[page updated June 2019]
In 2018 the Department of Education published its Inclusive Education Policy.
The Department of Education website includes the following content:
Students enrolled in Queensland state schools come from diverse social, cultural, geographic and family backgrounds, are of many identities, and of all abilities.
The Department of Education's Inclusive Education Policy supports our shared vision that all students in Queensland state schools receive the support they need to belong to the school community, engage purposefully in learning and experience academic success (Every Student Succeeding - State Schools Strategy 2019-2023).
Students experience inclusive education when they can access and fully participate in learning, alongside their similar-aged peers, supported by reasonable adjustments and teaching strategies tailored to meet their individual needs. Inclusion is embedded in all aspects of school life, and is supported by culture, policies and every day practices.
The QTU broadly supports moves towards greater inclusion of students with disabilities in regular classrooms subject to conditions such as:
- it is in the educational best interests of the students and this is supported by all the relevant professionals including the classroom teacher/s;
- QTU members have been consulted consistent with certified agreement provisions about Inclusive Education Policy implementation which may involve significant changes to the education programs of students with disabilities (SWDs);
- teachers and other staff have been adequately trained to work with the students with disabilities;
- teachers and other staff have access to ongoing training and professional development; and
- there is an adequate allocation of additional teacher FTE and/or teacher aide hours to support the students.
Where conditions such as the above are not met and QTU members have ongoing concerns about the inclusion of a student, an industrial strategy should be considered by members e.g. a directive not to teach a student or students until certain conditions allied to those above are met by the department.
The QTU does not support school-based decisions to move to what may be loosely described a ‘total inclusion model’ where all SWDs are included in regular classrooms for the entire education program, unless there has been adequate consultation of staff and support from staff to move to such a model. It should be noted that DoE senior officers continue to state that there is no directive to regional directors, assistant regional directors or principals to move to such a model and that the department policy should not be interpreted in that way.
The Department of Education has published Inclusive Education FAQs that address a number of issues including:
Does inclusion mean that students with disability must be in the same classroom as their peers all day?
What process should a school follow to effectively implement inclusion for students with disability?