Curriculum and Support Services

Curriculum and Support Services

Curriculum
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The curriculum is what schools teach. The Disability Standards for Education 2005 apply to all areas of the curriculum.

Students with disability have the right to access the curriculum on the same basis as other students. This includes the right to be assessed fairly on what they have learnt.

Education providers who uphold these rights will provide an accessible and inclusive curriculum by:

  • Considering the needs of students with disability when they are designing curriculum and assessment tasks
  • Providing learning opportunities that meet students' individual needs
  • Providing students with extra support if necessary to enable them to participate and demonstrate their learning on the same basis as other students.

Consultation is an important part of this process. During consultation the student or their associate can discuss with the education provider whether the student's disability affects their access to the curriculum and, if so, what reasonable adjustments may be required.

Curriculum: In Practice ...
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Some of the ways schools comply with the Disability Standards for Education in regard to curriculum are by:

  • Making the curriculum, teaching materials, assessment tasks and certification accessible for a student with disability
  • Designing learning activities that are responsive to a student’s learning needs and focus on the student’s interests
  • Making learning materials available when they are needed and in a format that is appropriate, e.g. providing a braille translation of a work task to a student with low vision at the same time that other students receive their work tasks
  • Adjusting teaching methods, such as making more use of slide-show presentations than of spoken presentations to enable a Deaf student to access the curriculum
  • Providing extra courses or programs to target gaps in the student’s learning, e.g. providing extra lessons in reading and writing braille to a blind student so that they can develop literacy skills
  • Designing all learning activities inside or outside the classroom to include the student, such as hiring a wheelchair accessible bus so that a student who uses a wheelchair can travel on an excursion with the whole class.

All students have the right to access the curriculum


Support Services
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Students with disability have the right to access support services, such as:

  • General educational support services provided for all students, such as a computer helpdesk, a supervised homework club, or careers advisory service
  • Specialised support services for students with disability, such as physical therapy, or personal and medical care, which are essential for them to participate in education.


Education providers who uphold these rights will:

  • Take reasonable steps to ensure the student can access general support services and any specialised support services necessary for their education
  • Make an adjustment by offering support services which might involve people from within or outside the school
  • Ask the student or their associate if their disability affects their ability to access general or specialised support services
  • Make any necessary reasonable adjustments so the student has the same choices and opportunities to use support services as students without disability.

Through consultation, education providers are assisted in identifying and accessing services to support students with disability.

Support Services: In Practice ...
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Some ways schools comply with the Disability Standards for Education for support services include:

  • Consulting with students or parents about which general and specialised support services are available and how to use them
  • Providing specialised equipment to support learning and communicating, such as text-to-speech software, and speech-generating devices
  • Drawing on support staff such as specialist teachers, interpreters, and note-takers, when necessary for student learning
  • Communicating with specialist services and expertise outside the school or education system - such as speech pathology, psychology, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and social work - to put in place collaborative arrangements for support.

A personalised approach to learning and support for a student with disability can enrich learning. Consultation with students or their parents or other associates helps educators understand the student’s learning and support needs. Strategies and adjustments that meet the student’s needs can then be included in a plan. Although they are not required by the Disability Standards for Education, such plans can be useful for ongoing consultation about the student’s participation and learning.


Students with disability have the right to general and specialised support


Definition
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A personalised approach to learning and support takes account of all of the student’s individual needs and all of the adjustments they need to access and participate in their education. For example, this planning might include what and where students learn, as well as their communication, mobility, behaviour and health care.


Video: Finn Transitions to Mainstream
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Download video transcript
Finn has been attending a special school for some time, but is excited to be moving into a mainstream school. He and his parents have been working with staff at both schools for some months to coordinate the transition. They meet with Finn’s new teacher, George, and the school’s deputy principal to discuss coordination of support services.


Summary
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The Disability Standards for Education set out how education providers can work with students and their parents and carers to ensure that students with disability have the same choices and opportunities as other students when it comes to curriculum, and accessing support services.