VCOSS welcome the development of an inclusive education policy to support the learning and development of students with disability.
Overall we believe the wording of the draft policy statement and principles for inclusive education are sound.
However, VCOSS warns against delivering a well-sounding inclusive education policy which does not translate into practice in the classroom and school grounds. The principles in action resource must have tangible actions for schools to follow and the policy must be clearly communicated to schools. School compliance with the policy must be monitored and enforced by the Department of Education and Training.
VCOSS members report some good policy material currently exists but are not implemented by schools. These documents are frequently only disseminated electronically or placed online and are not mandatory. Teachers and school staff are busy and often do not have the time to engage with material proactively. VCOSS members report there is also limited departmental oversight of compliance with policies.
In particular, VCOSS members report concerns about the use of restraint and seclusion and the lack of positive behaviour support. Some students with disability are also being placed on reduced hours or only being permitted to attend school part-time, despite this not being permitted by Departmental policy.