

The Inclusive, Engaging and Respectful Schools pack will deliver a suite of improvements for students and staff in all NSW public schools. Key changes include:

  • reducing the length of suspensions
  • more support for students with disability to access the curriculum
  • early intervention and targeted support for vulnerable student groups
  • removing prohibited restrictive practices
  • a new model to help meet the needs of students with complex, challenging and unsafe behaviours
  • increased access by schools and students to an expanded dedicated workforce comprising specialist staff including allied health and behaviour support services
  • improving access to behaviour specialists for schools and students in regional and remote locations..

Find out more

A Preview copy of each of the policies, procedures and the framework in both PDF and Easy-Read versions, as well as a short introductory video are available on these pages:

Frequently asked questions

Find detailed answers to the questions we think you are most likely to have about these changes on our Frequently asked questions page.

Where to go next

The Inclusive, Engaging and Respectful Schools package is the latest addition to the department's existing policies, practices and procedures. You may wish to:

Information for schools

Principals, teachers and school staff can visit our (staff-only) Inclusive, Engaging and Respectful Schools pages to find out more and discover the full implementation toolkit.

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