Improved Support for Students with Disability
In August 2015, the Ministerial Taskforce Report Improved Support for Students with Disability was released. The Taskforce made recommendations designed to improve support for students with disability across the following key areas across all education sectors:
- Work with schools to become increasingly disability ready and responsive
- Continuously improve teaching and learning
- Work with communities in partnership
- Align resources to inclusive education practice.
Since 2015, the Tasmanian Government has committed a total of $21.25 million from 2016-2023 to implement key initiatives aligned to the Ministerial Taskforce recommendations.
The Inclusion Advisory Panel has been established to provide advice to the Minister for Education and Training in relation to the Ministerial Taskforce recommendations.
Further information is available at Inclusion Advisory Panel.
The Inclusion Advisory Panel is currently providing advice on the following Ministerial Taskforce initiatives:
Disability Funding Model
The Department is currently working on developing a new special education funding model aligned to a needs-based funding model, which will allocate resourcing to the levels and types of educational adjustments required to implement appropriate teaching and learning programs for students with disability. Further development of the model will be undertaken in 2018 and 2019.
Inclusive Education Specialisation Initiative
The Inclusive Education Specialisation Initiative supports current Department of Education teachers to undertake an approved Graduate Certificate in Inclusive Education provided through the University of Tasmania. The Graduate Certificate takes six months to complete and enables teachers to update and develop their skills, knowledge and teaching practices in special education. Having greater numbers of the workforce trained in inclusive education will result in more inclusive educational environments and improved educational outcomes for students with disability.
Education Support Specialist Initiative
This initiative provides an opportunity for Teacher Assistants to build upon their skills and knowledge by gaining a Diploma of Education Support through the University of Tasmania. The program aims to provide Teacher Assistants with high quality, ‘on-the-job’ training with a focus on practical experience working with students. Successful completion of this course enables a career pathway to a school-based paraprofessional role, which the Department will facilitate, or provides a pathway to an Associate Degree in Education Support or a Bachelor of Education qualification.
Family Partnership Model Program
The Family Partnership Model (FPM) is an evidence-based and internationally recognised approach to partnership practice which aims to achieve better outcomes for children and families. Within the Department of Education context, FPM has been used to facilitate and strengthen partnerships between school staff and families to achieve positive outcomes in relation to children with disability, child mental health difficulties, learning and educational difficulties, and families experiencing multiple stresses and complex psychosocial difficulties. Family Partnership Model Training has been delivered across DoE school staff since 2016.
Autism Support Class Program
The Autism Support Class Program provides best practice autism care for students in Tasmanian Government schools. Autism Support Classes have been established statewide to provide inclusive learning environments for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The Program aims to support the individual needs of students so that they can access, participate and fully engage in education. Autism Support Classes have been established at the following schools:
- Lindisfarne North Primary School – Year 3 to 6 program
- Romaine Park Primary School – Year 3 to 6 program
- Summerdale Primary School – Year 3 to 6 program
- Rose Bay High School – Year 7 to 10 program
- Two additional high school programs will be established in the North and North-West in 2018 for Year 7 to 10 students.
Speech Literacy Support Program
The Speech Literacy Support Program is designed to improve literacy achievement in Tasmanian schools by providing intensive intervention for Prep and Year 1 students at risk of not developing oral language and phonological awareness. The program aims to screen all Prep and Year 1 students and implement the Early Literacy Foundations (ELF) Program, an intensive 10-week program, for students at risk. Professional Learning is also provided for teachers and teacher assistants to support embedding oral language and phonological awareness skills in teaching programs at school and through online resources.