Innovation Program

The Innovation Program is testing innovative ideas from our schools with the goal of improving learning and wellbeing outcomes for students with disability.

We are working with 30 public schools, two government preschools and two early childhood education centres as well as partners, to test and evaluate ideas.

Our goal is to build the evidence base for approaches that schools can use to support great learning outcomes for students with disability and additional learning needs.

The Innovation Program is a commitment under the Disability Strategy that sets out the department’s plan for providing children and young people with disability, their families and the broader community with an education system that meets their needs.

Projects and initiatives

The Innovation Program was designed in response to requests from schools for greater support and more flexibility in supporting students with disability.

Our team is working alongside partners to provide and test resources, skills, knowledge, and tools so we can determine their effectiveness and suitability to be scaled-up across NSW.

Successful ideas are being tested as part of two streams:

Projects and initiatives started from May 2020. Projects had varying start and finish times some of which were impacted by COVID-19. All projects are expected to finish by March 2021.

We are sharing the achievements and lessons learned to ensure best-practice and emerging evidence supports continuous learning across all NSW schools.

Expressions of interest

The Innovation Program received a total of 197 applications from over 260 schools across NSW during our 2019-2020 application round.

Applications reflect the diversity of our schools. Many schools also chose to partner together.

Applications came from:

  • Rural (21%), regional (34%) and metro (45%) schools.

  • Schools for specific purposes (17%), mainstream schools (25%), support classes in mainstream schools (45%) and others (13%).

  • Pre-school (4%), primary school (53%), high school (39%), and post-school (4%) settings.

Schools were asked to put forward ideas that were innovative, measurable and scalable.

A map shows the locations the locations and school settings where applications for the Innovation Program were submitted. Submissions largely came from secondary and primary schools within the Sydney area, with other submission hotspots along the coast of NSW.

All applications were thoroughly considered through multiple rounds of review and assessment.

If you would like to share an innovative approach working well for students with disability in your school, you are always welcome to email the Disability Strategy team.

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