Solingen 93

Domestic Violence and Abuse

Disability Royal Commission – Townsville Hearing Day 3, 6 Nov 2019


WOMAN: The Royal Commission is now
in session. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Yes, Ms.
McMillan. MCMILLAN: Yes, thank you, Chair. Queensland is making positive
and determined steps along the journey towards inclusion in education. Significant milestone
for the state education system was the 2016 commissioning
of the independent review into the education of students
with disability in Queensland by the Deloitte Access Economics
and has continued with the ongoing implementation
of all 17 recommendations resulting from this review. And I think you’ve heard it referred to
in short form as the Deloitte Review. For some of the witnesses
you will hear today, their journey, as it might be called,
has started a lot sooner than that. And, for some of them, it’s really been
almost their entire career but, at least, in a concentrated form
for as long ago as seven years. And, in fact, when Ms. AAA spoke
about some government funding having ceased, that was the government –
federal government partnership that ceased about five years ago. So, this was some of the impetus
leading up to the Deloitte Review that Ms. Dunstone will be able to speak
to all of these matters in her evidence. So, in responding
to these recommendations, the department has developed
a systematic and practical approach to improving outcomes for students
with disability. This approach is outlined
in the Every Student with Disability Succeeding plan
and involves setting expectations to ensure students are supported
to achieve their full potential focusing on capability to ensure teachers
are confident in their ability to support all students and partnering
with parents so that parents and schools work together
to help students succeed. Central to this work, as highlighted
by the commission on day one of the hearing, has been the 2018 release
of the Department of Education’s Inclusive Education policy,
which is largely informed by Article 24 of the UN Convention
of the Rights of Persons with Disability and clearly identifies
what inclusive education is and what is not. Can I pause there to say
that you will have read in Ms. Dunstone’s statement
about the criteria of the earlier EAP and the broader-ranging
NCCD category, which is, indeed,
a very broad definition and includes, for instance, autism
and other disabilities? And can I say there we’ve heard
a lot of evidence about, for instance, autism? And we want to emphasize that disability,
of course, is much more than conditions such as autism. We’ve also heard about issues
such as wheelchair access. But we want to – and the witnesses today
will speak of the very broad range
of disabilities and the importance of putting the individual child
at the center of what needs to be done by each school in meeting
their individual needs. We also want to point out
that, for a number of children, they have a constellation of disabilities
so that it is not that a child has only
one particular disability. There may be a number of issues
that need to be at the forefront in meeting their needs individually. Moreover, this policy commits
the department to ensuring children and young people from all social,
cultural, community, and family backgrounds and
of all identities and abilities to attend their local school
and be welcome, access, participate, and fully engage
with the curriculum along their similarly-aged peers,
learn in a safe and supportive environment,
and achieve academically and socially with reasonable adjustments tailored
to meeting their learning needs. And evidence suggests this policy’s
already having an impact. I pause there to say, of course,
it’s limited at this stage given the recency
of the policy. The Assistant Director-General,
State Schools Disability and Inclusion, Ms. Dunstone will share more information
about this policy in her evidence. She will talk about how this policy
has already begun to transform the way parents and students
with disability experience education
in state school system. I pause there because you heard
from Dr. Bridle earlier this week, and Ms. Dunstone will be able to say that,
for instance, as far as she understands,
Queensland is the only state that funds a parent advocacy body. And that was, of course, part
of the Deloitte Review. So, it’s obviously, clearly
a very important step. This policy is not just being viewed
as a glossy document but is actually being embedded
in practice. This is being reflected
in school performance against four clear measures of success. This implementation’s given
the highest level of priority, of oversight, and governance. Ms. Dunstone, at Paragraph 66 following,
expands upon this. These measures are improving
the ATE performances for students with disability, increasing
the proportion of students with disability receiving
a Queensland Certificate of Education, decreasing the proportion of students
with disability receiving a school disciplinary absence,
and reducing the number of students with disability
not attending a full school program. It is acknowledged that schools
and teachers are at different stages of their inclusion journey. There could be no reasonable expectation
that, with a rollout across the state, of a significant policy
with curriculum requirements, attendant supports,
professional development, and follow-up that there would be uniformity, certainly,
at this point in time. This goal is apparent from the early years
of a child’s development through Queensland’s Early Childhood
Development Program, which supports the transition
of children with disability to school, and including more children
with disability in kindergarten programs to ensure that expectations are in place
from the outset and that students are supported
with reasonable adjustments at every stage of their learning. You heard evidence from Mr. Bates
about this program yesterday about the value of this program. And Ms. Dunstone can speak
to its effectiveness. For instance, in 2019, $63.6 million
over the next four years has been committed to it. The importance of early engagement
with children and families will no doubt become
more apparent as the commission continues its work. It is recognized that leadership
is critical, and supervision and support is provided
to principals by regional directors
with presentations, workshops, setting inclusions,
and better student outcomes for students as priorities. And, again, Ms. Dunstone speaks
to this in her statement. Resources for teachers to support students
with disabilities in the mainstream include the HOIS,
another acronym, autism coaches, behavior support teachers,
inclusion coaches, professional development, to name a few. And can I pause there to say
professional development, of course, includes much more than attendances
at conferences and such-like and are included again in the statements of the witnesses you will hear from? HOSES, another anacronym,
are an integral part of the school team, and you will shortly hear from three
of them as they lead the cultural change
within the schools that they work within. Ms. Dunstone, I want to turn
to a number of matters that have fallen from the evidence
this week. Ms. Dunstone does address special schools,
but, given the further evidence this week,
it is likely we will need to provide further material
after this week. And we note, for instance, importantly,
the commission has not heard from the independent schools’ sector
about this issue. Whilst she will be able
to give some evidence, it’s likely we may need
to give further evidence on notice about those issues. Issues such as restrictive practices,
we respectfully submit, are too complex for it to be dealt with
on the run, so to speak, in relation to some evidence
Dr. Bridle gave. And it’s submitted it warrants
our full attention as a distinct topic. Teacher’s aides have been addressed
in evidence. And, again, you will have seen
from the statements a number of witnesses address this today,
their roles. And Ms. Dunstone can give her insights,
also, as to their roles within schools. And I think, refreshingly, you will note
from all of the statements that all of them have individual
perspectives about the Education Department’s policies
and the way in which it works within their schools,
and they’re all individualized. So, it can be seen that they’re all
very much their own views of what they perceive
within their own schools and roles. Ms. Dunstone will also speak
of the importance of parent advocacy, and I’ve already touched upon that. In concluding, by ensuring
that the policy of inclusion is embedded into practice by supporting the capability
and development of staff and by actively engaging with parents
along the way, the department is focused on delivering a consistently high-quality
education standard for all students,
including our most vulnerable. You will hear evidence
from representatives from three schools who will paint the picture
of what this looks like in practice. Thank you. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Thank you,
Ms. McMillan. Yes, Dr. Mellifont. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. The appearances are as per yesterday. May I thank my learned friend,
Ms. McMillan, sincerely for the forward copy of her opening
this morning? It was a professional courtesy
that we have appreciated very much. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Actually,
before you start, can I just ask Ms. McMillan something? DR MELLIFONT: Yes. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: We don’t
have the benefit of the Commonwealth here. We have heard, of course,
that education is a state responsibility under the Constitution. That is true to a point. MCMILLAN: Yes. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: The
Commonwealth has very extensive powers. Obviously, it has considerable
responsibilities by way of funding. MCMILLAN: Yes. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: We are
dealing with education and, in particular, the Convention. Article 24 of the Convention obliges
state parties, including Australia, to adopt a right to inclusive education. Under the Constitution,
the external affairs power, the Commonwealth can legislate
and, indeed, under the obligations by the Convention, is obliged
to legislate on one view to implement a right
to inclusive education. One of the things that,
speaking for myself, I’d be interested in is
what the position of the state of Queensland would be
about the role of the Commonwealth in directly implementing such a right
and how that would interact with the responsibilities of the state. I don’t expect you to give
a comprehensive answer immediately, but, perhaps, that’s something
you might like to take on board, at some stage, to consider. MCMILLAN: I’ll certainly be taking
that under consideration. That is certainly not something
I would be giving an immediate answer to. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: I didn’t expect
that, but thank you very much. MCMILLAN: Thank you. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Sorry, Dr.
Mellifont. I once again interrupted. DR MELLIFONT: Not at all. I can indicate that I’m instructed
that the Commonwealth are monitoring proceedings remotely through an evidence hearing room portal. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: I call Jewelann Kauppila,
Loren Swancutt, and Catherine Morris. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Thank you
very much for your attendance. You each, of course, can take the oath
or affirmation as you wish. You can just follow the instructions
of the associate, thank you. SPEAKER 1: I solemnly and sincerely – MS SWANCUTT: I solemnly and sincerely – SPEAKER 1: Declare and affirm –
MS SWANCUTT: Declare and affirm – SPEAKER 1: That the evidence
I shall give – MS SWANCUTT: (REPEATS) SPEAKER 1: Will be the truth –
MS SWANCUTT: (REPEATS) SPEAKER 1: The whole truth –
MS SWANCUTT: (REPEATS) SPEAKER 1: And nothing but the truth.
MS SWANCUTT: (REPEATS) COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Thank you
very much. Please, sit down. SPEAKER 1: I solemnly and sincerely
declare and affirm – MS MORRIS: (REPEATS) SPEAKER 1: That the evidence
I shall give – MS MORRIS: (REPEATS) SPEAKER 1: Will be the truth –
MS MORRIS: (REPEATS) SPEAKER 1: The whole truth –
MS MORRIS: (REPEATS) SPEAKER 1: And nothing but the truth.
MS MORRIS: (REPEATS) COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Thank you.
Please, sit down. SPEAKER 1: I swear by Almighty God –
MS KAUPPILA: (REPEATS) SPEAKER 1: That the evidence
I shall give – MS KAUPPILA: (REPEATS) SPEAKER 1: Will be the truth –
MS KAUPPILA: (REPEATS) SPEAKER 1: The whole truth –
MS KAUPPILA: (REPEATS) SPEAKER 1: And nothing but the truth.
MS KAUPPILA: (REPEATS) COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Thank you.
Please, sit down. And thank you, again, for your attendance. Dr. Mellifont will now ask you
some questions. If, at any time, you – anyone feels
the need to have a break, please let us know, and we’ll do that. But our present intention is
to continue until about 11:30, and, then, we’ll have a break
at that time. Thank you. DR MELLIFONT: Ms. Morris,
I’ll start with you. Let us do some introductory paragraphs
for each of you, and, then, we’ll get
into the substance of it. Can you state your full name, please? MS MORRIS: Catherine Morris. DR MELLIFONT: What’s your current
position? MS MORRIS: My current position is acting
head of inclusion for regional – for this region. DR MELLIFONT: OK, what do you –
how do you term this region? What’s it called? MS MORRIS: It’s called
North Queensland region. DR MELLIFONT: North Queensland, OK. And your substantive position? MORRISH: My substantive position is head
of special education, Bowen State High School. DR MELLIFONT: OK, you have a Bachelor
of Learning Management, 2011. Is that a yes? MS MORRIS: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: OK, so, with responses,
we just need to speak, so the transcription picks it up. Thank you. And where was that from? MS MORRIS: From Central Queensland
University. DR MELLIFONT: And are you currently
completing a Graduate Certificate of Special Education? MS MORRIS: I am, but that’s actually –
the university has stopped that. So, I need – I’ve done two units,
and, then, I need to continue that somewhere else. DR MELLIFONT: OK, do you know why it
stopped? MS MORRIS: No. DR MELLIFONT: OK, that’s a shame. OK. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: You had
enrolled in a course. And then, they stopped the course
in the middle. MS MORRIS: Yeah. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Interesting. MS MORRIS: They did recommend that I
apply to another university. DR MELLIFONT: We’ll make some inquiries.
Alright. So, you’ve had a lengthy history
in teaching? MS MORRIS: I have. DR MELLIFONT: OK, including teaching
at Bowen State High School, Chevallum? MS MORRIS: Chevallum Primary School
on the Sunshine Coast. DR MELLIFONT: And Katherine HIgh School
1995 to 1998. MS MORRIS: In the Northern Territory. DR MELLIFONT: Yes. Did you start teaching
at Bowen State High School in the special education program? MS MORRIS: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: And was that
with a general allocation in history and geography from November 2011
until the second semester of 2013? MS MORRIS: I did geography,
but I also was taught in the SEP classroom –
special education classroom. DR MELLIFONT: OK, now,
your statement tells me that your allocation included acting
as a 0.2 HOSES. What does that mean? MS MORRIS: That means the full allocation is
20 hours or five days a week. And mine was 0.2 of that,
which was the equivalent of a day or four. Don’t really know how to explain it. DR MELLIFONT: Yeah, OK.
So, 0.2 of a full-time – MS MORRIS: Yeah, of a full-time position. DR MELLIFONT: So, HOSES is Head
of Special Education Services. And that’s terminology
which is being phased out depending upon how people choose
within a particular school to reframe that position. Is that right? MS MORRIS: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: OK, so, you got
a substantive position in HOSES – as a HOSES in 2015? MS MORRIS: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: That so?
OK. And prior to your employment at Bowen,
you led transition to work program for students
with disabilities at Katherine High School in the Northern Territory. MS MORRIS: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: And you also worked
as an inclusion support assistant at that school. MS MORRIS: Yes.
DR MELLIFONT: OK. Your work at Chevallum State Primary
School includes supporting students with disabilities in mainstream? MS MORRIS: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: OK. Ms. Kauppila, please state your full name,
please. MS KAUPPILA: My name is
Jewelann Mary Melody Kauppila. DR MELLIFONT: I’m sorry.
There you go. Sorry about the pronunciation.
We’ve all got it wrong all week. What’s your current position, please? MS KAUPPILA: I am currently the head
of department inclusive practices at Ingham State High School. DR MELLIFONT: Do you hold a Bachelor
of Education from Griffith University and a Diploma
of Teaching in Primary and Special Schools? MS KAUPPILA: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: And approximately what
years were they achieved? MS KAUPPILA: I commenced in 1985,
and I finished my diploma in ’87. And then, in 1998, I did my Bachelor
of Education. DR MELLIFONT: OK. And so, you’ve worked as a teacher
in both mainstream and special education programs
at various schools since that time? MS KAUPPILA: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: And commenced at Ingham
on a part-time basis, January 2007? MS KAUPPILA: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: OK, and commenced
working as the acting head of special education services
at Ingham in October 2014. Appointed permanently in term three
of 2015. MS KAUPPILA: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: OK.
Thank you. (WHISPERING) Ms. Swancutt. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Counsel often
whisper to each other, so don’t worry. DR MELLIFONT: OK.
Your full name, please. MS SWANCUTT: Loren Maree Swancutt. DR MELLIFONT: Your current position. MS SWANCUTT: I am currently seconded
into a regional HOSES inclusion role for the North Queensland region. DR MELLIFONT: OK, your substantive
position prior to that. MS SWANCUTT: It’s as head
of special education services at Thuringowa State High School. DR MELLIFONT: OK, do you hold a Bachelor
of Education, Primary, and Special Education
from Charles Sturt University, 2008? MS SWANCUTT: I do. DR MELLIFONT: And a Master’s
of Inclusive Education, 2016, from that same university? MS SWANCUTT: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: Whilst you were completing
your Bachelor’s degree, were you casually employed
as a learning support teacher aide? MS SWANCUTT: That’s correct. DR MELLIFONT: And that was
at a local independent school. MS SWANCUTT: Correct. DR MELLIFONT: You did all your university
practicums at mainstream schools? MS SWANCUTT: I did, yes. DR MELLIFONT: And that included
a specific practicum involving co-teaching with another preservice teacher. Can you tell me about that? MS SWANCUTT: Yes, so, in our degree
at our university, it was a requirement – probably second
or third year. I can’t be certain on that
given the timeframe now. But that we did a co-teaching practicum
with another student that was in our course. So, I actually returned to Tasmania,
my home state, to do that with another student
that was in the same degree as me. DR MELLIFONT: OK. And so, were the two
of you preservice teachers? MS SWANCUTT: We were both – yep. MS SWANCUTT: Together from the same
year level in the same course, yeah. DR MELLIFONT: OK, you also had
a six-week inclusive education internship in the final year of your degree. Can you tell me about that, please? MS SWANCUTT: Yes. So, I made the decision
to undertake a double major in my degree. So, at the beginning of our third year
of bachelor, we had the opportunity
to do a specialization. So, some primary teachers choose
to do music or HPE or a language. In my instance, I chose
to do special education, which resulted in us doing
six masters-level subjects as part of our undergraduate degree. And one of the requirements of that was
to complete an internship in relation to inclusive education. DR MELLIFONT: Can I ask you –
those six masters-level subjects. When you then go on
to your Master’s of Inclusive Education, do they carry across as credit
or start again? MS SWANCUTT: I was lucky.
I was able to credit four of those. DR MELLIFONT: OK, did you commence
your teaching career with a permanent appointment
as a special ed teacher with the department in 2009? MS SWANCUTT: I did, yes. DR MELLIFONT: And did you teach
within the special education programs at Heatley Primary School
and Kirwan State High School until 2012? MS SWANCUTT: Correct. DR MELLIFONT: And then, you were
appointed as acting head of special education services. Is that correct? MS SWANCUTT: Acting at Kirwan High, yes. DR MELLIFONT: Yes, OK, then,
there was a period of maternity leave. MS SWANCUTT: Yes.
