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Student support

Video: Goodna Special School, Learning to Work, Working to Learn

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The Showcase Award for Excellence in Inclusive Education
Goodna Special School, Learning to Work, Working to Learn

Making the transition from school to work is a lot easier these days for Goodna Special School students, thanks to the Learning to Work, Working to Learn strategy.

Since 2003, the strategy has empowered students in many ways, preparing them for the workforce and life beyond schooling.

Students get experience in on campus simulated work environments in recycling glass, aluminium and computers, operating a coffee shop and takeaway food service.

Student retention rates have risen by 30% over the past six years and more graduates are getting jobs.

Goodna Special School, helping students learn for life.

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

Strategy: Strengthen educational outcomes for students with disabilities

Photograph showing young boy wearing sun hat swinging from bars in playground.

The department is committed to providing every child and young person with the foundations for a successful life. A key goal of Queensland state schools is to provide high-quality education services across primary, secondary and special schools for students with a disability and educational support needs.

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. Services, including therapy, nursing and guidance services, are available to support students with disabilities.

2009-10 was the final year of the department's four-year commitment to support students with disabilities under the Improving Outcomes for Students with Disabilities strategy. As Table 11 shows, the department supports a growing number of students with disabilities each year.

Table 11: Summary data - students with disabilities

Students with disabilities





Number of state schools providing special education programs





Number of students with disabilities identified as needing specialist support enrolled in state primary and secondary schools

15 282

16 410

17 846

20 230

Number of students in special schools




3 390

Number of state special schools 1





Source: Department of Education and Training


  1. During 2010, the Mater Hospital School, the Royal Brisbane Hospital School, the Barrett Adolescent Centre and the Tennyson Special School, previously classified as Special Schools, were reclassified as Special Purpose Schools. This reduced the Special School count by four. The 43 Special Schools include Innisfail State College - Diverse Learning Centre, a special campus of Innisfail State College.

Figures 16 and 17 show that parents of children with disabilities value Queensland's approach to educating these children. In 2009-10, parents of children with disabilities in special schools tended to be more satisfied (93 per cent) than parents of students with disabilities in state schools (78.2 per cent).

This satisfaction level might have been influenced by the specialised nature of the programs that special schools offer. Trends across the four years from 2006-07 to 2009-10 show a consistently high level of satisfaction from parents regarding their child's schooling.

Figure 16: Parent satisfaction with their child's school - students with disabilities attending a state school

Parent satisfaction with their child's school - students with disabilities attending a state school

Graph showing satisfaction of parents with their child's school - students with disabilities attending a state school

Source: School Opinion Survey - Department of Education and Training

Figure 17: Parent satisfaction with their child's school - students with disabilities attending a special school

Parent satisfaction with their child's school - students with disabilities attending a special school

Graph showing satisfaction of parentswith their child's school - students with disabilities attending a special school

Source: School Opinion Survey - Department of Education and Training

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During 2009-10, the department invested $7.6 million (for state and non-state schools) in the third year of its $30 million commitment to continue the transition to Australian Sign Language (Auslan) as the language of instruction for deaf and hearing impaired students using signed communication.

This funding provided:

  • an additional 88 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 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.

Oral and English literacy skills are vitally important to young deaf and hearing impaired students. The department continues to support oral language skills for hearing impaired students who do not require Auslan.

Video: Toowong State School, Cool Hands: Learning Language at Toowong

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The Showcase Award for Excellence in Inclusive Education
Toowong State School, Cool Hands: Learning Language at Toowong

Deaf students can do everything, that's the philosophy that underpins the Cool Hands: Learning Language at Toowong.

Deaf and hearing students learn side-by-side in unique bilingual, bicultural classrooms at Toowong State School.

It's eight years since the school began teaching English and Auslan (Australian Sign language) simultaneously in a Year 1 class.

Now there are four multi-age classes of 110 students from Prep to Year 7, including 17 deaf students and 8 children of deaf adults.

Toowong State School, where being bilingual is cool.

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Young carers

DET appreciates the challenges faced by young carers as they seek to continue their education while assuming significant family responsibilities. DET is committed to recognising and supporting young carers to help them maintain a balance between their family responsibilities and their education. A carer is an individual who provides, in a non-contractual and unpaid capacity, ongoing care or assistance to another person who, because of disability, frailty, chronic illness or pain, requires assistance with everyday tasks. Young carers need support to ensure they graduate from Year 12 and manage challenges such as attendance and achievement affected by their role as carers.

