Inclusive education helping students most in need

by James Reid11 Jun 2015

In 2012, Alexandra Hills State School removed its Special Education Program (SEP) and integrated its special needs unit with its mainstream classes. Since then, principal, Wayne Fletcher, says he has noticed “excellent” academic and social improvements from his school’s students.

“It’s an old mentality to say if you have a child with special needs we need to put them in a special needs room,” Fletcher told the Courier Mail.

“I ask myself ‘if it was my child, what would I want for them?’”

The Australian Education Union’s (AEU) State of Our Schools (SOS) survey found that over 80% of principals shift funds from other parts of their budget to educate students with disability.

AEU federal president, Correna Haythorpe, said schools have been struggling to provide a quality education for students with disability due to a lack of funding.
 
“Students with disability need in-class support, equipment and individual learning plans to achieve, but this requires funding,” Haythorpe said in a statement.
 
“It is a national shame that students with disability are being denied the chance to participate fully in schools and achieve their potential due to a lack of support.”

Explaining that the decision was made to ensure all students had access to “the best possible education”,

Fletcher said the integration had required teachers to redistribute their resources to ensure no student was missing out.

“Some of these children are now our highest achieving students and we’ve got students who are now participating in sport events when they never would have before,” Fletcher said.

“They really weren’t part of the school before, they didn’t have the opportunity to be part of the school and they didn’t really mix with the school. Now there’s a real acceptance of differences.”
 
 

COMMENTS

  • by Grace 11/06/2015 9:27:44 PM

    Yes they do need special help. How ever main stream school is not the answer for all having a child with autism and brain damage I. Know. The. Child is now an adult. In their. 40s. Yes they do get picked on. A lot. And most can't stand up for the selfs. Their brothers and sisters even. Cousins. Get picked on. Besides. They. Like. Yes like being with. Others of their. Kind. They meet boyfriends and girlfriends they share interest. In what they like but most. They understand each. Main stream not for all. And after 40 odd years. I know. Believe be. Let them choose. They will pick people like them. In special schools. And. So called. Shelter. Work. Places. They are. Just like everyone else. So with respect. Let there be special schools. Let there be. Shelter work. Places but above all. Let them live how they want to.

  • by Sam 14/06/2015 8:49:00 PM

    HI Grace, Your experience is just that, your experience. My experience is different. My kid loves having friends who also have intellectual disability, but we do that outside of school hours. At school, he's fully included, and for the most part, thriving. His behaviours aren't as "odd" as they would be if he was in a special school, learning from other "odd" kids. He's learnt German, about the about the war in Afghanistan, acted some Shakespeare,and has access to the school gym equipment - forgive me if I'm wring, but I don't reckon they learn that in special school! The incidence of violence is significantly lower in mainstream, and same with bullying. Anyone who thinks their kid is safer in a special school is so so wrong - much more violence and bulling and sexual abuse in special settings than mainstream.
    I'm all for people choosing how they live, but it has to be when they know what the choices are, and the consequences. If parents knew and understood the incidence of abuse in special schools, there wouldn't be many special schools anymore.