DR MELLIFONT: And then, back. MS SWANCUTT: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: And then, appointed
as substantive HOSES, which is now called Head
of Inclusive Schooling at Thuringowa. MS SWANCUTT: Post-first-round
of maternity leave, I was appointed to Pimlico State
High School as teacher in charge. And I remained there until I won
the substantive position at Thuringowa, yes. DR MELLIFONT: OK, now, in addition
to your roles you’ve mentioned, you’ve also worked
as a regionable autism – sorry. regional autism coach
during 2018? MS SWANCUTT: Correct. DR MELLIFONT: So, can I just ask
were you doing that in addition to another substantive role
at the same time? Or you were acting in that position? MS SWANCUTT: No, so, seconded
into the role regionally just like the one
that we’re currently in now. DR MELLIFONT: OK, so, tell me
about that role, please. MS SWANCUTT: So, that role for me
commenced in term two of 2018 until the end of – well,
until the beginning of this year, actually, until I switched over
to this current role. So, as a regional position
to support schools to advance the inclusive education
of students with autism. DR MELLIFONT: OK, alright, so,
what does it look like on the ground? MS SWANCUTT: Sure. So, a principal would request support through their assistant regional director
to the region. And we’d have a conversation
about what they wanted that support to look like. And then, I would go to the school
and support the principal around the problem of fracas
that they were having in relation to the student
or students with autism. DR MELLIFONT: And, again,
to try and to understand what it actually means in reality. So, a principal tells you
what they think they want something to look like – what might that be? We’re trying to break
though the language here. MS SWANCUTT: Yeah, no, that’s OK. I appreciate that we probably speak
in jargon. So, lots of the work and, certainly,
that there was – I was in a broad number of schools. So, this is a broad sort of capture
of what that work was about. But supporting principals
to understand the learning needs of students with autism
and how to best cater for them at a whole-school level
but, also, then working with – at the classroom teacher level, as well,
and coaching and skilling them about how to transform their pedagogy
and their practice to ensure that that student with autism is successful
in the day-to-day, six-hour delivery of curriculum. DR MELLIFONT: OK, so, it’s
about working out what kind of adjustments might be necessary? MS SWANCUTT: Absolutely,
and problem-solving those, yes. DR MELLIFONT: And helping the school. MS SWANCUTT: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: Get those adjustments
in place and working. MS SWANCUTT: Correct. DR MELLIFONT: Alright, now,
before I move off your background, you’re also the National Convenor
of the School Inclusion Network for Educators which operates
as a network of All Means All, the Australian Alliance
for Inclusive Education. Is that right? MS SWANCUTT: Correct. DR MELLIFONT: But that’s
in your private capacity. MS SWANCUTT: That’s private, volunteer,
yes. DR MELLIFONT: OK, so, and you’re also
a voluntary member in the steering committee for
the Inclusive School Communities Project being facilitated by Purple Orange
in South Australia. MS SWANCUTT: Correct. DR MELLIFONT: OK, many people already
know what that is. But if you could just briefly tell us
what that is? MS SWANCUTT: So, Purple Orange
have been commissioned with some funding from the NDIA
to advance some collaboration and support for schools in South Australia around inclusive education practice. So, to inform the delivery of that program
and the use of those funds, they have created a steering committee
which is – has a number of people from across a number of roles
across Australia that help guide them in that work. And I’ve also delivered
some professional learning to those schools in relation
to inclusive education. And they’ve actually recently come
to Townsville to visit our school and Bowen State High School, as well,
to see inclusive education practice on the ground in schools. DR MELLIFONT: OK, alright, and I’ll start – I’ll direct this question first to you,
Ms. Swancutt. And then, I’ll ask for your input. Can you give me an indication
of the breadth of type of disabilities that the school system encounters? MS SWANCUTT: The school system
encounters the full definition of disability as per the Disability Discrimination Act. So, people often default, I think,
to thinking that it’s just about the verified, low-incident
categories of disability that we see in our system. But with the implementation
of the nationally consistent collection of data, I think it’s started
to broaden people’s understanding of the scope of disability and that it
also includes disability categories outside of those general six
that we’re more commonly familiar with. DR MELLIFONT: OK, Ms. Morris,
do you have anything to add to that? MS MORRIS: No, that is what it is. The common examples are much broader. They include dyslexia.
They include mental health. They can include illnesses
such as asthma, anything that may have a functional impact
on that student’s schooling. DR MELLIFONT: OK, do you have
any further comment in respect of that? MS KAUPPILA: Yes, we, too, have a variety – we have a diverse student group
and their learning needs. And we cater for their diverse needs. They don’t operate in isolation. There’s combinations of disabilities. And we, as a school, are working
and looking at a personalized plan in catering for their individual needs
and support. So, we are a school that is
1.5 hour’s drive north of Townsville. And we are catering
for the individual needs and the diverse needs of the students
at our school. DR MELLIFONT: Alright, I’m going
to go one by one and go through what’s – recent years
and the developments. I will get to that in a moment,
but I want to ask each of you whether you have children
in your schools – and I appreciate you’re now –
two of you are now acting up from that position. So, students in schools which are part
of your domain, if I can call it that, that meet
the eligibility requirements for special education schools
but have chosen – or the parents have chosen
to stay within mainstream schools. Do you have children within that category? MS SWANCUTT: Absolutely. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Sorry, just
before you go on, could I ask you just to speak a little more slowly
because we need to transcribe. And some of the language is
quite technical and, therefore, a little bit more difficult
to transcribe than normal. So, just if you don’t mind,
just a little bit more slowly. MS SWANCUTT: Sure. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Thank you. MS SWANCUTT: Yes, absolutely. DR MELLIFONT: OK, alright,
is that the position across the table? MS MORRIS: Yes, sorry,
could you repeat that question? DR MELLIFONT: So, what I wanna ask you is
if you have children in your schools or children under –
in schools under your domain that wouldn’t meet
the eligibility requirements to get into a special ed school
but are within the mainstream schools. MS MORRIS: Yes.
MS KAUPPILA: Yes. We don’t have a special school
in our district. And we have students
who would meet the criteria for special schools
within our school setting, yes. DR MELLIFONT: OK, I’m interested
to know, then, how the needs of such students are able
to be met within the mainstream schooling system. Ms. Swancutt, would you like
to start with that, please? MS SWANCUTT: Sure. There’s no straightforward answer
because we’re talking about individual children that are
obviously very dynamic as individuals. But, ultimately, it’s about valuing
their rights and understanding them as individual students
and individual people and getting to know their
functional impacts and their strengths, their motivations, and their families
and sort of being able to understand that holistic approach
about them and, then, working as a team within our schools
to address those things utilizing the vast variety
of experience and resources that we have in our schools
to do that for any child regardless of a child with disability. DR MELLIFONT: Alright, so,
from your perspective, it can be done. MS SWANCUTT: Absolutely. DR MELLIFONT: I’m gonna come back
to you in a moment ’cause I’d really like
if you can think of a particular example, or examples, of children
you’re thinking about and what you’ve done for them. So, we can actually get
to an understanding of how this is working in practice. OK, Ms. Morris. MS MORRIS: We have students in our school
that do qualify, or would qualify, to go
to a special school. They come to our school. Do you want me to talk about their needs? DR MELLIFONT: Yeah, yes, I do. I wanna really get a vision of it,
if I can. MS MORRIS: OK, so, they have
very complex needs. They have medical needs where they require
such things as PEG feeding, venting, catheterization, toileting. They attend mainstream classrooms. Generally, if they have that level
of complex need, they would have a teacher aide with them
because the teacher aide will do the medical procedures in our school
or in schools. They are working generally
because of their lack of ability to communicate
on highly individualized curriculum, which means that’s prior to prep
or foundation. And that work is adjusted for them
in a mainstream classroom. So, they could be
in a grade seven classroom. They could be in a grade nine classroom. And their curriculum is adjusted
so that they are able to access a curriculum
on the same basis as their peers. DR MELLIFONT: OK, Ms. Kauppila,
did I get that right? MS KAUPPILA: Yes.
DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. MS KAUPPILA: There is a process. So, I am having, in my mind,
a year seven student coming to our school. And there is an enrollment process. And, prior, we have experience days
where we get to know the students and the families. DR MELLIFONT: Experience days
or stays, sorry? MS KAUPPILA: Days, sorry.
Experience days. DR MELLIFONT: OK. MS KAUPPILA: And this is from year six
coming into year seven. And I meet with the primary
partner schools prior to these days. We have, in our district, around eight
or nine primary partnership schools
that I work with getting ready to come to high school. So, I work with the schools, but,
most importantly, I work with parents. So, the parents, we have already
the credibility. We have the trust of the parents. The parents work with – come and went
to partnership. And I say to them that you can
bring an advocate. You don’t need to just be coming
by yourself. Bring a advocate.
Bring your family. Bring whoever you feel comfortable coming
and speaking to us. And they really say, “Look, we know.
We’re fine.” So, we start this process
of getting familiar for parents and the culture of our school
to reassure their fears, getting ready to access a school
where they can have wraparound support from all within our school. So, we have the advocacy,
and it’s about student center. The student is the important person
in this whole process. The student’s voice doesn’t have
to be verbal. It can be electronic, as well.
It’s really important in part. So, this sets the whole platform
in getting ready for inclusive practices and being valued member
and feeling welcomed and support at Ingham State High School. So, this starts – it could
work transitions previously beforehand, the child coming, meeting the classes,
and working. It’s about the students’ needs. Some students haven’t been
into regular mainstream classes. They may go to different parts
of the school. So, it’s working around
and looking at the support that we can provide that student
and the family and how they’re going to get to school. DR MELLIFONT: Alright, any particular
example that anybody can speak to about – of a student who would fit
the criteria for a special education school. MS SWANCUTT: Sure. So, I’m thinking of a particular student
who had a verification of autism and intellectual disability
and was also nonverbal. He attended our school
from when he was in year eight until when he graduated in year 12. He commenced that education
in what was our pre-existing Special Education Unit
but, then, transitioned in 2015 into our inclusive classrooms. So, by that time, he was in grade ten,
and he was accessing curriculum at a foundation or prep level. And teachers very much planned for him
to be there from the beginning. There was never any question
that he would not be involved in the rigor of curriculum
and the delivery of their lessons. So, it ultimately started
with the end goal in mind that that student would be a full participant
in their classes. And so, an example of that year ten
science, chemistry, school – the students in year ten are learning
to balance chemical equations and that sort of thing. And he still was very much a participant
in those lessons by utilizing some visual checklist
to go and collect the equipment for his group to conduct the experiment,
to take photos of the experiment taking place and, then,
sequencing those at the end to demonstrate
his understanding of what had taken place using visuals
to answer to yes or no questions of things that he would have observed
during that chemical equation supporting his peers
to measure out the chemicals. So, it’s just about understanding
and acknowledging the scope and sequence of the curriculum
and that we’re just talking about the same content
at different levels of complexity and that we can provide
different access points for students to enter and participate
in that same content together and that he still had a very valuable role amongst those year ten peers doing
that higher-order chemical equation balancing work that they do. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: What about
the assessment process for students? How does that work in the case
of a student that can’t – MS SWANCUTT: The same process,
it’s forefronted. So, at our school, every unit of work
for every subject for every year level is collaboratively
unpacked as a team. So, all of those year ten
science teachers, for example, would have gotten together
before the commencement of delivering that unit. And they would have been able
to go through the curriculum intent and clearly articulate what students need
to know and be able to do to be successful in the assessment item
for year ten. And, straight from there, they’re able
to utilize the scoping sequence of the Australian curriculum
to backward-map to the foundation level for this particular student and, then,
be able to modify that know-and-do table to reflect
that variance in complexity and have a clear understanding
about what his know-and-do would be at the end of the unit
and work to include that throughout all of that learning
with a modified assessment piece or a modified way of gathering
the evidence of his learning at the end. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: How does
that work in terms of the school – pardon me –
reporting success rates, if that’s the way to describe it? MS SWANCUTT: So, in the state school
system, we have what are called
individual curriculum plans that are recorded on our school management
system called OneSchool. So, for him, he would have had
an individual curriculum plan recorded for science indicating
that he is accessing complexity at a foundation level. And that automatically talks to reporting. So, there would be a generated comment
on his report card saying that he was taught
in age-appropriate contexts science, but his mark is reflective of the grading
of the foundation level. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Thank you. MS MORRIS: And that is right across all
of our schools. That is how we assure that our students
access curriculum on the same basis as their peers,
the same procedures. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. So, Ms. Morris and Ms. Kauppila,
I notice you are nodding in response to Ms. Swancutt’s answers
to the last two questions. I take it you agree with what’s been said
and you’ve seen these things yourselves? MS KAUPPILA: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. I’m gonna ask you now,
but I’ll give you some further time to think about this
in the morning tea break. And somebody will remind me
to ask this again after morning tea. Can you think of any circumstance
in which a child might not be able to be accommodated in mainstream? And I appreciate there’s some criticism
of the use of the term mainstream, but,
for the time being, I’m going to use it. Is that something you’d like
to think about over morning tea? MS KAUPPILA: Yeah, do you want me – MS MORRIS: I might could answer that now. DR MELLIFONT: Alright, well, let’s go,
Ms. Morris. MS KAUPPILA: Do you want me to start?
MS MORRIS: I’ll start. We have a range of students
with very complex needs at our school that we cater for. So, I can’t say that any
of those students are not able to achieve their education in our school. So, every one of those students
attends mainstream classrooms. Every one of those student
access curriculum at their level. Every one of those students receive
the support they require for their complex needs. They attend all and participate
in all school events. And they are definitely valued members
of our school community. There is no – there are no separate places
for them to go. They attend school and the same
participation as all students. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you, Ms. Morris –
Ms. Kauppila, sorry. MS KAUPPILA: That’s OK.
There’s three of us. It must be confusing for you. I would like – could you just
rephrase that? Can you just say the question again,
so I’ve got it clearly in my mind? DR MELLIFONT: Yeah, what I’m asking is
can you think of any circumstance or an example of where a student’s
not able to be accomodated in mainstream? That is, where a student would have to go to a segregated special education
facility. MS KAUPPILA: OK, as I said earlier,
we don’t have any special schools in our district. So, all of our children attend
their local school. And, in my mind, I have a visual
of a young lady who attended our school last year
and who’s currently still in our school. So, I contacted the inclusion HOD
for autism – inclusion coach because of the problems
that we were encountering at school. And we worked with the large-team
complex case management and the parents and the pediatricians,
and we worked together with this young person. This young person’s life, last year,
was one where she, at home and at school, we were having
the same story. This young person was, for reasons,
working in a very isolated self. At home and at school, she had withdrawn
from participating in school events and at home. This young lady, this year, working
with her parents and working with her – and we
have taken her on school camp. We are attending her classes
exactly as Loren said what we’re doing. She is part of the whole school. The students are mentioning
how wonderful it is to have her in class with them. Her parents, her grandparents,
and her siblings are so excited to see her. And we know that we still have
a journey to go, but it’s so exciting. And I’m really proud,
and so are her parents, that we’re accommodating for her needs
at our school with wraparound support
and that she is welcomed, she is safe, and she belongs
to our local school. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you.
Ms. Swancutt. MS SWANCUTT: No, we’re the same,
mirroring the other two schools. We’re certainly welcoming of every child. And it’s certainly within our capacity
to provide for every child. And we welcome that challenge
and that it extends our professional capability. And we certainly learn as much from them as much as what we give those individuals. DR MELLIFONT: OK, in one of the
responses, there was a mention of family engagement. And, in some of your statements,
you speak about this. How important is family engagement
to the success of the student and of the school? Ms. Morris, do you wanna start? Ms. Kauppila, do you want to start? I’m gonna have to get you tags. MS KAUPPILA: I value parent-family
engagement carers. We have out-of-home care students. And it’s a partnership, so we listen. We provide access for them to meet. We make sure that, in advance,
that we can meet. We let them know, so when we had
this complex – these are the questions
that we’re going to ask. As a family, you may like
to consider this, so the questions are given beforehand. There is no preconceived idea
what the parents are going to say. So, the parents are valued, and we’re
listening to what they’re saying. We’re actively listening,
and they see it as a partnership. We have protocols. We have protocols of when to meet,
how to meet and communication. And I’d like to just quickly
mention communication. We ask the parents, “How is the best way
to communicate with you?” Some may want an email.
Some may want a phone call. Some may say, “Look, please don’t
let us know until something happens.” Or, “Let’s work together
in certain ways.” So, it’s an individual family basis
of how we communicate, and we’re proactive. We’re proactive communicating
with parents. DR MELLIFONT: OK.
Ms. Morris. MS MORRIS: We consult with parents
at every stage of the child’s education from before they come to our school. We meet with them regularly
as case managers. Any decision that’s made in regards
to their education is discussed with the parent. They will come into a meeting. They’ll meet with all of their teachers
on a regular basis. If ever there is an issue,
all teachers will come and speak to the parents. So, they’re very involved in every step
of the education that they’re – consulting with them,
and them agreeing with their child’s plan is imperative. DR MELLIFONT: Ms. Swancutt. MS SWANCUTT: Yes, student and parent
voice is very much at the center of the work that we do, as well. We’re probably, slightly,
a little bit different in terms of our demographic that we sometimes have
the challenge of engaging our parents. Our demographic is one
which has been disengaged for education for quite some time for some children. But it’s certainly not without trying
on our behalf and without wanting – and, in every opportunity that we can,
we are seeking that parent voice and that parent input. DR MELLIFONT: Now, the next question
should not be taken, in any sense, to be critical
of families or carers because there can be all number
of reasons as to why family or carers aren’t engaging
or aren’t able to engage with the school. But what I do want to understand is
what are the challenges for the schools when you’re not getting
parent engagement. MS SWANCUTT: I think the challenge
is not having that full understanding of the whole child. I mean, we’re obviously not
in their homelives and in their home circumstances. And those situations give so much
to that child and are so much about that child. And it leaves us in a position where,
sometimes, we have to make assumptions, which is certainly
not what we want to have to do. So, it is difficult, and it’s certainly
a very important piece that we would like to have
and would like to be able to champion and have involved with our students. But it’s not always the case. But, for us, then, the default
is the child themselves. They’re obviously there with us
in our schools. And we empower them as much as possible
to provide that voice through one-page profiles
about their strengths, their interests, what adjustments they think
they need and they would like. And we work very hard to make sure
that that voice is heard and communicated across all
of their teachers. DR MELLIFONT: Alright, I see nods
from Ms. Morris and Ms. Kauppila, OK. I want to go through, now,
the journeys of your schools. Now, you’ve set them out in some
significant details in the statements. We don’t have time to go
through all of that today, but can I give you the paragraph numbers
from your statements, so you know where I’ll be
taking you to, please? Ms. Kauppila will be five to 21. Ms. Swancutt’s eight to 27. MS KAUPPILA: Sorry, what was my –
DR MELLIFONT: Five to 21. Ms. Swancutt, eight to 27. And Ms. Morris, from seven onwards.