School communities are provided with support materials, including electronic brochures on the Young Carer Counselling Service and the Young Carer Information and Advice Service, as well as the Supporting young carers in secondary schools resource via the Senior Guidance Officers and Guidance Officers network, and Youth Support Coordinators via the YSC Hubs.

The department is represented on the Queensland Carers Advisory Council. The Council has been appointed by the Queensland Government to advise the Minister for Disability Services and Multicultural Affairs on:

  • strategies and materials aimed at increasing recognition of carers by public authorities
  • ways in which public authorities can improve their recognition of carers
  • the results of consultation Council undertakes with carers and carer organisations on issues and developments concerning carers
  • ways in which public authorities can improve their compliance.

Further strategies and activities related to young carers can be found at Appendix 6 - Addressing requirements under the Carers (Recognition) Act 2008 (new window) 220K Adobe PDF document.

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Students in out-of-home care

Students in out-of-home care frequently have disrupted educational experiences and generally achieve poorer educational outcomes than their peers.

The Department of Communities (Child Safety Services) provides DET with funding under the Education Support Funding Program (ESFP) to address the specific needs of students in out-of-home care. DET staff work cooperatively with child safety officers, foster carers, specialist support staff, and others with an interest in the wellbeing of individual students to develop Education Support Plans for each student in out-of-home care.

In 2009-10, $6.03 million was distributed to promote improved educational outcomes for students in out-of-home care and support the delivery of a wide range of programs and resources, including:

  • intensive learning support
  • homework and tutoring support
  • behaviour and social skills support
  • literacy and numeracy support
  • teacher aide support for individual students
  • counselling and therapeutic services
  • personal classroom support.

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Support for students from ESL backgrounds

English as a second language (ESL) students come from various backgrounds. In 2009-10, the department provided 189.8 full-time equivalent teachers and 2576 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 2009-10, more than 5000 Queensland students participated in the Adult Migrant English Program.

Video: Woodridge State School, We Are One in Woodridge

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The Showcase Award for Excellence in Inclusive Education
Woodridge State School, We Are One in Woodridge

Operating a thrift shop is improving Year 6 students' numeracy and literacy skills at Woodridge State School. The hands-on activity is a key part of the school's We Are One in Woodridge program.

With 75 per cent of students coming from non-English speaking background and from 30 different nationalities, language is a focus.

Through its intensive language centre and the community liaison officers who focus on building strong relationships with parents, students and staff - literacy and numeracy outcomes across all year levels have improved significantly.

Woodridge State School, talking the language of success.

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Isolated students (distance education)

Photograph showing a boy working outside on a laptop by a paddock of cattle.

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
  • a range of senior school subjects accessible through the innovative 'i-school' virtual schooling service. These subjects would otherwise not be available to around 280 students from across Queensland, including rural and remote students, who access them
  • three-year Homestay Pilot Program, now in its final year, which supports 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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Youth in detention centres

The department provides a range of education and training programs for students in youth detention centres. General education programs include:

  • Literacy P-10 levels
  • Numeracy P-10 levels
  • Life Skills: interpersonal relations, nutritious affordable cooking, sewing, personal presentation, personal hygiene and self care, personal health
  • Driver Education (learner licence)
  • Building Site Safety Induction Course (White Card)
  • Career Education, including Try-a-Trade and Career Expo days.

Vocational education and training courses provided by DET include:

  • Certificate I in Work Education
  • Certificate I in Construction
  • Certificate I in IT
  • Certificates I & II in Creative Industries
  • Certificates I & II in Visual Arts & Contemporary Craft
  • Certificate II in Access 10
  • Certificate I in Furnishing
  • Certificate I in Automotive (includes welding units)
  • Certificate II in Hospitality
  • Certificates I & II in Horticulture.

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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 processes applications for registration for home education. To home educate children, parents must demonstrate that the child will receive high-quality education that meets the child's needs. Parents must also provide an annual report for the child to the Home Education Unit to ensure that the education program maintains its high quality. In 2009-10, there were 427 new registrations issued for home education.

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