Inclusive education means that all members of every school community are valued and supported to fully participate, learn, develop and succeed within an inclusive school culture.
The aim is to create safe and inclusive school environments for students with disabilities and additional needs.
The initiatives focus on developing the knowledge and skills of school staff and giving schools clearer guidance and specialist support to better respond to the needs of students with disabilities.
Welcoming student differences
Victoria has a strong and vibrant education system that celebrates diversity and is committed to supporting the achievement and participation of all students. Inclusive education acknowledges that some children and young people have intersecting identities or additional needs that schools may need to take into consideration. These identities may relate to:
- having a disability or additional learning needs
- gender identity
- sexual orientation
- being an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person
- cultural identity
- speaking a language other than English
- social factors
- economic factors
- experience of abuse, neglect or family violence.
Review of the program for students with disabilities
The initiatives in the inclusive education agenda are a response to recommendations from the review of the program for students with disabilities.
The review investigated how schools can provide the best learning for children and young people with disabilities.
The review provided recommendations on:
- the current program for students with disabilities ability to meet the needs and maximise the learning of all children and young people with disabilities in Victorian government schools
- the future capacity of the government school system to meet the specific needs of students with autism spectrum disorder and dyslexia
- the feasibility of shifting to a strength-based, functional needs assessment approach for students with disabilities. This is consistent with the directions of the National Disability Insurance Scheme
- the efficacy of the current year 6–7 program — its purpose, timing, requirements and influence on students' transition from primary to secondary school, and recommendations of alternative models
- the program's capacity to support the Victorian Government's commitment to excellence in inclusive education, including an assessment of accountabilities
- advice on operationalising the recommendations of the review, including transition implications.
The review was informed by several resources, including:
- academic research
- Australian Government reports
- material from disability organisations.
The research provides an ongoing evidence base that may assist with implementing the Government's response to the review.
The literature used in the review represents the views of the authors and does not necessarily reflect our views or the State of Victoria.
Consultations were run with more than 100 participants representing 24 organisations, facilitated by Dr Graeme Innes, the former Australian Disability Discrimination Commissioner.
170 submissions were received from the public and there were 1400 respondents to an online survey to determine the attitudes of key stakeholder groups towards potential policy options.
Review report and response
Download the review report and the Government's response:
- Program for students with disabilities report (PDF, 4.5MB)
- Program for students with disabilities report (DOCX, 8.45MB)
- The Government's response: Inclusive education for all students with disabilities and additional needs (PDF, 1MB)
- Inclusive education for all students with disabilities and additional needs (DOCX, 120KB)
Students with a disability policy
The Students with a Disability school policy gives schools a clear definition of inclusive education and what the legal obligations are for supporting students with disabilities. The policy is part of the inclusive education agenda focused on improving outcomes for students with disabilities.
Defining 'students with disabilities and additional needs'
The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) defines the term ‘disability’ as referring to physical, intellectual, mental and medical impairments, including disorders that result in a person learning differently.
This means that the policy applies to all students with a disability, not just those who are eligible for support under targeted programs such as the Program for Students with Disabilities.
What Victorian students have to say about inclusive education
Watch the video: What does inclusion means to me?
Download the poster: What inclusion means to me poster (PDF, 3.3MB)