I haven’t the last number. MS MORRIS: Seven onwards.
No problem. DR MELLIFONT: Alright.
MS KAUPPILA: To infinity. DR MELLIFONT: Alright. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Treat it like an
exam, but – DR MELLIFONT: Alright, Ms. Morris,
can I start with you? MS MORRIS: OK. DR MELLIFONT: So, this is your work at
Bowen, and, just recapping, you commenced the role of HOSES in 2014. Now, Bowen does not have
a segregated SEP unit, special education program unit. MS MORRIS: No. DR MELLIFONT: OK, just so, we’re
still getting familiar with all the terminology. So, in brief terms, what’s an SEP? MS MORRIS: A Special Education Program. DR MELLIFONT: And what does it mean? MS MORRIS: It means that a place,
or a classroom – we use it in the sense of a classroom
where students with disabilities went away from – separate from the main school classrooms. DR MELLIFONT: OK, now, all students learn
in mainstream classrooms at Bowen. MS MORRIS: All students. DR MELLIFONT: And, in terms of
implementing inclusion in your role, there’s been a prioritization
of co-teaching. MS MORRIS: It’s been a priority
co-teaching in the method of being able to ensure that all students can be taught
in mainstream classes with their peers. DR MELLIFONT: Alright, can you tell me
how that works? MS MORRIS: So, that works by –
with two teachers in a classroom, but let’s talk about prior to that. When we decide on the class makeup
on who goes into the classroom,
so that we decided the year before. So, this year, we will look
at our students, a diverse range of students,
including the broader range of disability and all the diverse learners
in our school. And we will begin
to populate our classrooms. Then, we will decide which classrooms
will be co-teaching classrooms, and that will depend on the diversity
of the students in the room and which other students that may need
support would be a teacher aide. So, if you had, for example,
because we have limited resources, if we had a child with a very complex
medical needs that would need to go – that would be in a classroom. They would probably – well,
would have a teacher aide because they have the experience
to do those medical procedures. So, they wouldn’t have a co-teaching
classroom, but students that required academic support will,
more than likely, be in a co-teaching classroom. So, they are the students
that will be working at different levels of curriculum
at different year levels. And two teachers are able to support that
through co-planning co-teaching. DR MELLIFONT: Alright, so, do you want
to go back to that earlier step, which is the choice of class allocation,
not classroom allocation, but students allocated into a class. What are you trying to do there? MS MORRIS: What we’re trying
to do there is ensure that students that need the support of two teachers,
that need the adjustments are able to be in a class with two teachers
so that they have the ability to be able to do that as a team. And it’s also about building
the capability of the teachers to be able to do those adjustments
to curriculum. DR MELLIFONT: So, you’re not just talking
about students with verified disabilities. MS MORRIS: No, we’re talking
about a broader range. They could be students who –
EAL/D who are Indigenous students who don’t speak
standard Australian English. It could be out-of-home care students. It could be that diverse range of students
that are on the inclusion and diversity policy. DR MELLIFONT: OK, and so, the aim is
to provide co-teaching classes. Well, would you like
to have co-teaching all the time? MS MORRIS: Yeah.
DR MELLIFONT: OK MS MORRIS: Right across the board. Yeah, that would be great. DR MELLIFONT: But, at the moment,
there’s not the resources for co-teaching all of the time
for all of the classes, I take it. Am I right? MS MORRIS: Sorry, could you repeat – DR MELLIFONT: I take that, at the time,
there’s not the resources for co-teaching all fo the time
in all the classes. MS MORRIS: No. DR MELLIFONT: OK, so, I’m correct about
that. Yes?
MS MORRIS: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: OK, alright,
so, you make a selection, therefore, about which classes
will be co-taught. MS MORRIS: The selection is really about –
is absolutely, definitely about providing the adjustments,
the reasonable adjustments, that students require. DR MELLIFONT: OK, what I want
to take you to is Paragraph 13. And you’re gonna unhelp unpack some
of this language for me, please. So, you’ve spoken about collaboration and co-teaching being signature practices
across Bowen State High School. And then, you said this,
“This practice supports the guidelines of the P-12 curriculum, assessment,
reporting framework including the whole-school approach
to differentiated teaching and learning individual curriculum
plan policy and the student wellbeing framework. All of which have their own acronyms.” Alright, let’s start with the first one
because I’m drowning in acronyms. P-12 curriculum, assessment,
reporting framework, what’s that? MS MORRIS: That is a policy that we follow
in regards to curriculum, assessment, report, and reporting. And there are guidelines that we follow
and – to do with those for all students. DR MELLIFONT: OK, what is the ICP,
that is, the whole-school approach to differentiated teaching
and learning individual curriculum plan policy. What’s that? MS MORRIS: The whole-school approach
to differentiated teaching and learning is another policy
and guideline to differentiated teaching. DR MELLIFONT: So, these are all
internal documents. MS MORRIS: Yes, these are all underpinned underneath the P-12 curriculum assessment
and reporting framework. DR MELLIFONT: OK, and the student
wellbeing framework? MS MORRIS: The student wellbeing
framework is, once again, another policy that underpins the P-12 CARF. DR MELLIFONT: But local or –
But local policy or – MS MORRIS: No, these are all
Queensland State policy. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. Now, you speak, in Paragraph 14,
about leading the cultural change of inclusion by a number of things. And I won’t go through all of them,
but can I ask you in respect of D, which is, “Facilitating the professional
development of the co-teaching training manual.” What does that mean you’re doing? MS MORRIS: Well, within the co-teaching
training manual is professional development
that’s required to be a co-teacher. DR MELLIFONT: Yes. MS MORRIS: And I facilitate
that professional development. DR MELLIFONT: Does that mean you deliver
lectures, reading? MS MORRIS: I deliver the workshops,
the readings, the training, the instructional coaching,
the disability standards for education. All the modules within that manual,
I facilitate. DR MELLIFONT: OK, so, that falls
to the HOSES, or whatever terminology this particular school is using to – MS MORRIS: This is a local Bowen State
High School training manual that we designed. DR MELLIFONT: That’s what I’m asking you. OK, so, what educational learnings
were you given in order to be able
to facilitate the imparting of that information and training? MS MORRIS: OK, so, I attended
Quality Schools Inclusive Leaders, an initiative of more support
for students with disabilities DR MELLIFONT: OK, so, that’s QSIL, QSIL. MS MORRIS: Prior to developing the manual. DR MELLIFONT: Yes. MS MORRIS: And, within that,
I developed my skills in all the manual – all the modules in the training manual. DR MELLIFONT: OK, now, I think each
of the statements refer to QSIL and the more support module. But, in terms of QSIL and the training
you get under that, what are we talking? Are we talking a week’s course?
Are we talking online? What is it?
What was it? MS MORRIS: So, it was an initiative
to – for more supports for students with disabilities to develop a program, professional development,
for leadership teams to understand the knowledge
and understandings behind inclusive practices. DR MELLIFONT: Yeah, OK, but what was it? MS SWANCUTT: It went for two
or three days, I think, from memory. Yes, so the principal took
along their chosen members of their school leadership team
to the delivery of that professional learning. DR MELLIFONT: OK, now,
since the 2018 policy’s been in place, what training, if any, have you received
in respect of your role as a HOSE or head of department
inclusive services to impart locally? MS MORRIS: OK, so we – DR MELLIFONT: If any.
I’m happy for anybody to answer. So, what I’m trying to get
from the panel at the moment is – I want to understand now. So, for the people who,
at that head of department level, which used to be called HOSES,
what training are they getting in order to be able to impart
the knowledge and learnings around inclusion to the people
within their school community? So, Ms. Swancutt, can you tell me
about that? MS SWANCUTT: Specifically, I think,
in our region, it’s the delivery of some inclusive
education forums that the inclusion coach has been leading. And, then, with our appointment
to the regional roles and when I was also
the regional autism coach, I supported the creation
and the delivery of those. I lead the delivery
of an inclusive education cafe that happens three times a term
here in Townsville. And I prepare the resources
for other people, like Catherine, to deliver those in other areas
of our region. And I also travel to other regions
to deliver it, as well, which is a bit more of a casual gathering
of professional learning for teachers to come along – sorry, I’ve just realized I’m talking
really fast – and pose problems of practice,
or challenges of practice, that they voice themselves
and that, then, we address through some professional learning
for them and opportunities to network coach and overcome
sort of those issues. DR MELLIFONT: OK, so, we’ll come back
to it in a second. Please remember to do so.
The inclusion cafe. MS SWANCUTT: Inclusion education cafe,
yes. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. So, that’s something you created
and developed. MS SWANCUTT: Yes, that’s correct. DR MELLIFONT: OK, the inclusive
education forums is something that comes from higher up the hierarchy. MS SWANCUTT: The regional inclusion
coach commenced those, correct. DR MELLIFONT: OK, how often are they
held? MS SWANCUTT: Quite frequently. At least once a term to ensure
that we’re able to cover the range of principals and leadership teams
across our region. So, they go on the road, as well,
out to the other parts of our region but, also, here in Townsville, of course. DR MELLIFONT: OK, so, who gets to go? MS SWANCUTT: The regional inclusion
coach is the main person. But, then, we also go in supporting roles
to help her deliver that content, as well. DR MELLIFONT: OK, so, trying
to get the two pieces of the puzzle. So, it’s the regional inclusive coach. There’s people who are
in your acting positions. MS SWANCUTT: Yeah, in other regional
roles, “I’m delivering this. Can you come and support
some delivery of that?” And it’s just about scheduling
and people’s calendars and things. DR MELLIFONT: OK, that’s one piece
of the jigsaw puzzle. But who from the school wants to go? MS SWANCUTT: Anyone the principal would
like to send along, ultimately. It gets sent out as an expression
of interest to all principals to send any number of staff
that they would like to attend. DR MELLIFONT: OK, and how long
does it go for? MS SWANCUTT: A day. DR MELLIFONT: OK. Ms. Morris, you were gonna say something. MS MORRIS: I was going to say that,
in our roles as HOSES of inclusion, we present those forums
with the inclusion coach. DR MELLIFONT: To the staff? MS MORRIS: To the staff that come
from across the region. DR MELLIFONT: Alright, have you been
to the Inclusive Education Forum? MS MORRIS: Yes, I’ve been to one.
I’ve presented at one. And we present them now
with the inclusion coach. DR MELLIFONT: OK, Ms. Kauppila. MS KAUPPILA: Thank you. I’d like to first say that two –
I’ve attended two state conferences. And they have been two, three days,
off the top of my head. And the inclusion policy is coming out. The Deloitte was mentioned there,
and so, the starting of the reform. From there, it’s now taken
to a regional basis where we have the inclusion HOD
and the inclusion coach. And we attend a day with the principal
and with other staff members who wish to attend. And we will have information
given to us there. We then go back to our schools,
and, in our school, we have professional learning communities. And we have time where I then deliver. And we’ve been given vignettes. We’ve been given resources
about what’s happening with inclusive practices
and moving forward. So, we deliver those there. I do my own professional learning. I’m involved in global book studies
on professional learning in inclusive practices. I follow Twitter, a Twitter
which I then send out professionally. And we, as a school,
do our own book studies in developing our own
professional learning. ATKINSON: May I interrupt?
DR MELLIFONT: Yes, of course. ATKINSON: So, one of my experiences
in my professional past is that the people who volunteer to come
aren’t always all the people you need to have the impact on. And you said that the principals choose
or people volunteer. How do you reach the people
who might be slightly less enthusiastic about inclusion than, obviously, you are? MS SWANCUTT: Yep, so, that’s always – ATKINSON: If I can put it in a nice way. MS SWANCUTT: That’s always the
challenge. And, often, to those events,
you’re certainly right. The people that are already in roles,
like ourselves, that often come along
or special education teachers. I guess that’s why we also developed
the inclusive education cafe. So, it’s an afterschool event
that requires no commitment on behalf of anybody. You can come if you want to come,
and you don’t have to if you don’t want to. And we host that at a variety
of schools in our region, too. So, often, the school
that we’re hosting it at for that day, people will come in that wouldn’t normally
come along to those things. And because it’s more of a casual
and relaxed atmosphere, and it’s professional learning born
directly out of their own direct questioning,
we’re certainly seeing a lot more commitment and uptake
of people that don’t generally come along to the other more formal learnings
that we offer. This semester, we’ve also developed
a suite of web conferences that we deliver over the internet
that people, again, don’t have to even acknowledge
that they are listening to or watching. And so, we certainly know that people
are tuning into those, as well. So, we’re always creatively thinking
of ways that we can reach a broader range
of staff in our department. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: I think
Commissioner Mason has a question that she would like to ask. COMMISSIONER MASON: I was interested in
the comment about there are parents in a demographic that struggle
to engage with the school and, therefore, it has a flow-on effect
to the engagement with their child. I’m particularly interested
in First Nation parents. Is there an avenue,
a gathering conference, which brings together parents,
schools, but, also, leaders from that First Nations service sector
to talk specifically about disabled First Nations children
and issues around disengagement and around the fear of engaging,
particularly around diagnosed disability but, also, potentially
undiagnosed disability. MS SWANCUTT: Yes, I raised that as a point
in my statement, as well, around the acknowledgment of culture
and how disability is thought about in different cultures in our school. Certainly, it’s something
that we’re very aware of in the demographic of our school. We’re very lucky, at our school,
that we have the engagement of Clontarf and STARS,
two federally funded programs that are placed in schools
to support the engagement of young Indigenous men
and young Indigenous girls. And they certainly work in strong
collaboration with us teaching staff in relation to engaging families. We also have community education
counselors and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teacher aides
and support personnel in our school, as well. And we are very much in collaboration
with those and are very respectful of how we interact with our families from different cultures,
absolutely. COMMISSIONER GALBALLY: If I could just
clarify – COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Sorry, you
wanted to say something. I’m sorry. MS KAUPPILA: I wanted to add, in our case,
at Ingham State High School, too, that we have the CEC
in operation, as well. But we have the wraparound support. And we’re running the ARTIE program,
and we’re part of the ARTIE program. And that’s looking at
and assisting students coming to school and working with parents
through the ARTIE program, as well. COMMISSIONER MASON: Sorry, what was
the name of the program? MS KAUPPILA: ARTIE, as in Arthur Beetson. It’s Former State of Origin Greats. So, it’s called the ARTIE program.
It’s spelt ARTIE. Yes, so, we’re working
and, then, through negotiation because some people don’t have phones
or credit or a vehicle, we go with our CEC and go
and do home visits, which is negotiated wherever
that would be. It may not be at the home. It might be in other arranged areas,
as well. COMMISSIONER GALBALLY: With
co-teaching and even the definition of the inclusive school,
you’re meaning the full diversity. MS KAUPPILA: Yes. COMMISSIONER GALBALLY: I just wanted to
clarify that. And then, I had a second question
about parents and that – and you may be going to come to this. And if you are, I won’t. DR MELLIFONT: That’s fine.
Go ahead. COMMISSIONER GALBALLY: But in the
transition from a special sort of unit into an inclusive school,
parental expectations – has anyone had experience
of really bringing parents with you on the journey where they may have been
quite fearful and, understandably, really worried
about it and resistant to it? MS MORRIS: Yes.
MS SWANCUTT: Yes. MS KAUPPILA: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: Alright, who’d like to start? Ms. Morris. MS MORRIS: Yes, when we first were doing
our action plan and speaking and making moves towards all students
being in mainstream classrooms, we met with parents before –
at the end of that – at the end of 2013 when we were going
to go into a fully inclusive model in 2014. They were very concerned, some parents. Some of their children had never been –
had always been in a unit. And they were scared, really,
of them being in a mainstream setting, scared of, perhaps, being bullied
and not being able to cope. So, we had to meet regularly with them
and reassure them that we would be able
to give them the same support, the same social and emotional support
that we would if they were in a unit, which we did. And, over time, they became
a lot more comfortable, and data and experience showed
that their children were very successful. And their social and emotional wellbeing
was healthy and well. And we don’t have that concern anymore
from any parents. We did have a student that came
from a special school to our school, and her parents were very concerned
to begin with, her family. But, over time, once again,
the became very comfortable and pleased beyond, really, at her success
in a mainstream school. She moved from being
a not very confident student to an extremely confident young lady
who was a very successful member of our school. MS KAUPPILA: I’ve had the same
experiences where I’ve had students come from special schools to our school
and parents feeling fear. And the conversation, just recently,
is that she would like to say that we all need to be covered
in gold and that she is holding us in the highest esteem, this parent
who is a carer of out-of-home care. Her young person attends school
with his peers. He goes to school camp.
