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Student Support

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Inclusive education

Inclusive education recognises education's role in redressing social disadvantage and social injustice. Inclusive education requires schools to be supportive places that engage all students, teachers and members of the school community.

Inclusive education is about building communities that value, celebrate and respond positively to diversity. It is underpinned by respectful relationships between students, teachers, other education workers, parents and carers.

The department's policy and curriculum reform initiatives give schools guidelines for enacting inclusive education practices within the contemporary education context by:

  • supporting all students to engage with and contribute to schools' cultures, curriculums and communities
  • recognising that diversity within schools and communities is a strength and a context for learning
  • promoting the development of whole-school curriculum plans that respond to the needs of all students in the school community
  • helping all students understand and value diversity.

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Students with disabilities

The department provides targeted educational support to students who meet the department's disability criteria for:

  • autism spectrum disorder
  • hearing impairment
  • intellectual impairment
  • physical impairment
  • speech and language impairment
  • vision impairment.

Throughout the Early Phase, Middle Phase and Senior Phase of Learning, a broad range of educational programs and support services, including specialist teachers and teacher aides, are available to primary, secondary and special schools.

Additional services, including therapy, nursing and guidance services, are available to support students with disabilities who attend primary, secondary and special schools.

In 2008-09, the department invested $10.9 million in the third year of its $37.9 million, four-year commitment to support students with disabilities under the Improving Outcomes for Students with Disabilities strategy.

As Table 5 shows, the department supports a growing number of students with disabilities each year.

Table 5: Students with disabilities

Students with disabilities 2005-2006 2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009
Number of state schools providing special education programs 486 495 486 573
Number of students with disabilities identified as needing specialist care enrolled in state schools 14 127 15 282 16 410 17 846
Number of students in special schools 2850 2950 3050 3300
Number of state special schools 47 47 47 47

Source: Department of Education and Training

Note: Figures were obtained from Statewide Forecasts, and calculated using projections of the most recent trends, typically across the previous three years of August Census full-time enrolments.

Figures 13 and 14 show that parents of children with disabilities value Queensland's approach to schooling these children.

In 2008-09, parents of children in special schools tended to be more satisfied (92.4 per cent) than parents of students with disabilities in state schools (80.1 per cent). This satisfaction level might have been influenced by the specialised nature of the programs that state special schools offer.

Trends across the four years from 2005-06 to 2008-09 show very little fluctuation in overall satisfaction levels.

click on the graph to enlarge Click on the graph to enlarge

Figure 13: Parents' satisfaction with their child's school - students with disabilities attending a state school

  • : Parents' satisfaction with their child's school  Students with disabilities attending a state school [KPI]
Key Performance Indicators
 

Source: Department of Education and Training

Figure 14: Parents' satisfaction with their child's school - students with disabilities attending a special school

  • Parents' satisfaction with their child's school  Students with disabilities attending a special school
 

Source: Department of Education and Training

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Introducing AUSLAN

In 2008-09, the department invested $6.4 million in the second year of its $30 million, four-year commitment to continue the transition to Australian Sign Language (Auslan) as the language of instruction for deaf and hearing impaired students who require signed communication.

This funding provided:

  • an additional 55 full-time equivalent teacher aides to work across the state as educational interpreters and Auslan language models, providing direct support to deaf and hearing impaired students
  • an additional 10 full-time equivalent teacher positions across the state to support the transition process
  • a statewide project manager to coordinate the transition program's implementation, including staff coaching and mentoring
  • professional development for teachers and teacher aides around the state to improve their Auslan skills, and implement teaching techniques to improve these students' English and Auslan skills
  • a service agreement with Deaf Australia to develop and deliver Auslan short courses
  • development and delivery of Griffith University's four-semester course of Auslan Studies for teachers and teacher aides
  • production of DVD resources that capture stories told using Auslan for staff and parents to use to improve their Auslan skills
  • grants for schools to purchase resources and safety equipment, such as flashing alarms for bells and warning systems, and to purchase equipment which will increase communication access in education facilities.

Oral and English literacy skills are vitally important to young deaf and hearing impaired students. Therefore, the department also continues to support oral (spoken) language skills for hearing impaired students who do not require Auslan.

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Improving outcomes for students in the state's care

Students in the care of the state often need additional educational support. Students in the care of the state often need additional educational support. The department works with the Department of Child Safety to deliver the Education Support Funding Program (ESFP).

The ESFP helps deliver a wide range of programs and resources, including counselling and therapeutic services, and classroom support.

The ESFP also helps develop and implement education support plans, which support individual students' educational participation, achievement and wellbeing by helping service providers develop strategies that best meet their needs.

In 2008-09, the ESFP provided $5.75 million for delivering education support plans, which included:

  • support to 3522 students in the state's care who attend state schools. These funds help implement strategies and deliver enhanced services and programs identified through the education support planning process. The funds were used to provide such services as teacher aide support for individual students, intensive learning support, and homework assistance and tutoring
  • funding of $611 000 to enable the Queensland Catholic Education Commission and Independent Schools Queensland to continue to develop education support plans, and provide additional resources and programs to support children in state care. Funding supported 136 students in independent schools and 298 students in Catholic schools.

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Support for students from ESL backgrounds

English as a Second Language (ESL) students come from various backgrounds. In 2008-09, the department continued to support ESL students who need assistance to participate in the school curriculum (other than Indigenous students, who are assisted through other programs).

The department provided 173 full-time equivalent teachers and 2351 teacher aide hours per week to support ESL students.

In addition, the department provided $2.5 million to regions to meet the needs of students from refugee backgrounds.

During 2008-09, more than 4000 Queensland students participated in the TAFE Adult Migrant English Program.

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Isolated students

More than half of Queensland's 1245 state schools are located in rural and remote areas. These schools cater for approximately one-quarter of all students in the public education system.

The department supports students from regional and remote Queensland areas through innovative delivery models and options, such as:

  • digitised workbooks for email delivery, and online student courses delivered through The Learning Place
  • seven schools of distance education, which cater primarily for families living in isolated Queensland regions. In February 2009 more than 4288 full- and part-time students were enrolled in these schools across Prep to Year 12
  • a range of senior school subjects accessible through the innovative 'i-school' virtual schooling service. These subjects would otherwise not be available to the approximately 600 students from across Queensland, including rural and remote students, who access them
  • the three-year Homestay Pilot Program, now in its final year, which has provided $80 000 over the pilot period to support geographically isolated students. The pilot currently enables 15 students to enrol in selected state high schools in metropolitan or large regional areas and live in local homestay accommodation to complete their education.

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Home education

In Queensland, the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 recognises home education as a lawful alternative for educating children.

The department's Home Education Unit considers applications for registration for home education.

To home educate children, parents must demonstrate that the child will receive high quality education that meets their needs. Parents must also send an annual report for the child to the Home Education Unit to ensure that the education program maintains its high quality.

In 2008-09, the Home Education Unit issued 436 new registrations for home education.

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