RECOMMENDATIONS

RECOMMENDATIONS

Recommendation 1

4.1                  The committee recommends that the government commits to funding schools on the basis of need, according to the Gonski Review.

Recommendation 2

4.2                  The committee recommends that the government fund all students with disability on the basis of need by reversing its cuts to final two years of the Gonski Reforms.

Recommendation 3

4.3                  The committee recommends that the government heeds the warnings of witnesses that linking school funding to the Consumer Price Index will result in funding cuts in real terms and reduce access to education for students with disability.

Recommendation 4

4.4                  The committee recommends that the government keeps its commitment to use the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability to deliver more funding for students with disability based on their individual needs in 2016.

Recommendation 5

4.5                  The committee recommends that the government release the results of the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability for 2015, and previous years, as a matter of urgency.

Recommendation 6

5.38             The committee recommends that a dedicated Disability Discrimination Commissioner be reinstated to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Recommendation 7

5.39             The Committee recommend that the government works with states, territories and school systems to:

  1. Establish a national approach to ending the bullying of students with disability. This should be supported with programs and resources for schools, teachers and students.
  2. Make it mandatory for all initial teacher education courses to ensure beginning teachers enter the classroom with best-practice skills in the inclusion of students with disability. The government should also work with states and territories to ensure current teachers, principals and support staff are supported to develop inclusive education skills in areas such as universal design for learning, differentiated teaching and cooperative learning.
  3. Investigate the establishment a national qualification standard for teacher aids and assistants to ensure they have the knowledge and skills required to support learning for all students. States and territories should also provide guidance on the role of support staff in inclusive classrooms.
  4. Prioritise the development of a national approach to modifying the curriculum for students with disability. This should include implementation tools and professionals development support for teachers to ensure that all students are supported to learn to their fullest potential.
  5. Better support school systems, teachers and principals to continually improve the accuracy and effectiveness of the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability program.

Recommendation 8

5.40             In light of the limitations of the evidence presented, the committee recommends the government work with states and territories to establish a process for the collection and publication of information about levels of access and attainment for students with disability. This should include information about:

  1. whether students attend school part or full time;
  2. rates of home schooling and distance education;
  3. educational attainment;
  4. rates of restrictive practices and seclusion;
  5. suspension and expulsion rates;
  6. school completion;
  7. availability of specialist support for teachers and principals;
  8. workforce skills and the availability of professional development in inclusive education for teachers and principals;
  9. access to allied health and interdisciplinary support; and
  10. bullying and wellbeing.

Recommendation 9

5.41             The committee recommends the government work with states, territories, experts, stakeholders, school systems, parents and students to establish a national strategy to improve the education of students with disability. The strategy should aim to:

  1. recognise all students with disability as learners and drive the cultural change required to achieve this, particularly at a school leadership level;
  2. define the goals and priorities for improving the educational outcomes of students with disability, set clear timelines for their achievement and report publically on progress;
  3. increase school participation and access rates for students with disability;
  4. close the gap in Year 10 and Year 12 completion;
  5. ensure all students with disability can access adjustments and interdisciplinary support that will maximise their learning potential;
  6. ensure all students with disability benefit from evidence-based, best practice programs which lead to improvements in access and attainment;
  7. improve the accountability at a system and student level for ensuring better learning outcomes for students with disability;
  8. support schools, teachers and principals to close the gap between research and classroom practice;
  9. establish best-practice ongoing professional development for teachers, principals and others who work in the school system;
  10. include students with disability and their families in the development of the educational plan for their child, and encourage the meaningful ongoing engagement of parents;
  11. establish a national inclusion measure for schools; and
  12. establish independent review and complaints mechanisms so parents, teachers and students can have full confidence in the system.

Recommendation 10

5.42             The committee recommends the government works with states and territories to end restrictive practices in schools, consistent with the recommendations of the 2015 Senate Inquiry into violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in institutional and residential settings, including the gender and age related dimensions, and the particular situation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, and culturally and linguistically diverse people with disability.

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