He goes to the school social. He’s out with all his mates, and
his communication and his body language and his growth is just amazing. And when he walks down the street,
’cause we’re a little town, everybody says his name and says hello. And she doesn’t know who these people are,
but she knows that they must go to Ingham State High School
because they stop and say hello to him. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: We heard
yesterday from Dr. Mann, who conducted a study – I don’t know whether you followed
that evidence as to why parents might withdraw children
from mainstream schools and send them to special schools. Have you had any experience
of parents withdrawing children from the mainstream schools
with which you are associated? MS MORRIS: No.
MS SWANCUTT: No. MS KAUPPILA: No. MS MORRIS: We don’t have a special school
where we live in Bowen, but I’ve never experienced that
in my entire career. MS KAUPPILA: No, and I don’t have
a special school, no. MS SWANCUTT: We do, but, no, we haven’t. DR MELLIFONT: Ms. Swancutt,
did you want to add anything to the response
to Commissioner Galbally’s question? MS SWANCUTT: No, just mirroring
the same sort of thing. Yes, we had parents of students
who were in our previous special education unit
who had engaged in their entire schooling
in a special education unit. So, you can obviously understand
that they’re quite nervous about proposed changes. But, for us, it was just about being able
to provide information to them about what it would actually look like. Their angst was more
about not understanding what inclusive education actually meant and what the support would look like
for their child. So, we spent a course of six months
very thoroughly and systematically planning
for the change in what we did. And we ensured that we engaged
with parents throughout that entire process,
as we did with our staff. And we’re willing to sit
in that space to ensure that people were confident
with the decisions being made and that they did understand
what we were talking about. We did have some parents who really needed
the opportunity to sort of see it to fully understand it
and were still quite anxious into the beginning of 2015
when we first launched into inclusive classrooms but, again,
very quickly within a week or two once they saw the success
and the happiness of their child and had their own child’s voice
about never wanting to return to what was before. And those children going on
to be incredibly successful in our school has now allowed
those parents who openly see us out in the community to say that they are
our biggest advocates and that they thank us very much
for the work that ended up occurring at our school. DR MELLIFONT: I want to come back
to the topic of departmentally imposed – I don’t mean that in a bad sense –
requirements for training of heads of department
and acknowledging, as Ms. McMillan acknowledged
for the state, that we are in its infancy in terms
of inclusive policy. I just want to get the metes and bounds of what it is that the department says
you have to do by way of training as a head of department. MS SWANCUTT: To my knowledge,
there is no mandated training. I believe that the proficiency
of teaching staff and heads of department
and their professional learning is the responsibility of the school
and the principal to ensure that staff have the capability
to fulfill the roles that they are appointed to. DR MELLIFONT: OK, Ms. Morris, do you
have any different answer to that? And that was really directed
to your role as the current role as acting regional. Did you have any observations
at your level in respect of any other mandate? MS KAUPPILA: No, no. DR MELLIFONT: OK, so, am I correct
in understanding, and I take this
from the position descriptions to each of the heads
of special education services, that the only mandatory requirement
for that position is current full registration or current
provisional registration with eligibility for full registration
as a teacher in Queensland? MS SWANCUTT: I belive that to be so, yes. DR MELLIFONT: OK, now, I’m going to ask
the question Commissioner Atkinson asked, but I’m not going
to ask it as nicely. And this is directed in your current roles
as acting. Are there teachers who may be pushing
back against the notion of inclusion who are able to slip
through the gaps? MS SWANCUTT: Yes, there would be, yes. MS MORRIS: They don’t speak to me
about that, but – MS SWANCUTT: Observed practice would
suggest that, yes, there are teachers that are resisting
diversity in their classrooms. DR MELLIFONT: OK, what’s an observed
practice which would indicate that? MS SWANCUTT: I spoke before
about forward planning to ensure that every child is included. So, I’ve perhaps seen lessons where –
that they’re taught to the middle of the class, for example,
and that individualized adjustments aren’t necessarily forefronted
and planned for. And, therefore, the child cannot
successfully engage in lessons and that they defer, I suppose,
that responsibility to other adults who may be in the classroom
or who may be in the school to come and sit with or deliver learning
to children. DR MELLIFONT: OK. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Can I put the
question, perhaps, in a slightly different way? You are each, obviously, very dedicated
and very successful in what you’ve been doing. Across the board, how successful,
in your judgment, has the policy of inclusive education been
in the areas with which you’re familiar or, indeed,
in Queensland in general? MS KAUPPILA: Can I answer that? COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Of course. MS KAUPPILA: So, within my school, we
have – we decided to review
our inclusive practices. And we requested an outside person
to come and review our practices. And we used an auditing tool
called Signposts for Inclusion. And the person here on my left
is the person who came to our school. And then, we, as a – COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: How did you
do? MS KAUPPILA: Sorry? COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: How did you
do? MS KAUPPILA: I’m going to tell you.
Thank you for asking. So, then, we broke into small groups,
and we did it across the school. And there’s School A, B, and C,
and there are nine domains. We, at Ingham State High School,
recognize that it’s a journey. And we are in domains of School B
and School C. So, that is across the whole school,
and we looked at – it wasn’t just from a leadership. It was across with the teachers
and where they were feeling. I’d also like to say that,
in our recent school opinion survey, that, this year, in our staff,
they recognized that 100% reffered to that we are an inclusive state school,
that we are, at Ingham State High School,
inclusive practices. And we got 100% in our survey
of our staff. DR MELLIFONT: That figure correlates neatly
with the number of students who graduated. MS KAUPPILA: Oh, yes, yes. DR MELLIFONT: As it happens
from your school in that year. Ms. Morris, did you want an opportunity
to answer this question? MS MORRIS: I did want to speak
about when you said that – were all the teachers basically on board
with inclusive education? I would like to say that,
at Bowen State High School, I believe majority are. I believe that because, well,
through conversation and through when they come to see
and talk about the capability building and professional development
that they feel that they need. And that’s always directed
towards the adjustments that the students need in their classroom. And when our school was reviewed
this year, a four-yearly review, the reviewer spoke to us
as a leadership team and said how – commented on the inclusive –
our inclusive school and said that every teacher that they interviewed,
not one said that they didn’t believe that all students
should be taught together in the same classroom. MS SWANCUTT: I should clarify
that my answer was in response to my broader regional role and not
my direct experience at Thuringowa. It would mirror the same ’cause
of the culture in our schools. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: I was really
asking, in part, about the broader experience. MS SWANCUTT: Yes. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: I understand
the position in the school you’re each associated with. Are you able to say what the position is
more broadly within Queensland? MS MORRIS: I can say that every school
that I see in this position that I’m in now and visit
in this position are engaged in the conversation and are engaged
in the Signpost document and are reflecting on where they are
as inclusive schools and having conversations
in where they would like to be and what their next steps are
and how they’re going to go about that. MS KAUPPILA: I can only talk
from my own personal preference and scope. So, I can’t add to that. DR MELLIFONT: You’ve each been told
previously that I’m going to give you an opportunity
a little bit later on to tell me what your wishlist might be. And you’re in a good position,
obviously, to speak to that given your experience
about how things are going and how you think things might be able
to be improved. And so, if you have any thoughts
that you wish to share at that point in time
about how we might be able to bring those along the journey, I’d be –
we’d be glad to hear of it. Now, we’re almost at morning tea,
and I have promised that each of you will have
an opportunity tell the commissioner about your journeys. But can I – before morning tea,
can I ask Ms. Swancutt this? And I’m not gonna identify
the particular schools that I’m asking about. But, as a general proposition,
there is a local autonomy in terms of how a school implements
inclusion within their school, yes? MS SWANCUTT: Correct. DR MELLIFONT: OK, now, currently,
in your role, you’re involved in supporting two schools
which are as not progressed, shall we say, as Thuringowa or Bowen or Ingham
in the inclusiveness process. Is that fair? MS SWANCUTT: Yes, yes, correct. DR MELLIFONT: How far are they? How far are they though compared
to, say, Thuringowa? MS SWANCUTT: They are still currently
still offering segregated classes for students with disability. So, in comparison,
we don’t offer that at all, so. DR MELLIFONT: Right, so, your statement
talks about those schools being in the phase of analyzing data,
considering human resourcing implications, identifying school systems
and processes that can be impacted first to support implementation. And so, implementation
has not yet commenced. I just want to understand that language. What does that mean? The phase of analyzing data,
considering human resourcing implications, identifying school systems
and processes that can be impacted first to support implementation. MS SWANCUTT: So, genuine inclusive
education isn’t achieved overnight by closing a segregated class
and having those students turn up into a regular class the next day. It’s actually far more involved
than that in terms of it being successful and in terms of those students
not actually receiving micro-segregation within a regular classroom
which can still very easily occur when children are seated separately
with a teacher aide within a room and taught separate curriculum. That’s not what we’re aiming for. So, we have to appreciate
that this isn’t overnight work. And, in my leadership of the work
at Thuringowa State High School, part of the success and the scalability
and sustainability of that work is ’cause we spend
a considerable amount of time analyzing our data
and understanding what our current position was,
envisioning what we wanted it to be, and very systematically planning
and mapping out how we would bridge the gap
between the two and make sure that we bring everybody along with us
in a manner that would ensure that it would be successful
not for one day but for years to come. So, with those schools,
we’re at that point in time where we’re actually looking at,
well, what is our current story. What is the current outcomes
and experiences of our students with disability? How are they fairing in relation
to their peers without disability? What strengths do we have
that we can celebrate? And what are the gaps, and, also,
what practices do we have in our school that we can start
embedding this work into that will allow us to carry us
from where we are now to where we need to be
because inclusive education isn’t just about one particular practice
or five particular practices. And when people ring our school
and ask to come along and see inclusive education
in half a day or a day, it’s that little nervous giggle knowing
that we’ll barely scratch the surface of being able to communicate
to those people about what it is we do
because it’s everything that we do. And it’s embedded within every choice
and every decision and every system and process
in our school to make it successful. So, for those schools, we’re at the point
of looking at, well, where is the strength of practice
in our schools. How can we extend those in those schools? How can we extend those practices
to ensure that they are quality and inclusive for every child? Because every school has lots
of good quality practices occurring. And inclusive education is then
just about ensuring that those practices are actually
inclusive of every child. So, you can say we’re
a high-performing school. But are we a high-performing school
for every member of our student cohort? So, at those schools, we’re looking
at what great practices they already have, how we can stretch
and mold those to be inclusive everyone
and to help carry this work. So, it’s in those very early days
of being very considered about how this work is actually going
to be achieved authentically, sustainability, and scalability long-term. DR MELLIFONT: So, what I want
to get a sense of, and I’m going to ask you this, as well,
Ms. Morris, in your role as acting regional –
got that correct? Thank you. I’ll ask you first, Ms. Swancutt. Why could Thuringowa get
to where it’s got to? OK, and you’re allowed to say you –
but I’d like to know ’cause we understand
that a really good head of department for inclusive services
is absolutely critical. So, let’s just take that as a given. What else it it about Thuringowa
that’s able to bring it to where it is now, which might give us
an indication of what’s lacking or not there for some
of the other schools? MS SWANCUTT: That’s always the question
that everyone asks hoping for the magic wand. Ultimately, it comes down
to culture and leadership. The short answer to that question
I often defer to my principal who is very much a part
of this journey. And I know that, when he’s asked
the question, he defers to saying me. So, together, I guess, we have the answer. But, ultimately, it was a willingness and a moral imperative
within the key leaders of our school to turn this ship away from something
that we knew was not right practice and to head
into uncharted waters with nothing more than it being
the socially just thing to do and strong leadership and skill
to bring along a culture of a whole staff to walk with us into that unknown
and down that journey knowing that this is the important work
and is the work of school improvement and is incredibly important
for every child in our school. DR MELLIFONT: OK, Ms. Morris
and Ms. Kauppila are both nodding. I’ll start with you, Ms. Morris,
in your role as acting regional, but I will let you have an opportunity
to give your reflections if you wish, as well, Ms. Kauppila. MS MORRIS: So, the same. Why Bowen State High School is
where we are in inclusion compared to other schools? Is that the question? DR MELLIFONT: Yes. MS MORRIS: I belive that it’s
about the moral imperative. It’s about the willingness,
the same as what Loren said. It’s about leadership. It’s about shared and strong leadership. My principal, we have
the same shared belief in the rights of every child. We believe in the inclusion. We believe that every child can succeed
and – but not only us. So do our staff. Most of our teachers that I know
have the same belief and always have had and are very proud
to work towards that inclusion, the culture that we have. We are a school that does get a lot
of beginning teachers and new teachers. And they’re very proud, as young people,
to work in an inclusive school. So, they work very hard
towards inclusion and have a really strong belief,
moral belief. I think it is the passion of leadership. It’s the skill of it, as well,
to be able to bring people along with you. Especially in being able
to show the success. So, right at the very beginning,
being able to show the success of inclusion, the success
of each and every student helps to drive that and bring that
and grow that into an even bigger and more successful thing, really,
or inclusion or a heart that we’ve managed to develop
as a school over time. DR MELLIFONT: OK, Ms. Morris,
any final observations on that before we break? MS KAUPPILA: I would just like to add
that leadership and my principal. It’s very much – it’s our moral imperative
and making priority of inclusive practices. And I believe that –
we believe that every child can learn. Every child deserves the right
to learn a quality education, the best that we can provide,
and that the teachers – we have quite the different –
we have teachers who’ve been at our school for a long time
and teachers who may have even attended as students to our school. But, through leadership and
through this high will, that they want the best for our students,
and we want the best. We want to be world-renowned
for inclusive practices. DR MELLIFONT: We’re going to break now
for morning tea. ATKINSON: No, I want to ask a question. DR MELLIFONT: We’re not going to break
now for morning tea. ATKINSON: Sorry, just a question
I want you to think about over the morning tea adjournment. And I certainly don’t want
an immediate answer. But, being a Queenslander, I’m aware of – and even my mother having attended
Collinsville school. So, right in this area. You haven’t got, necessarily, these
as cohort students. There’ll be a number of students
in your schools with behavioral difficulties
and some severe behavioral difficulties, and some of that may be related
to disability. So, really, what I want you
to explain is what are the strategies for dealing with that. And does that have – does that change
what happens overall in the school because that’s always one
of the areas of difficulty that people talk about with incorporating
students with disabilities where they have severe
behavioral difficulties. Of course, not all students
with disability do. But there will be a small cohort
that do and where that impacts on other students. So, that’s the area
that I’m interested in. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: And a related
question to that, how do you deal with the parents of students
who do not have disability who may not be necessarily sympathetic
to what you’re trying to achieve? MS SWANCUTT: Can I just address that one,
particularly, right now? We were actually preparing ourselves
for that, for parents of students without disability to have some opinions. But, to this day, five years later,
we still have not had one contact to the school in regards
to students with disability being in the classrooms of students
without disability. So, very positive for our school culture. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Alright, we
now will break, and it is now, according to my watch 11:32,
so we’ll resume at 11:52. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. Might I, very briefly, 30 seconds,
just indicate the plan for after the break? COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: Which will be
to answer those questions just asked by the commissioners. Then, you will each have an opportunity,
for a few minutes, to give us a summary of how your schools –
what your schools have done in terms of inclusive journey. Then, I want to move to address
the barriers and challenges which you’re facing. And then, I will be asking you
for your wishlist and, also, what you would like to see
this commission accomplish. Thank you. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: We’ll resume
at 11:53. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Yes, Dr.
Mellifont. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. So, Ms. Swancutt, you had a chance
to answer the chair’s question about whether there’d been parental
or carer pushback of students without a disability
for the process of inclusion of students with a disability. Ms. Morris, did you have anything
to say about that, whether you had experienced situations
of parents of children without disabilities challenging
the decision to move towards inclusion. MS MORRIS: No, no. DR MELLIFONT: OK, and, Ms. Morris. MS KAUPPILA: Ms.?
DR MELLIFONT: Ms. (GROANS) MS KAUPPILA: Ms. Kauppila.
DR MELLIFONT: Sorry. KAUPPILLA: No.
DR MELLIFONT: No. DR MELLIFONT: Alright, so, the other
question was asked by Commissioner Atkinson
in respect of children with behavioral difficulties
and the strategies around that. Who’d like to start? MS SWANCUTT: I’m happy to. Student behavior is obviously something
that’s on the cards for all schools. And it’s something that schools
are constantly reflecting upon and trying to understand
how they can address better. Obviously, for us, our students
with a verified disability, once we transitioned to an inclusive
education model, we’ve actually seen decline
in their adverse behaviors. They have better social role models
in their classrooms. They feel more valued and welcomed
and, therefore, engage and participate at higher rates
of achievement than what they did previously
before we changed to that model. At a whole-school level is
how we address it. And, as I mentioned before,
that inclusive education at our school is about everything
that we do. So, ultimately, the answer to most
of the questions around the work that we do starts
at that whole-school level. So, for us,
it’s about quality-first teaching, and the implementation
of quality practices is what we would refer toat a tier-one level. And we’re also a positive behavior
for learning schools. So, a lot of emphasis around ensuring
that the general operation and management
of our classrooms is welcoming and inclusive of all of the students
and that we deploy strategies at that universal-tier level
to address and meet the needs of the broadest population. And then, we can provide
additional supports and strategies for students at tier two
and tier three based on their individual circumstances. So, for us, as I said, we’re
a positive behavior for learning school. So, that means we have very clearly
articulated positive behaviors that we expect at our school. We explicitly teach
those behaviors weekly. The behavioral focus is delivered
to the whole school first by the principal at full-school parade
on Monday. We then deliver an explicit lesson
around that behavior to the entire school population
on Tuesday. And it’s reinforced and recognized
across the week for students within all lessons. In addition to that,
we utilize strategies at that tier one that allow students to connect
and build relationships and regulate their behavior. We’ve just taken on board what’s called the Berry Street educational model,
which is trama-informed practice which now results in many
of our classes commencing with opportunities to connect
in a class circle, to check in with kids for them
to identify how they’re going in relation to self-regulation,
doing a little activity that allows them to build relationship
with one another and the teacher and to set themselves up
for positive learning, then, throughout the lesson. We utilize brain breaks
within our lessons to ensure that regulation levels are maintained. Our lessons are 70 minutes long. And then, in addition to that,
in the other tierings, we have opportunities for students
to check in and check out and do other strategies that are
more individualized for themselves. So, ultimately, the goal for us is
to ensure, universally, that all students have the strategies
that they need and that we’re not constantly doing
lots of individual things, that we’re taking those common practices
and ensuring that they’re implemented
across our school for all of our students because it’s all quality practice
for everybody. DR MELLIFONT: OK, Thanks.
