Innovation Program

Seven applications involving 16 NSW Government schools and two preschools have been chosen as successful Disability Strategy Innovation Program partners.

The Innovation Program aims to build an evidence base for what works to support students with disability and determine how we could scale-up ideas across NSW schools.

Schools put forward innovative ideas to improve the learning and wellbeing of students with disability. 197 applications were received from 262 NSW government schools.

Applications reflect the diversity of our schools and came from metro, regional and rural areas. Ideas were put forward by principals of government pre-schools, primary schools and high schools, as well as schools for specific purposes. Many schools also chose to partner together.

Successful application ideas:

  • Increasing coordination between health and education services to ensure students with disability are effectively supported. Partners: Nowra East Public School (including Wayeela Cooinda Preschool), Shoalhaven High School, Greenwell Point Public School, Falls Creek Public School, Culburra Public School, Callala Public School, and independent learning centres Clipper Road Children's Centre and Lyrebird Preschool.
  • Mapping the design of a system service model that scales out the use of telepresence robots for students with long term absences. Partner: The Children's Hospital School.
  • Testing the technology of telepresence robots, to see how well it engages students with the classroom and their peers. Partner: The Ponds School.
  • Supporting students with disability to transition to higher education or employment by building staff capacity around trauma-informed practice, quality teaching and curriculum adjustments, as well as clinical interventions. Partners: Albion Park High School, Flametree (an annex of Figtree High School), Lake Illawarra High School, Coniston Public School.
  • Capturing the voices of students with disability in Individual Education Plans using a visual tool to include their goals. Partners: Bankstown South Infants School, Punchbowl Public School (Preschool and Early Intervention classes), Chalmers Road School.
  • Mapping and integrating a program for students with moderate to severe intellectual disability into the education curriculum for students in Years 9 -12. Partner: William Rose School
  • An action research project to improve student learning and wellbeing in early years using universal design for learning (UDL) and co-teaching. Partners: Punchbowl Public School (Preschool and Early Intervention classes).

Nine additional projects have been chosen as Disability Strategy initiatives. We will work with these schools on how their ideas could impact outcomes such as attendance, engagement and suspension for students with disability.

The Ponds School Principal Leonie Donaldson said telepresence robots will make a big difference for students who are missing whole terms of learning because of illness or disability.

“The robots help students feel more connected and engaged with their teacher and peers and that’s a great benefit in their learning,” Ms Donaldson said.

Bankstown South Infants School Early Intervention Teacher Judy Chan said the school is excited about giving students a voice in their Individual Education Plans.

“Using pictures will enable them to make choices about their interests. Children learn best when we can plan learning around their goals and interests,” Ms Chan said.

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