Ms. Morris. MS MORRIS: Bowen State High School is
also a PBLS school. So, we practice the same tier one,
tier two, tier three – ATKINSON: Sorry, PBL? MS MORRIS: Positive Behavior for Learning. ATKINSON: Thank you. MS MORRIS: So, we practice
the same procedures. It’s a whole-school approach to behavior. We have PBL lessons every morning
in our form classes. The language of PBL is used
through all our lessons. The tier one approach that Loren
is talking about is at a classroom level. And the tier two and tier three,
when behaviors become more complex, become a student service process
that involves guidance officers, HOSES, year-level coordinators,
year-level HODs, deputies, and parents. ATKINSON: So, is that what tier one,
tier two, and tier three mean? MS MORRIS: Yes, so, it’s different levels
of complex behavior. And then, each child has a case manager – each child with a verified disability
or each child identified as having needs, intensive needs,
or needs and behavior, needs and attendance,
will have a case manager. So, that will lead to – yeah,
the complex case management. And, from that, we will – Those decisions are made
whether we would need to outside support from, perhaps, a psychologist or medical,
behavioral – more behavioral support from regional. So, those supports are in place. And each child would have
a behavior support plan. And that plan will be activated
and shared amongst staff to follow the processes and strategies. ATKINSON: Thanks.
MS MORRIS: Thank you. DR MELLIFONT: Ms. Kauppila. MS KAUPPILA: We have the Responsible
Plan for Students’ Behavior. And we have a level, as well,
and we have wraparound support. So, we start with
the whole-school support. We have a support services team
who include the CEC, the school nurse, the youth coordinator,
a HOD of student services, and the guidance officer. Then, we have my team,
who are the inclusive practices team. And we have the school structure
of a year-level HOD with a year-level coordinator. If you imagine it goes down
through a hierarchy, we have, then,
our cluster curriculum groups, a year-level teams, and, then,
down to individual teachers. We, too, have a positive
youth development program. And we work on the habits of mind. We, too, are a – have been
to Berry Street with trauma. And we’re looking at – for students
for self-regulation. And I’d particularly like
to talk about a student who has Tourette’s and has anxiety. And so, the language
that this young person may present, you may not find in a school ground
as you would expect. However, his language that he uses
comes from his disability. And we recognize, at Ingham State
High School, that there are behaviors
that student display because of their disability. And we work with family,
and we work with the teachers to recognize that that’s where
that behavior is coming from. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: How many
students are there at your school? How many students are there? MS KAUPPILA: There’s around 350 students
that we have, yes. And that’s something I’d like
to talk about later in my sum-up. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Well, if Dr.
Mellifont doesn’t ask you the question, I’m sure someone else will. MS KAUPPILA: Thank you very much. MS MORRIS: Can I just talk
about our training? Our staff do receive functional behavior
analysis training. And we are also – have been to
the Berry Street training trauma practice, as well. DR MELLIFONT: The functional behavioral
analysis training, is that an internal training program
or an external service provider? MS MORRIS: It’s a program that is part
of our positive behavior for learning. And it’s a regional function
or behavior analysis which used regionally
as a behavior analysis. DR MELLIFONT: OK, I wanna ask each
of you to assist the commission in starting to understand the types
of supports that might be currently in place for First Nations students.
Ms. Swancutt. MS SWANCUTT: So, at Thuringowa State
High School, we have a significant population
of students who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander,
around 42%, which is around 350 students
in our school. So, they are very much
a significant population that are very valued in our community. So, as I mentioned previously
in another question, we have the federally supported
Clontarf and STARS programs. They both come with a large number
of staff that are there to support students to engage
in education and, also, to support their families
to engage in education. So, they provide a lot of support
to the students in relation to coming to school, the schools
that they need once they’re at school, but, also, about building
that cultural understanding, valuing that in our school community,
and being proud of that, being proud, young Indigenous men
and young Indigenous girls, and ensuring that they have opportunities
to connect and engage with their culture within our school,
as well. We also have a community education
counselor, which I mentioned previously,
on staff to support in very similar ways, as well, and to work with staff
around that cultural understanding and ensuring that we are responding to and engaging our Indigenous students,
as well, and as well as some Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander teacher aides that are in classrooms with students. DR MELLIFONT: OK, Ms. Morris. MS MORRIS: At Bown State High School,
we have the Indigenous Community
Education Counselor who presents cultural awareness training
for all staff. Our staff engage in English
as additional language or dialect band scaling
to produce individual support plans for those students. We have an academic Indigenous mentor
who works with our senior students to support them in their senior pathway. We have Indigenous teacher aides
who work with our Indigenous students in classrooms. We have a place called Bibrigu Yunga,
which is a learning place. And that is where students, Indigenous
and non-Indigenous students, visit. They have their lunch there. They get together and talk with the CECs
and the mentors and the different staff members. It’s just generally a place
where they can do their learning, catch up with each other, have lunch. We have lunch packs
and breakfasts provided there through our relationship with Giradila. We basically partnership our – the lunches
and the breakfast program. We have NAIDOC, an all-day NAIDOC event
that involves all staff and community members. We have a cultural camp for Indigenous
and non-Indigenous students which is about the Indigenous students
sharing their culture with non-Indigenous students. And, just recently, we’ve been involved
in the Deadly Choices. We’re making a song about our –
their culture and their local community. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you, Ms. Morris. MS KAUPPILA: So, we have – well, we’d like
to have the question again just so – clarity. DR MELLIFONT: Yes, Ms. Kauppila. What we’re asking is initiatives
and strategies in place currently supports
for First Nations students. MS KAUPPILA: So, they’re embedded
across our school and our practices. But we have particular support
for students. And we have a team
that wraparound-support our students. And, in this support services team,
we have a HOD who is a head of department. We have the CEC, the school nurse,
the youth coordinator. And the school chaplain and the guidance
officer are part of that team. We then have case managers
at a case manage particular level. And, as I said earlier,
we are an ARTIE school. And we’re working with FOGS,
and we have people come up. And we work in that section. And looking at how well they’re doing
in attendance. And they’ve just been away
and had a great time together. And that has developed friendships
and partnerships there as with the students. We acknowledge that we have
Aboriginal Strait – Aboriginal and Strait –
Aboriginal Islander – COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Torres Strait.
MS KAUPPILA: Thank you. Because, then, I’d also like
to say we have South Sea Islanders at our school, as well. That’s what I’m trying to say. We have the breakfast club.
We have Indigenous programs. And part of our leadership camps
and part of our camp is that we have the (INAUDIBLE) rangers
who come, and they talk about the cultural significance
of the land that they are visiting and participating in in their camps. And we have, form a perspective –
the Aboriginal and Islander perspective from regional
where we have involved our people to come and speak to us
about correct culture and correct priority calls. Our literature is – we have a very close – We have a writer and an artist
in resident through the year. And his name is Monty Prior. And he comes, and he does a wonderful job
in working with our students. We then have NAIDOC celebrations,
which our students run. And we invite the community,
and it’s a celebration. And we invite elders who we –
to be part of our NAIDOC celebrations, as well. But where my brain just went
is we have, at every school event, we have welcome to country
or acknowledgment to country. That’s where my brain just went there. And we have, within our school,
a yarning circle where if we – We can go and sit at the yarning circle. And these are all embedded
in our practices at Ingham State High School. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: You
mentioned a school chaplain. MS KAUPPILA: Yes. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: What’s the
role of the school chaplain? MS KAUPPILA: So, the school chaplain works
as a counselor and – COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: This is the
Commonwealth scheme, is it, for chaplains in schools? MS KAUPPILA: Yes, for my perspective,
she’s the school chaplain. And I don’t know where she’s funded from. So, I have a school chaplain at my school. And if I need counseling assistance,
she will go into classes, and she will help. She will go with the CEC to home visits. She will also assist with activities. She’ll be a person who may go
on the ARTIE program as a supervision. And she’s a person working
in the breakfast program. So, yes. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Thank you. DR MELLIFONT: I saw some nodding there
from Ms. Morris and Ms. Swancutt. So, this is department-wide. MS SWANCUTT: Yeah, we have a school
chaplain, as well. MS MORRIS: Yes, so do we. DR MELLIFONT: Is it every school
or just some schools? MS SWANCUTT: I believe so. But it’s probably based on school size,
I’m assuming, as whether you get one full-time
and that sort of thing. MS MORRIS: I think we may share ours
with Collinsville. MS SWANCUTT: Yeah, we share –
ours is across schools. MS KAUPPILA: Ours isn’t full-time.
She’s not full-time. She works at other schools
in our district. DR MELLIFONT: OK, thank you. Before we move to each of you giving
me a short – giving the commission a short summary
of the inclusiveness journey in your own schools, we have got a map. Now, I’ll just get one
of my instructors to just take – it’s on the screen. So, technical.
OK, great. So, the middle area,
the North Queensland region, which is – It’s actually there.
It’s already marked. So, we sort of see a light yellow
as opposed to a greyish coloring. So, the light yellow is
the North Queensland region. MS SWANCUTT: Correct. DR MELLIFONT: OK, so, can you just assist
me, Ms. Swancutt? You are a regional head of department –
sorry, regional – MS SWANCUTT: HOSES, Inclusion.
DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. There’s three people who hold
that position for this entire region. MS SWANCUTT: Correct. DR MELLIFONT: OK, and, Ms. Morris –
I’m sorry. Ms. Kauppila, what sort
of school territory does Ingham cover? MS KAUPPILA: Well, we go from out
to Mount Fox, down to Rollingstone, out to Forrest Beach,
Lucinda, and to the bay. See the top of there?
That’s the base of the Cardwell Range. So, we go there. That’s where our schools –
our students come from. DR MELLIFONT: And Bowen? MS MORRIS: Bowen, I’m not really sure
how far our school goes to. Well, there’s Bowen, and, then,
there’s Collinsville. And then, there’s Airlie Beach,
Proserpine. So, they’re all very close together. DR MELLIFONT: OK. MS MORRIS: So, some students may go
to a private school in Proserpine or Airlie Beach from Bowen. And so, it’s hard to say
just what our region is. It’s a Whitsundays,
and we have students from anywhere within that region may come
to our school, as well. DR MELLIFONT: And is Thuringow
from the direct area of Thuringowa, your student cohort? MS SWANCUTT: Yes, it’s a suburb area here
in Townsville. DR MELLIFONT: Yes, alright, now,
can I start with you, Ms. Kauppila, to give a summary of the journey
of Ingham in this inclusion process, please? MS KAUPPILA: So, we started
with the QSIL project. And I came – there was two parts. There’s QSIL one and QSIL two. I won the position of head
of department inclusive practices in the second section of QSIL
with the leadership. So, I became along. Then, we were given a principal
who has moral imperative for inclusive practices. We then drove the inclusive practices
at Ingham State High School and with the inclusive – the Department
of Education Inclusive Practices policy coming out
gave us real direction and gave us where we were going. And this provided the avenue for students to attend their local high school
with the support, the reasonable adjustments required
to work a quality education because, at the same time,
the Australian curriculum was rolling out. And the Australian curriculum then – and the senior curriculum became
quality education for all students. And so, that was part of it. We have ICPs which all work
in that part, as well. So, we have a building. And this building is
a purpose-built building with toileting facilities and kitchen. And this is used by all students. So, if students wanted time – quiet time,
we have one side quiet and, on the other side, we have
people practicing dance choreography. We have that happen, as well. We have sensory breaks.
We have movement breaks. And this is all built, in part,
and we work together as a whole school. And we work in the process
of advancing inclusive practices. DR MELLIFONT: Before I move on,
can I just ask you this? Your statement says that Ingham State
High School has not decommissioned the Special Education Program. Can you explain what that means? MS KAUPPILA: So, what that means is
that, on one school, you, when enrolling –
and if you were a student who has a verified need
through the EAP process. On OneSchool, there is the box
to tick for SEP. So, the box is ticked,
and this assists with funding as one of the avenues for funding. And we have a special ed program ticked
on OneSchool. And so, yes, so, these students then are
without – it’s not a physical building. The students are out through all classes. DR MELLIFONT: Alright, now, does that
mean, though, that all students are in the mainstream classroom
at all times for all purposes? MS KAUPPILA: No.
At times, yes. It depends on the individual’s needs. It depends on the individual that arrives
at our school on that morning. It depends on the student,
what has happened before, and are they ready for learning? So, we have intensive
focus teaching, sometimes, and our priority is to be in classes,
and be learning beside their similar-aged peers. So, at times, yes, but the majority
full-time, all-the-time learning beside their peers. DR MELLIFONT: OK, so, sometimes,
if I can summarize. Sometimes, the students
will come out of the classrooms in order to have their specific needs met. MS KAUPPILA: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: But that’s not just limited
to students with disabilities. It’s all students.
Is that correct? MS KAUPPILA: It’s all the students, yes. DR MELLIFONT: So, you have general
access – general areas that, perhaps, for chaplaincy, school community
engagement officer, use of support coordinators,
for example, which any member of the student cohort is able to access. Is that correct? MS KAUPPILA: Yes.
DR MELLIFONT: OK, thank you. And 100% of students graduated
from Ingham in 2017 and 2018 with either a QCA or a QCIA. MS KAUPPILA: Yes, so,
a Queensland Certificate of Education or a Queensland Certificate
of Individual Achievement. And that’s very much a Queensland part for the Certificate
of Individual Achievement. It’s about what the student can do,
and it’s a very formalized process in receiving this achievement. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: What would
such a certificate look like? What does it say? MS KAUPPILA: So, at the top,
it says the student’s name. It says that – it looks exactly
like another person’s QCE. It’s the same format. And, in under the five headings
of curriculum plans that was designed in year 11,
it states what this student can do and states – and is collected of evidence
for them to use. And then, it’ll talk about, at the bottom,
the statement of participation and what they’ve participated in
while they have been in the last two years of senior education. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: And can that
serve as a gateway to tertiary education? MS KAUPPILA: Not that one in particular. However, it could,
and it’s a rigorous event. So, I have students who’ve gone
the QCE pathway, and there’s the choice, QCE pathway, who’ve used then gone
into university and are in – do a bridging course
to go into university, yes. ATKINSON: How is the introduction
of external exams going to affect this reintroduction
after decades? MS KAUPPILA: So, Ingham High,
we’re at the front food, as you would imagine. So, it’s called the Access Arrangement
and Reasonable Adjustments. And it’s called AARA, and it’s from QCAA. And we’re following,
and we have a process. And we’ve been working rolling it out. We like to start early. So, in year ten, set plan meetings. We’ve spoken to parents
about what this will look like in their getting ready
for formal assignment of assessment and what’s available for them. So, we’re in that – we’re right
in the process, right now. Did I answer that? Would you like further information? ATKINSON: No, I guess I presume
it might provide some added difficulties. MS KAUPPILA: Yes, so, there’s also
statements on it that QCAA have talked about
for rest breaks where, in the room located, if needing to –
looking at the room, being at Ingham High. What does the sounds look like?
What is it looking like? And so, we’re looking
at the reasonable adjustments for that. ATKINSON: I apologize, Ms. McMillan,
for bringing up something different. But it just occurred to me
when you were saying that that that might provide
an extra problem, difficulty, hurdle. MS KAUPPILA: We’re in that space right now. Yes, we’re working with you, with people. And we’re at different various levels
of the department in this area. ATKINSON: Thank you. DR MELLIFONT: Yes, Ms. McMillan is just
informing me that she’s able to, in time,
provide some formal evidence with respect to the question
your Honor has just – commissioner has just asked. OK, Ms. Kauppila, just one final thing. Paragraph 15A of your statement
refers to all students at Ingham State High School attending
school on a full-time basis. Does that mean they’re at the school
at all times? MS KAUPPILA: No, so, what happens
on a Wednesday morning, some students are out at work placement. They’re doing traineeships,
or there are students who have negotiated that,
on their timetable, that, on a Thursday and Friday,
that they are much better at focusing, better – less distractions
early in the week and in the – and then, towards the end
of the week, that they would not be able to focus – are easily distracted. So, with the parents,
and through negotiation, we’ve looked at offsite campus
where we’re looking at Cert II in Horticulture or following
their own interests in personal – looking at wildlife carers courses. So, we’ve looked at that, as well. DR MELLIFONT: Ms. Morris, you’re nodding.
You’re nodding. You do that sort of thing, as well,
at your school, do you? MS MORRIS: No.
DR MELLIFONT: No? MS MORRIS: Not at the moment. Not at the moment, but we have
before done greener farming project and things like that
in partnership with community. DR MELLIFONT: OK, and so,
in your regional roles, respectively, that kind of alternate means
of education is something that’s used from time to time? MS MORRIS: It’s not really
an alternative means of education. It’s more of a – DR MELLIFONT: I’m sorry,
badly expressed, but – MS MORRIS: Yes, it’s more of a qualification. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. MS SWANCUTT: Yes, students engaged
in school-based traineeships and organized work placement
and that sort of thing is certainly something that features
in senior schooling. DR MELLIFONT: OK, Ms. Morris,
can you take us through your journey at Bowen, please? MS MORRIS: OK, so, the SEP classroom
or the classroom where students with disabilities attended
separate lessons than the rest of the students, or the other
Bowen State High School students, was decommissioned at the end
of the 2013 school year. So, from the beginning of 2014
school year at Bowen State High School, all students with disability were included
and continue to be educated in mainstream classrooms. This is supported through co-teaching,
adjustments, monitoring of student learning,
and support staff. The school has a whole-school approach
to support student learning, including students with disability,
which provides a continuum of support with focused teaching
and intervention at each layer. Co-teaching is prioritized
to provide support for students with their learning needs. Co-teachers teach in one classroom
equally sharing the teaching and learning needs of all students
through co-planning, co-teaching, co-assessing, and co-reflecting. Co-teachers provide personalized
learning programs for students in collaboration with HOSES,
case managers, and parents. Within a mainstream classroom,
all students access curriculum at their level on the same basis
as their peers. This means that some students
require an individual curriculum plan where they work at a different year-level
than their peers in the mainstream classroom. The leadership team – so, Bowen State
High School stopped using an SEP classroom at the end
of 2013 school year. After key members
of the leadership team attended the Queensland government
More Support for Students with Disabilities Initiative,
Quality Schools, Inclusive Leaders One, a leadership professional development
program written and facilitated
by Professor Loretta Giorcelli. The leadership decision was
to align the SEP with the research and policies presented in this leadership
professional development program on whole-school, inclusive practices. The leadership team actively attended
the Queensland government, Quality Schools, Inclusive Leaders,
More Support for Students with Disability program, which
developed the school leaders’ knowledge and understanding
of inclusive schooling practices. This developed the capacity
for leaders to understand where Bowen State High School was
as an inclusive school by using a schooling rubric similar
to the Signpost that showed where you were
and where you needed to go and what those next steps would be. And then, we set up an action project
to move our school from where it was
to a more inclusive school. The action plan received consultation
with parents, caregivers of students with disabilities,
and the Bowen State High School leadership team and whole staff. It included the planning for co-teaching
and professional development with staff to co-teach. Teachers had been sourced internally
in Semester Two, 2013, for the role of co-teacher in 2014. I was involved in the planning process
through collaboration with the HOSES, whose position I shared
as 0.2. My involvement was
to collaboratively identify the school’s inclusive practices
using the rubric and to collaboratively develop
an action plan to propose our next steps in 2014. I was aware that the inclusive
education model was to be implemented the following year. I was aware of the co-teaching model
presented and had read the research that supported this as an inclusive
practice to support inclusion. The Teacher Educational
Adjustment program allocation for the SEP was planned
to be used as co-teaching. So, that allocation for teachers
is what we use for co-teaching because that allocation is supported through the students’ individual profiles. And that’s how we get the money. So, we use that to support
their adjustments through co-teaching. In 2015, I was then the substantive HOSES. I attended along
with the current principal stage two of the QSIL leadership professional
development program. This delivered a training program
to principals, school-based inclusivity mentors,
which is the HOSES, and classroom teachers responsive
to specific needs identified by schools who’d commenced
their journey. The focus for Bowen State High School was
to enhance differentiation in inclusive practice in the school
through co-teaching and to develop an online
co-teaching training course for teachers. The principal supported
the development of the training package by providing uninterrupted
collaborative planning and research time. She also provided ongoing feedback
to the mentor and coach at key junctures
of the developmental phase. This trainee package is used today
to develop the capability of teachers to co-teach
in inclusive classrooms. There was some resistance
from teacher aides that had worked in the SEP
for their entire career. Their concerns were
about being separated as a group into different faculties. The concerns were addressed
through mentoring, supportive conversations,
and a willingness to give it a go. Regular meetings and support were crucial. And the outcomes were positive
with teacher aides enjoying being a part of the faculty –
curriculum faculties today. They use there as a point of reference
to students to support other teachers in their planning
about individual knowledge on the students that they work with. And it’s very, very supportive. And teachers really enjoy having
that support. That’s about it, really. DR MELLIFONT: OK, I wanted
to ask you a couple of questions before we moved to Ms. Swancutt. The SEP classroom was decommissioned,
as you said. What’s happened
with that physical structure? It is used for something else, now? MS MORRIS: Yeah, it’s Bibrigu Yunga. It is a learning place. Yeah, so, it is also still used for –
because it has disability facilities there for toileting that it’s still used there
for that, as well. DR MELLIFONT: OK. Each of your statements have this
paragraph substituting your own school name. But I’m not aware of any schools
in Queensland or elsewhere where Bowen State High School is used
as a model school in the decommissioning of its SEP
classroom and the implementation of its inclusive education model. And I take it from each of you
that you weren’t using another school as a model for yours. OK, so, for the record, everybody’s
agreeing with that proposition. So, I think this comes back
to what we were discussing before. It’s really about you in each
of your roles together with the leadership team
of the school sitting down and working out how you were going
to do it as opposed to having corporate knowledge box
of information as to how things have been done
and were working in other places. Is that correct? MS SWANCUTT: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: Do each of you see
some potential benefit in increased information sharing with respect
to implementation of the inclusiveness policy
within Queensland? MS SWANCUTT: Absolutely, yes.
Absolutely. DR MELLIFONT: Yes.
MS KAUPPILA: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: OK. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Is the effect
of your evidence that each of you, in effect, developed your own programs
independently of anybody else? MS SWANCUTT: Yes, so, in my
personal circumstance, I engaged with a lot of research,
mostly from the United States and Canada, around what
inclusive schooling is and looks like and how it can be achieved
’cause this was also predating the UN Convention
and General Comment Number Four. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Yeah. MS SWANCUTT: So, ours was born out
of a place of a lot of academic research rigor
that was conducted on my behalf to ensure that we were heading
in the right direction. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Each of you
independently, as well? MS MORRIS: Our school’s was
through the training that we did get through more supports for students
with disabilities. But it was also the research
that would link to that program, as well, which was extensive, and reading
and understanding how that worked. It was a very extensive program. And we still refer to the manual
and books today to guide us in that direction. MS KAUPPILA: So, at Ingham High,
we engaged a critical friend when we started, and the critical friend
was Dr. Loretta Giorcelli. And so, Dr. Giorcelli came
and spoke with the staff and started us on our inclusive practices journey. And we then went into the QSIL Two –
QSIL One and QSIL Two. So, yes, and through leadership,
having strong leadership, and the vision for inclusive practices. DR MELLIFONT: So, you’re speaking there
about Professor Loretta Giorcelli. Is that corect?
MS KAUPPILA: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: Did I cut you off, Ms.
Morris? MS MORRIS: No. DR MELLIFONT: Can I ask you one more
question before we move to Ms. Swancutt? And it’s in Paragraph 44
of your statement. The part I want to look at is page ten. Now… This is where you’re setting
out your beliefs about how well Bowen’s doing. Can you help me with this language? “Staff use disaggregated student data.” This is Paragraph C. “Staff use disaggregated student data
including achievement ladders, attendance, effort, and behavior
to monitor and plan for all students linked
with Subparagraph F. The school’s achievement
and engagement data is used to collaborate around allocation
of resources to support students with a disability. Teachers interrogate and utilize
student data to inform their teaching practice
and plan for plus one for every student.” What’s that all mean? MS MORRIS: OK, so, it’s the assessment
data. It’s the A to E data.
It’s their attendance data. It’s behavioral data is all used together
to collaborate allocation of resources. So, when we are talking
about behavior and how we deal with the behavior and the complexity
of some students, it’s that data that informs our supports and how we support those students
with complex behaviors or learning needs. We look at their A to E data, and it’s –
someone’s not – is getting a D. So, what do we do about that? We need to provide supports. We need to provide focused
and intensive learning. We need to provide adjustments. We may need some extra reading. They may need to go to a numeracy program. It’s that way of using the data
to inform support for students with diverse learnings. DR MELLIFONT: So, you’re looking
at all the information you’ve got for the student and working out
what needs help? MS MORRIS: What they need.
DR MELLIFONT: Is that right? MS MORRIS: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: OK, Ms. Swancutt,
can you take us through the Thuringowa journey, please? MS SWANCUTT: Sure. So, I was appointed to Thuringowa
State High School as the head of special education services
at the start of Semester Two, 2014. Up until that point,
and for the rest of 2014, the school was operating
a traditional approach to the education of students
with a verified disability. And that was that they were accessing
segregated classes with only other students with disability
and were taught by teachers who were employed
as special education teachers and supported by special education
teacher aides. Students did move out
into the regular school to access elective subjects but, again
remained as a group of students wtih disability
when they did those classes. So, when I arrived at the school
in the middle of 2014, the principal and some
of the school leadership team had engaged in the first semester
with that QSIL program that you’ve heard my other colleagues
speak about today. And the principal is also
relatively new to the school himself, so, was also in a process of looking
at and analyzing the performance data for the school
as a whole. And it was identified that,
in some circumstances, that that data was underperforming
and that we needed to do something about the outcomes of students
at a whole-school level. But, also, that gave me the opportunity
to review the data of the students who were accessing
the special education classrooms and to seek their voices
about their educational experience at the school. And that also indicated
that they were underperforming in the data, as well. So, ultimately, that – DR MELLIFONT: Sorry, Ms. Swancutt,
I’m going to ask you to slow down just a smidge. It’s usually me that’s going too fast. MS SWANCUTT: So, that sort of was
the precedence for us, then, at a leadership level to sort of look
inward to our moral imperative and to the quality of education
that we were providing not only for our students with disability
but for our entire school and come to the viewpoint that we needed
to improve that and to look for ways that we could make that happen. So, for me, I’ve been in pursuit
of inclusive education for my entire career for all students
that I have taught and, in my previous school locations,
have acted in leadership roles where I was certainly engaged
in doing – attempting to do that at a whole-school level in those schools. So, coming with that background
and having a principal that was saying,
“Yes, we wanna do that work,” ultimately meant I latched on
and said, “Yes, yes, we’re doing this. We’re going ahead with that.” So, for Semester Two, 2014,
as I alluded to previously, it was very well thought out,
very systematic process for us. That’s generally my leadership style. I like to ensure that what we’re doing
is evidence-formed, is rigorous, and has every opportunity
to be scalable and sustainable across the school. So, we spent six months working
with a professional learning community, gathering the voice of students,
the voice of teachers, surveying people to understand
unconscious bias, their opinions about the education of students
with disability to really get a solid picture
about the current situation in our school at that point in time. And then, also, to use that research
to project and to imagine more beyond
what we wanted and shift away from segregated classes. So, that evolved into the development
of a school-based policy because, at that time, we did not have
the department policy and an action plan to help guide us. And then, in term four is when we worked
really heavily on forming a culture in our school
that was inclusive to prepare us ready for the transition
of the students at the beginning of 2015
out of those classes and into regular mainstream classes. So, by the end of Semester Two –
Semester One, 2015, all segregated classes at Thuringowa State
High School had ceased, and all students with disability
were now in regular classes across our school. All of our classes in our school
naturally have natural proportions and, therefore, represent the entire
diversity of our school in every class. So, on paper, every class looks the same
in terms of diversity and demographic differences. To support us in that process,
it involved us innovating and iterating practice in relation
to the use of our staffing, the way that we planned curriculum,
the sorts of strategies that we were using
at those universal levels, the intervention strategies, and,
ultimately, offering multi-tiered systems
of support within our classrooms to ensure that we would adequately respond
to the diversity in our classrooms and make sure,
as Catherine mentioned, that we were constantly monitoring data
in order to ensure that we were providing the supports
responsively that students needed and not waiting for students to fail
or to retrofit those things after the fact. And that sort of work has continued
to grow and strengthen in scale across the school. As with Bowen State High School,
we utilize what was our existing, or still is, our special education
resourcing to the school to provide co-teaching across 15
of our classes in our school this year. We pool our teacher aide resources
that come from various allocations and disseminate them based on functional
impacts at a whole-class level. We assign teacher aides to a whole class
and to a teacher. And they are there to support the learning
of all students in the classroom, as is the teacher
is there as the responsible person in relation to the delivery of learning
for all students, as well. So, yes, yes, you can tell
it’s lots and lots of things, lots and lots of processes
that have continued to develop and gain traction. Also, with the point
that it’s never perfect. We’re talking about over 700 students
and 70 staff in our school. And so, it’s always something
we’re always looking to improve. There is always work to be done,
and there’s always things that we can do better and increase
the fidelity and frequency of. So, it’s a constant journey,
and I think if you think that you’re there, that you’ve hit
the destination, then, perhaps, you’re probably
not actually doing inclusive education correctly. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you for that.
Before lunch, we’re going to…
Oh, I’m sorry. COMMISSIONER GALBALLY: I just wanted to
ask you about the assigning of teacher’s aides to the teachers.
MS SWANCUTT: Correct. COMMISSIONER GALBALLY: Did that
cause any angst in the parent group? MS SWANCUTT: No.
So as I mentioned spending time, you know,
in the culture and informing parents that just came down to actually
having implicit instructions about what that actually meant.
So when you just say, you know, we’re going to assign
a teacher aide to a teacher, a lot of us then walk away
and make assumption about what that looks like.
But having the opportunity to actually explain
how that would operate and how that support would still occur
for their children is when they become comfortable
with understanding that. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you.
So we’re going to start, before lunch, speaking about
some of the challenges and we will continue
that after lunch. We won’t keep you after lunch
for too long, but I will need you to come back then. Can I start with you,
please, Ms Swancutt? I’m at paragraph 40 to 43
of your statement, and ask you to explain what you’ve said in paragraph 40,
which is: The Thuringowa would benefit
from the allocation of time in the form of
additional teacher allocation which would have a positive impact
on the collective capacity for quality teaching
and learning for all students. MS SWANCUTT: What paragraph number,
sorry? DR MELLIFONT: 40.
MS SWANCUTT: 40? DR MELLIFONT: Four-zero. MS SWANCUTT: Yes, OK.
It’s OK. DR MELLIFONT: But I just want you to,
in your own words, as you’re happy to use them,
explain to the Commission, this challenge,
that is, around teacher resourcing. MS SWANCUTT: So in the high school
context, teachers teach a range of classes. So a high school teacher can teach
in excess of 150 students in a week
because they can be teaching, you know,
five to six classes of students. So… And often, across different
curriculum areas as well, particularly in a smaller high school
like ourselves, our sizing means
that teachers deliver in a range of
curriculum faculties. So in order, you know,
it is very much of my belief that every teacher
does have the capacity to do this work
and to teach diverse classrooms well. But in order to do that,
you know, we need to build their capability
and give them the time in order to ensure that they plan well
to do that, and that they are able
to seek coaching and guidance in the delivery of it
because it’s not necessarily something that you just wake up
knowing how to do, particularly, as we’re very aware
that students with disability in regular classrooms
might be something new for a lot of people
and teachers themselves may have gone through schooling without students
in their classrooms with them. So, for me, you know,
about resourcing is not necessarily about the actual resource itself,
but the time that it can bring to allow us to operate in that manner.
So, you know, for example, two extra teachers in our school
would allow 32 teachers in our school to have
an extra 70 minutes a week of non-contact planning time
which would then give them the time to come and co-plan
with someone like myself, for me to go and
co-instruct with them in the classroom, to engage
in instructional coaching cycles to help model practice
of how to deliver to the diversity in their classroom, you know,
to ask questions, to problem solve. Because, at the moment,
non-contact time is three 70-minute lessons
for our teachers and again, they are teaching
five to six classes, 150 students. So we need to sort of find the balance
at some point where we’re going, you know, to value them
as teachers and as professionals and as people with the value
that we have of inclusive education and marrying the two
and understanding that the two both need time in order for people
to do this, work well. DR MELLIFONT: Can I ask you about that
a little bit more? And I will ask, each of you
for your comments on this topic before we move to the next.
So we’ve heard, for example, of parents having meetings
with the teachers at the school, and they might have
an advocate with them. There might even be
an allied health practitioner there, like an OT.
And that’s obviously all to help to plan
for that particular student. So to get the teachers into that meeting,
what does a school have to do in terms of making sure that
classes are covered? Are you…
Do you have additional backfill capacity or are these people,
kind of, massaging and generosity
of individual teachers? MS SWANCUTT: High school timetabling
is an art and certainly not something that I’m yet to have to
delve too deeply into, but I do know that we carry
extra teachers in our timetable in order to ensure
that we do have flexibility in our timetable
to carry our own staff that are, you know, available to use
to cover classes for those sorts of things.
But that’s also impacted, you know, by staffing, teacher shortages,
that sort of stuff, but then it’s also the capacity
to hire in relief staff as well if needed. But, ultimately, for those
sorts of circumstances, the first point of call
is with people like myself in the school would go and meet with those teams
and collect that information, and then I would go
and disseminate to our staff at times that are appropriate.
But if it is something that we want all teachers to be at,
at the very initial meeting, then we certainly make that happen
in terms of having them released off class to come and do that.
Or we’re very lucky that our teachers are, you know, most often,
more than willing to stay after school or come early before school
to engage in those sorts of things. DR MELLIFONT: And so, in that respect,
to some extent, you’re relying upon
the generosity of the teachers. MS SWANCUTT: Yes.
DR MELLIFONT: And their personal time. MS SWANCUTT: Yes, but as a leader,
very cognisant not to overuse that reliance and, you know,
to value and be kind to our staff. DR MELLIFONT: Ms Morris,
do you have an observation in respect of this topic?
MORRIS: Do I have an opinion? DR MELLIFONT: Yes.
MORRIS: Yes. So extra allocation for co-teaching
is imperative to co-plan, coteach, co-assess and co-reflect.
This would allow teachers to be able to personalize
and attend to any learning misconceptions or lack of understanding
of students on a lesson-to-lesson basis. I think that is what’s really important
is the lesson-to-lesson basis of presenting or delivering a curriculum,
and then doing informative assessment and realising that there are students
that don’t understand and that you need to be able to go back
and reteach and have focus and intensive groups
and that happens… can happen
from a lesson-to-lesson basis. It’s not some planning that you could do
in the holidays and then…
then that’s going to work for you all term or on the weekend,
and it’s going to work for you all week. There’s that continuous needing to reflect
and assess and go back and teach and ensure
that every student succeeds. The whole school approach
to student learning which we talked about before
as a policy is the three-layered approach
to differentiation, and that’s with the focus
on intensive teaching. And that’s where it explicitly explains
the importance of formative assessment and then those processes after that. So the… It diagnoses students’ needs
and that is challenging for teachers in a high school setting
where, as Loren said, they see students for three times,
70 minutes a week. And may teach a maximum of
150 students overall, including diverse learners.
The reality is that a teacher is generally on a full load
ofF six subjects with three lessons, three lesson classes per subject,
including three spares for planning and correction.
This makes differentiation focus on intensive teaching
for all students on a lesson-to-lesson basis unattainable
even with a co-teacher. Building teaching capability
to teach students with disability requires co-teaching to build that.
This is more about co-teaching. But lack of time
on a lesson-to-lesson basis and lack of capability
has been recognized by teachers throughout ongoing consultation
including surveys as a concern
to their overall well-being. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you.
Ms Kauppila. MS KAUPPILA: Ingham State High School,
we have over staffed because it’s very difficult
to find relief staff. So at the beginning of the
year, we over staff. However, the staffing model for schools
continue to lag behind the inclusive education model.
For example, 12 students who are eligible
for SEP allocation across various year levels,
classes and subjects, and they’re engaging in the Australian
and senior curriculum with reasonable adjustments.
The model of allocation of staff does not reflect
this inclusive model of practice and the resources required
to deliver the curriculum in this manner. Updating the staffing model
to reflect the reality of 12 students in classes across the school
within 50 plus subjects, taught by over 20 teachers,
would significantly assist in improving inclusive education.
Updating the staffing model would assist by providing
extra teaching staff. The extra teaching staff
would assist with building the capability and capacity of staff
in catering for students, in co-teaching and supporting the students
with diverse learning needs. Additional included in this model
would be an extra staff member who could assist with replacing
the classroom teacher when meeting with parents
and other stakeholders. This would allow time
for support of teachers with evidencebased interventions
and extra time requirements for meetings and development of resources
for students who have disabilities. This would be additional,
to the noncontact time already provided
under the teacher’s award. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Since we’re
into quasi-industrial matters, (LAUGHTER) I don’t want to ask you
about your union membership, but I do want to ask,
do you agree with the position of the Queensland Teachers’ Union
on inclusive education? MS SWANCUTT: Broadly, no. I do not.
MORRIS: In relation to… COMMISSIONER GALBALLY: Can you
elaborate just before we go on.
Can you elaborate? DR MELLIFONT: And (INAUDIBLE),
and I should just… we should just make clear that,
in your responses here, you are speaking as individuals rather
as opposed to representatives of the Department. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Yes,
I think we could take that for granted. MS McMILLAN: And, perhaps,
could we just clarify which position of the Teachers’ Union.
I think there were a number that were advanced.
COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Well, it’s… McMILLAN: Clearly,
there was one that excited a couple of the Commissioners. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Yes.
Well, it was… Did you happen to observe
Mr Bates’s evidence yesterday? MS SWANCUTT: I was here,
but recalling every detail… COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: I’m talking
about the policy statement Queensland Teachers’ Union.
Which deals with… With the special…
With special education and inclusive education. If you’re not familiar with it,
that’s fine. DR MELLIFONT: Perhaps we
can (CROSSTALK). MS SWANCUTT: Yes, position? DR MELLIFONT: I’ve seen the time.
It is 1 PM. We might be able to
revisit this afternoon. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Yes,
that’s fine if we want to take some time to think about that
or deal with it later, that’s fine. DR MELLIFONT: Is 2.15 okay,
Chair? MS SWANCUTT: 2.15?
COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: 2.15. Okay.
There’s nothing happening in Melbourne today,
so we can finish at 2.15. Yes, we’ll resume at 2.15.
Thank you. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Dr Mellifont.
DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. Ms Swancutt,
your statement at paragraphs 42 and 43 speaks about there being inquiry cycles
that are being actioned with the support of
the Acting Head of Inclusive Schooling. Can you tell me what that means? MS SWANCUTT: Yes, so as I’ve alluded to
in previous comments that the work of inclusive education
at ThuringowaState High School is always improvement focused.
We’re always monitoring the fidelity and the quality of the practice
that we’re delivering. So in relation to these
specific inquiry cycles in my statement, I’m referring to,
that we closely monitor the data of our students with disability in relation
to their academic achievement, their school attendance, that sort of thing.
And analyze that in relation to students without disability
and do a gap data analysis to ensure that we’re providing
an equitable service in our school. So once analyzing that data,
we then go into an inquiry cycle where we can prioritize some areas
that come out of that data as a need for us to act on and to improve,
which then works us toward an evidence-based action plan
or anyhow we plan to address the gaps in that data
which then goes into action review phases. So generally, you know,
semester or annually we’re doing check-ins around that data
and setting up our improvement focuses. DR MELLIFONT: Okay.
In paragraph 43, you say that the biggest barrier
and challenge to implementing inclusive education at
Thuringowa State High School that you identify is time.
More time is needed to invest in building capability
to deliver quality teaching, and, if you understand,
and learning through job-embedded gradual release of responsibility processes
which I don’t understand. (CROSSTALK) COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Ms Swancutt,
before you attempt to translate that into English would… Could you just
slow down a little, please? MS SWANCUTT: Yes, yes, yes. MS SWANCUTT: So we know through
research that some of the most effective ways to build capability of teaching staff
is to do it in the context of their actual classes
and in the context of the actual students they are teaching right now.
So we know that when teachers go away to professional learning
that’s delivered off-campus, that it has not as significant
an impact when they return to school into their practice.
And rarely scales from them to other practitioners
within the school. So the most effective way to address that
is to actually provide the professional learning
alongside them in the classroom with the… With the students
that they are teaching. So in relation to this
sort of an instructional coaching model process where a knowledgeable other
will work with a teacher in the school, identify a problem of practice
or an area that they wish to build their capability in,
that directly links to the students they are teaching and the outcomes
of those students in their classrooms. And then they will go through
a mentee and mentor relationship where over the course of
that instructional coaching cycle, the knowledgeable other
shifts from being the coach to gradually building across
to the teacher then picking up that professional capacity
and to then be able to independently implement it.
allowing the coach to then go and work with someone else and even that teacher
to act as a coach for somebody else. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you.
There’s also a part of that, if I can use my words,
is learning in an immersive way with somebody else more skilled
or more experienced? MS SWANCUTT: And practically
applying the practice then and there with the children that you’re hoping
to have the impact on. DR MELLIFONT: Yes.
Ms Morris, I see you are nodding. Unless you have any response
in that respect? MORRIS: We use those
processes in Bowen high school. We use those practices for
diverse learners. We also use them for teaching writing.
We use them for our pedagogial framework,
as well, that same immersion or instructional coaching cycle. DR MELLIFONT: I think I misheard you.
Which framework? MORRIS: Pedagogical framework. DR MELLIFONT: (LAUGHS) I know
it wasn’t P-E-T. Ms Kauppila, any observations in
respect of the comments just made? MS KAUPPILA: We do
very much the same. And we’re very much into
inquiry learning cycles as well and working within
professional development and having the opportunity
for teachers to build their own capability
through the inquiry learning cycles, yes. DR MELLIFONT: Okay. Ms Swancutt, are you going
to work through the barriers and challenges you’ve used identified
for the Commission and ask for other comments
as we go through? But then I will come back to you,
Ms Morris or Ms Kauppila, on anything that we haven’t already covered off
that should be in your statement. Ms Swancutt, you have identified some
current policies and practices that hinder the provision of inclusive
education at Thuringowa. And let’s go through them. The first is some difficulties
in accessing some specialist staff in a timely manner.
And restrictions on accessing some of these services
for students with a disability who are not on an EAP.
First of all, what’s an EAP? MS SWANCUTT: Educational
Adjustment Program. So a verified disability.
One of the six low incident categories. DR MELLIFONT: Okay.
I think we’ve already discussed some points throughout this week
that a student might have needs but not sufficient
to meet the EAP criteria? MS SWANCUTT: Correct, or that
their diagnosis doesn’t even align to any of those six categories.
DR MELLIFONT: Okay. Can you explain… just expand upon
how this is a particular challenge, the parts… Part A of your
statement there? MS SWANCUTT: Sure.
So the specialist staff such as occupational therapist,
speech-language pathologists, physiotherapists, aren’t located
or based in all regular schools. So, therefore, if we require the services
of one of those members of staff we need to put in
an application to access those services. So there is a bit of a delay,
obviously, in that process, of putting in that request.
And also many of those services are only available
to come and support us with students who are verified and not with students
who are not verified. DR MELLIFONT: Okay.
Any observations on this issue, Ms Morris? MORRIS: No,
I agree with Loren. DR MELLIFONT: Okay.
Ms Kauppila? MS KAUPPILA: At Ingham High
we’re talking about the EAP process, a student who has significant ADD
or dyslexia or reactive attachment disorder
or mental health eg anxiety, depression.
They’re not recognised in the EAP process
as Loren just said. However, at Ingham State High School
these students are catered for and their needs are met
because we’re an inclusive education school.
However, these students’ needs are not recognised through the EAP process
which is one of the determinants of resource and staffing.
And therefore, we are using the NCCD data. We have the data, we have the NCC tool.
It exists. And if we implement this,
the data will reflect the needs of the school
and used to provide additional support personnel, for example,
for full-time guidance officers or additional guidance officers
and the additional resources required to support these young people
with mental health issues. DR MELLIFONT: How
do you use the data? I’m just trying to understand
how it plays out practically? MS KAUPPILA: So what happens is
through the State process of the EAP with the six low incidences,
Loren just said. we use that for verification
and we then have staff and resources on those students.
So through the NCCD process, the more students are recognized
through Disability Discrimination Act, and we record those.
So at my level, I don’t know what’s happening with the data
with the NCCD and for resources, but I know what’s happening with the EAP.
DR MELLIFONT: All right, OK. Ms Swancutt, can I move the next issue
you raise as a challenge, which is some specialized human
and physical resources are located at the State special schools
which contributes to restrictions around access and availability
to mainstream schools. What does that mean?
MS SWANCUTT: That goes hand in hand with my previous comment
where I mention that they’re not located
in regular schools. So here in Townsville, the occupational
therapists and physios and nurses are based in our special school
here in Townsville. DR MELLIFONT: OK.
Any observations on that, Ms Morris? MORRIS: No.
DR MELLIFONT: OK. The next issue you raised
is that the data collected for specialized health support
taking place in the month of November prior to the school year
in which the resources to be allocated, and you have many students at your school
that don’t enroll until the first eight days
of the school year. MS SWANCUTT: Correct.
DR MELLIFONT: So that has significant funding implications for you?
MS SWANCUTT: Yes. So, right now we’re submitting data
around specialized health support needs for students for 2020.
But as I said, many of our students have…
are yet to enroll. so I don’t know if or what
or who has specialised health needs to be able to submit
accurate data on that now. Which means when they do enroll
in the first eight days of school, some of that allocation
has already been decided without them being included in that,
which then results in us having to approach the region
for additional funding for those students instead of having them included
from the beginning in that allocation. DR MELLIFONT: So does that create
a time lag between… MS SWANCUTT: Yes.
DR MELLIFONT: Request and… MS SWANCUTT: And a reduced amount
of what they probably would have got if they were counted
in the November take of the data. DR MELLIFONT: And are you able
to give a sense of the time lag? MS SWANCUTT: Oh, no.
I think there would be a set date that it has to be, you know,
in by after that day eight period. DR MELLIFONT: OK.
Ms Morris, do you have the same experience in Bowen?
MORRIS: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: OK.
And in Ingham? MS KAUPPILA: No, because we’re
a smaller area and we’re working
with the parents beforehand. DR MELLIFONT: OK, all right.
MS KAUPPILA: (CROSSTALK) sorry. MS KAUPPILA: If we have a new student
to the district we will have that happen.
DR MELLIFONT: OK, thank you. Now, I’ve already touched
on the EAP verification requirements. We don’t want to double up on that
but can I just ask this, Ms Swancutt. You’ve identified that the requirements
can create issues, that is. you might have parents
experiencing socioeconomic barriers such as transport, phone access,
medical costs and time when trying to obtain a diagnosis.
That’s an issue obviously for your school…
MS SWANCUTT: For my demographic, yes. DR MELLIFONT: Yes, and is it…
Are you able to say whether or not it’s more problematic
or higher needs in any particular part
of your demographic? MS SWANCUTT: Not in relation
to those cost aspects but as we spoke with
the Commissioner before about how disability is identified
in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
as well and how they identify
and associate with disability, also then has an impact
because when I come and talk to a parent from a cultural background
about needing to verify their student with a disability,
that ultimately doesn’t, you know, mean anything to them,
doesn’t interpret well to them and there’s no real understanding
from a cultural perspective about that. So often they then choose
not to pursue that, which is fine, of course,
and also situations even with parents who do understand
the process but choose not to have
their child labelled or don’t have the means
to go to a specialist medical staff to get specific diagnoses,
and that sort of thing as well. The problem with that for us, though,
in the current funding model is that 75% of our additional allocation
for students with disability is based off the number of students
we have with a verification. DR MELLIFONT: Yes.
MS SWANCUTT: But that’s not necessarily reflective of the number of students
in our school who could meet verification.
But for those sorts of reasons, I’ve just discussed
do not have a verification. DR MELLIFONT: Right.
So to get your verification you have to have a constellation
of a number of things? MS SWANCUTT: Yes.
DR MELLIFONT: Including parent will? DR MELLIFONT: Capacity, ability, access?
MS SWANCUTT: Yes. Medical confirmation
for some of the categories, or further testing around speech,
language and intellectual functioning, that sort of stuff.
So, all of that can stuff can be quite foreign,
as you can imagine, to families and even more so
to particular demographics of people. DR MELLIFONT: OK, In addition to that
regional challenge with having enough specialists
to do diagnoses. Is that correct?
MS SWANCUTT: I’m not certain in terms of the health department.
I do know that sometimes for our students with autism
who go on the waiting list receive public access to pediatricians
and psychologists that it can be at least six weeks,
but, again, that’s the health department not the education department.
DR MELLIFONT: Yes, of course. And of course it has to fit
the particular categories that are currently covered by EAP?
MS SWANCUTT: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: The other thing
I just wanted to ask about this is you note one of the requirements
is that the data gathering process is centred on a medical model
deficit approach. So why is that problematic?
MS SWANCUTT: Yes. So, first of all, there has to be
indication that there is a disability and one of those categories,
which depending, as I said, on the category, could be from
a paediatrician or through school-based cognitive
functioning tests and that sort of thing. The second aspect of it is, then,
the school has to be able to demonstrate a significant impact
that that disability has in the school environment,
and that requires us to talk about the impacts that the student
has across curriculum, communication, social and emotional needs.
There are a variety of categories and ultimately, the whole point
of the document is for us to sell, you know, how much deficit
the child has how much… how many barriers they experience,
how many impacts they have. There is very little scope in there
to actually talk about the strengths and the visioning and the motivators
of the student, and it’s always framed
in that medical model. What do we need to overcome?
What do we need to fix mind frame? DR MELLIFONT: As opposed
to a positive framing? MS SWANCUTT: Yeah, yeah.
DR MELLIFONT: Okay. Ms Morris, Ms Kauppila,
anything in addition, or… MORRIS: No.
MS KAUPPILA: No. DR MELLIFONT: Any
dissent on any of that? No. Alright. Can we move, then,
to the NCCD processes. Ms Swancutt, you note some challenges
include the expectation of high school teachers
to frequently maintain records of provided adjustments for all students
captured in the NCCD and the expectation of high schools
to collate records. Can you just explain…
MS SWANCUTT: Yes. DR MELLIFONT: …the challenge? MS SWANCUTT: So with the Nationally
Consistent Collection of Data, we need to identify students
who we’re providing adjustments for in relation to disability.
But not only identify it, but then also maintain records of us
actually implementing and delivering those adjustments.
So, as I’ve spoken about previously, high school teachers can be teaching
in excess of 150 students. So being able to identify, plan for,
record those adjustments, as you can imagine,
can be quite time-consuming. So, again, it’s not that it’s beyond
their capacity or beyond their will to want to do it,
but it’s back to that time factor. The other aspect then for the NCCD
is we have to make a decision about the category of disability
and also about the level of adjustments being provided.
So in a high school situation, the student can see
seven different teachers and each of those seven teachers
could provide a different level of adjustment to that child
based on their individual subject area. In PE, someone with a physical disability
might require more adjustment than what they need
sitting in an English class, for example. And so we have to take that information
and that data from seven teachers and you can only submit
one category and one level of adjustment for the child overall.
So, ultimately, we have to average out the level of adjustment,
even though it might be higher in some subjects
and lower in another, for example. And, so then, there’s time in that,
obviously, to go and have conversations with those seven teachers, collect that
information, that data, sit with them to all come up
with a consensus of what category and which level we’re actually going to
record that student under to capture the best picture
of that student as a whole. DR MELLIFONT: Okay.
Ms Morris or Ms Kauppila, anything in addition
or any point of disagreement? MORRIS: Yes, I agree with Loren
about the time that it takes. The teachers that it involves,
the amount of staff and, probably, that
more administration time’s needed to upload the data and the evidence…
MS SWANCUTT: Store the evidence, yes. DR MELLIFONT: OK. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Dr Mellifont,
are we… How are we going for time, bearing in mind
we have some other witnesses? DR MELLIFONT: We do.
We’ll be another 15 minutes. And, Ms Kauppila,
any dissent or agreed… MS KAUPPILA: We have a process
and we acknowledge that Thuringowa’s such a larger school
than us, but we too, go through the process
of what was recorded by Loren. DR MELLIFONT: OK. I just want a couple…
Touch on a couple more issues before I ask you the last question
which is your wish list, and that’s obviously not the things
you’ve already covered. And that is, Ms Morris… And thanks for leaning into the microphone then because we were having
a little difficulty picking up. Excuse me for a moment. Ms Morris, I think that the issues
we’ve covered in our discussions, Ms Swancutt covers off
your main barriers and challenges. Are we in agreement on that? MORRIS: Yes.
DR MELLIFONT: Yes, thank you. DR MELLIFONT: And, similarly, Ms Kauppila,
I believe that we’ve covered off most of the issues, but one of the things
that you identify is that your numbers
are actually decreasing in your area and that that creates its own challenges.
Can you just explain that for us, please? MS KAUPPILA: So Ingham State High School
is located in the Hinchinbrook Shire. The population is
ageing and decreasing. And, as a result, the school’s
enrolment numbers are decreasing. However, the needs of students
are remaining the same or they’re increasing.
The decrease in numbers of enrolment has implications for funding.
As a result, staff allocation, teacher aid hours
and guidance office hours decrease. The school applies for extra hours
and use extra grant money to pay for these services.
Inclusive practices is a priority at Ingham State High School
and the school does exceptionally well with the limited resources
it provides… it receives. However, additional resources,
both financial and human were included in the original allocation,
this would continue to support the students in their local schools.
DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. Do any of you wish to express a view
about the continued role of special education schools?
And it’s entirely voluntary. MS MORRIS: No.
Not at the moment, thank you. DR MELLIFONT: That’s fine, thank you.
Anybody. MS SWANCUTT: I don’t believe
they represent evidence-based practice for schools.
But I certainly believe they have their place
in the department at the moment, but I would like to see
a shift from that over time. DR MELLIFONT: All right.
Thank you. MS KAUPPILA: And I can’t make a comment. I don’t have a special school
and I haven’t been to a special school in nearly 20 years.
DR MELLIFONT: OK. We’ve heard some evidence this week
about how inclusive education can change positive pathways,
in terms of access into employment etc. Have you seen…
Yes, because you’ve now had some inclusive practices
within your own schools for a number of years…
A diminution of students been heading into negative pathways?
Are you able to speak to that? MS SWANCUTT: Yes.
I certainly think that we have a lot more students
going out to work and further study now, absolutely.
The success of our students continues to blow me away year in and year out
of what they are achieving. We have a student doing
a Bachelor of Science at university this year,
who was once taught in the unit with curriculum five years
below his grade level. He went on to win
the physics academic award for our subject in our school
and is now receiving high distinctions in that science degree at university.
I’ve got lots of stories like that that I could go on and on and on about,
but they certainly… And at our graduation ceremonies
at school, the students walk across the stage
and share with us what they plan to do beyond school.
And, now, every one of them, including the children with disabilities,
and you wouldn’t be able to pick which ones the children are
with disabilities, walk across that stage
and share a hope of, you know, future employment,
travel and future study. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you.
Ms Morris? MS MORRIS: We have the same
stories to share. We have a 100% of our students
receive a year 12 certificate. They experience work experience
that they had never experienced before. They are involved and study VET subjects
that give them traineeships. They are very active members
of the community. It’s very, very successful in…
In what… Yeah, in their involvement in our school.
Involved in the same processes and the same successes as other students. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you.
Ms Kauppila? MS KAUPPILA: Would you like to
just ask the question again? DR MELLIFONT: It was about whether
you’ve seen, even anecdotally, influences on whether students
who’ve now had this inclusive experience been able to take more positive pathways
and I suppose, importantly, diverting away
from potential negative pathways. MS KAUPPILA: Living in a small town,
you meet past students and their families,
and they give us updates of what’s happening.
We hear the positives of what’s happening, going to university,
working, being active citizens. So, yes, we do.
We do see it, yes, positives. ATKINSON: Could I…
Dr Mellifont, sorry. COMMISSIONER GALBALLY: I just wanted to
just clarify. So these are people
with profound disability as well, and that there’s no…
Do they move to sheltered workshops? MS KAUPPILA: No.
MS SWANCUTT: Absolutely not. So the example of the student I gave
earlier of, you know, being in Year 10 science
accessing foundation curriculum with autism and intellectual disability,
now independently operates a bobcat for an earthworks company.
ATKINSON: So my particular interest, I think, given my background,
is also the negatives. Preventing the negatives.
So the evidence shows, or at least 20 years
of hearing the stories. For me has shown that
a bad experience of school can be related to then graduation
into the criminal justice system and a bad experience of life.
Do you have anything to say about the role of inclusive education
in preventing those negative pathways? MORRIS: I think the role
of inclusive education promotes a student’s social wellbeing.
I think that it… They become, very much,
a part of a community. They experience work
experience in the community. They make friendships,
long-term friendships with people in their community. They are involved in the emotional…
of the emotional. The economical success of their community,
and I think, all around that, that has a very positive effect
against that path. That negative pathway
that you’re talking about. ATKINSON: So you would say
they’re all protective factors for preventing…
MORRIS: Yes. ATKINSON: …criminal offending?
MS MORRIS: Yes. MS SWANCUTT: Yes.
ATKINSON: Thanks. DR MELLIFONT: Right, Ms Swancutt,
would you like to see moving into the future? MS SWANCUTT: So, as you’ve mentioned,
we’ve covered off a lot of the things that were o the list already
and that are included in our statement. Resourcing, as we know,
has come up many times, but, for me, as I said,
the resourcing aspect is more linked to that time aspect
around giving our teachers more time to do this work well,
as opposed to just, you know, more money
and more teachers generally. So I would like to see some more strict
accountability around how current resourcing is
utilized in schools. We know that schools…
Do have a lot of resourcing and we’re resourced well
and you’ve heard today that we’ve been able, in our three schools
to utilize existing resources structures to do this work well already.
So I think it’s just more around accountability
of the resources that we have and not necessarily
a whole lot of new resources that we need. I would also like to see
more rigorous moderation around the choice and appropriateness
of adjustments for individual students which links to what we spoke about
in relation to the NCCD. So, as staff, we’re picking the levels
of adjustment that the student receives and that gets recorded, and that’s
ultimately linked to funding, but again, my interpretation of levels of
adjustment may differ from other people. So I would like to see some ambiguity
around that removed so that consistency in the NCCD is actually consistent
across schools and across states, even and that the decision of adjustments
is actually what that individual student needs and not just something that we’ve
decided that they need, particularly when it’s incentivized
through funding tiers as it is. There continues to be issues
with the roles and capacity of HOSES and special education teachers. We know that those role descriptions
have not been updated for some time and that they actually still dictate
that we manage special education units which as you’ve heard from us,
is not what our role is in schools. So I would like to see that to be more
reflective of the work needed to advance inclusive education, and simply assuming
that special education practices automatically transfer to be able
to lead and implement high quality inclusive education
is short sighted. We need to invest in building
the inclusive capability of existing staff in those special education roles
because, as you’ve heard us speak about, it isn’t as easy as just one
or two practices in a classroom. It really is, you know, thinking
and doing things from a completely different culture
and a completely different mindset, so one just doesn’t equate to the other.
I also think we need to continue to objectively consider all practices
that occur in the system level, and as I’m sure you could imagine,
the Department of Education in Queensland is quite a system
with quite a lot of processes. Just as we have, at our own school levels,
to identify any unconscious bias and discrimination that might be hiding
in plain sight within some practices that we have in place in some policies
and processes in schools because some of these
can continue to perpetuate segregation and exclusion of students
without it really having that intent but as a byproduct of the structure
that they represent. And we need to be skilled and willing
to identify such practices in all of their micro
and macro forms. So as I’ve spoken about before,
segregation within a regular classroom can very much happen
and not just in those big obvious forms that we’re used
to using those terms for. So we need all people involved in
the Department to be skilled in seeing those practices clearly
and to speak honestly about them and to then act decisively
to address them in our schools. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you, Ms Swancutt.
Ms Morris. MORRIS: I would like to see a
needs-based resourcing that increases the allocation of teachers
and specialized personnel. Occupational therapists,
speech therapists and health specialists, to support all students
and teachers in mainstream classrooms. I would like to see a resourcing model
where schools whose students require
a greater level of adjustment and educational support
to achieve learning outcomes on the same basis as their peers
receive a greater level of resourcing. I would like this resourcing model to
be national so that verifications are accepted from state to state. Having to get another diagnosis when
moving to a new state is very stressful for parents
and also schools. Can I end on a personal story?
DR MELLIFONT: Certainly. MORRIS: From this week.
Our school received a call from a parent from interstate
who needs to move to where we live. They explained their child’s disability
in detail, which is very complex. The staff member explained that we’re
an inclusive school and all students learn together
in mainstream classrooms. She explained to the parent
that we co-teach, and that’s how the adjustments
will work in the classroom. We will provide the adjustments
through either co-teaching or a teacher aide.
The parent then asked if we would allow her child
to come to our school. The parent explained that they had
been told their child could not go to certain schools in the state
they came from and was unaware
if this was so at our school. The person taking the call felt
a deep sadness for this parent. They replied that we’re
an inclusive state school. We accept all students regardless
of their ability. Because it is their human right,
it is morally right, and because it is the law.
The staff member explained that whatever your child needs
our school will provide for them. That is what inclusive
schooling does. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you, Ms Morris.
Ms Kauppila. MS KAUPPILA: I would like to see
several things to come from the Royal Commission including
but not limited to the following, continue implementing
the Department of Education inclusion education policies
with the review in 2021. Currently, schools are at various stages
of their inclusive education journey and as a result, they should
review or audit their current inclusive practices, in alignment with Inclusive
Education Policy, using existing tools, for example,
for Signposts for School Improvement. An audit or review will
determine where they are in their journey and where to next. Secondly, provide assistance to schools
how to become more inclusive with real examples of best practices,
state, nationally and worldwide. Continuing to build the capability and
confidence of the workforce to cater for the diverse learning
needs of all students. Thirdly, recognizing school cultures
that embed inclusive practices and partner with parents,
family and carers. A partnership with parents, family,
carers with a student centred focus on the individual
strengths and abilities. A process recognizing parent
are the experts of their young people. And schools proactively working
with families and young people
for successful outcomes. Additionally, giving young people a voice,
either verbal or electronic, for them to have
a say in their education. Giving the students the ability,
confidence and mental health and wellbeing to have a voice
and choice of the life at school. The feeling of being welcomed and
belonging to their local community and gaining quality learning
alongside their peers. Summing up, I hope the outcomes
from this Royal Commission find the continuation
of the implementation of the Department of Education inclusive
practices policy across all schools. Finding the best practice of schools,
catering for the diverse learning needs of their students and partnering with
parents, carers and families with the student focus on young persons’
strength and abilities. Additional allocation of resources,
human, financial and facilities to continue to build the confidence and
capability of a workforce to proactively cater for students with
diverse learning needs. An inclusive, safe,
welcoming school environment. And finally, student-centered education
with the student’s voice and choice to maximise their learning
outcomes in quality education. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. MS SWANCUTT: Am I able to share what
I would like to see from the Royal Commission broadly?
DR MELLIFONT: I am sorry. MS SWANCUTT: … that’s okay. I didn’t know if I was to continue
with that part of my statement or not? DR MELLIFONT: Please do now. I did say I would give you
the opportunity to do so. MS SWANCUTT: So from
the Royal Commission broadly, for students I would like to see
their rights forefronted and acknowledged in a national commitment
to inclusive education across all States and sectors.
I would like to see alignment of those rights in what we see,
say and do with strong monitoring
and accountability measures to ensure upholding those
rights is not left to choice or chance. But that instead inclusive education
is a genuine default level of educational experience in all of Australia’s schools
and one that is protected in legislation. For our schools, I would like
acknowledgement that visions and objectives only have modest capacity
to drive change and, therefore, we need structures that provide very clear
and contextual professional knowledge, skill and practice directly
across school thresholds and into classrooms with accompanying
evidence-informed action plans and key performance indicators.
We need to demonstrate exactly what this work looks like and
how it can be achieved. Finally, I ultimately want to light
a fire in all who are associated with education to dare
to imagine more. We can’t possibly be happy with what
we are currently doing because history has reminded us
time and again that the segregation
and othering of diverse groups of our own human kind
results in the most horrific outcomes which linger for many decades
and transcend generations. We have known better for
an awfully long time. We must act with
urgency and do better. DR MELLIFONT: Thank
you, Ms Swancutt. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Ms McMillan,
did you wish to ask any question? MS McMILLAN: No, thank you.
DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you very much for your time. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Thank you
very much for coming and giving evidence. And thank you for the thought
that has gone into your presentations. It’s a great pleasure and privilege
to hear from people who are so passionate and committed
to the profession to which you belong. Thank you very much. DR MELLIFONT: Our next three
witnesses are three principals. It might take a little bit of time
in terms of logistics. Might we have an early afternoon break
for 10 minutes and resume at 3.02? COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: How could we
possibly resist? COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Yes, Dr
Mellifont. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. I call Pamela Prichard,
Judith Fenoglio and Grant Allan Dale. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Thank you.
Thank you for your attendance. If you would just follow
the instructions of the associate about being sworn
or affirmed as you wish. ASSOCIATE: I solemnly and sincerely.
MR DALE: I solemnly and sincerely. ASSOCIATE: Declare and affirm
MR DALE: Declare and affirm ASSOCIATE: That the evidence I shall give.
MR DALE: That the evidence I shall give. ASSOCIATE: Will be the truth.
MR DALE: Will be the truth. ASSOCIATE: The whole truth.
MR DALE: The whole truth. ASSOCIATE: And nothing but the truth.
MR DALE: And nothing but the truth. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Thank you
very much. Please sit down. ASSOCIATE: I solemnly and sincerely.
MS PRICHARD: I solemnly and sincerely. ASSOCIATE: Declare and affirm
MS PRICHARD: Declare and affirm ASSOCIATE: That the evidence I shall give. MS PRICHARD: That the evidence I shall
give. ASSOCIATE: Will be the truth.
MR DALE: Will be the truth. ASSOCIATE: The whole truth.
MS PRICHARD: The whole truth. ASSOCIATE: And nothing but the truth.
MS PRICHARD: And nothing but the truth. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Thank you
very much. Please sit down. I swear by the Almighty God.
MS FENOGLIO: I swear by the Almighty God. ASSOCIATE: That the evidence I shall give. MS FENOGLIO: That the evidence I shall
give. ASSOCIATE: Will be the truth.
MS FENOGLIO: Will be the truth. ASSOCIATE: The whole truth.
MS FENOGLIO: The whole truth. ASSOCIATE: And nothing but the truth.
MS FENOGLIO: And nothing but the truth. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE:
Thank you very much. Yes, Dr Mellifont will now
ask you some questions. DR MELLIFONT: For consistency,
we have situated to Thuringowa, Bowen and Ingham. Your full name please, Mr Dale?
MR DALE: Grant Allan Dale. DR MELLIFONT: And are you the principal
of Thuringowa State High School? MR DALE: That is correct. DR MELLIFONT: Did you commence
in that position in an acting role January 2012
and then permanently appointed January 2013?
MR DALE: Yes, that’s right. DR MELLIFONT: We have your CV
and we thank you for that. I won’t go through all the details of it
but, in short terms, you’ve been in teaching for a significant
number of years now? MR DALE: Yes, that’s about 35 years.
DR MELLIFONT: OK. And that’s in acting principal
and principal role since 2008 to the current time,
Kirwan, Ayr, Thuringowa? MR DALE: That was a small
role at Kirwan State School. DR MELLIFONT: OK.
MR DALE: Probably, my journey as an acting principal began about 2010.
DR MELLIFONT: Okay. And that’s at Ayr?
MR DALE: Sorry? DR MELLIFONT: Is that at Ayr?
MR DALE: Yes, at Ayr State High School, and William Ross State High School
for about five terms before that. Six months at Ayr State High School,
acting for a year at Thuringowa State High School,
and then permanently appointed there in 2013.
DR MELLIFONT: Okay. And you’ve also
taught in London. That was in 1990?
MR DALE: Well, that was a traveling backpack holiday,
but there was a bit of teaching that happened in London there as well.
DR MELLIFONT: All right. MR DALE: I probably shouldn’t go
into those details. DR MELLIFONT: Perhaps that’s why
the word ‘casual’ appears in brackets on…
MR DALE: “Casual” was an important word there.
DR MELLIFONT: Okay. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Where did
you stay? MR DALE: In London,
right in London, in Paddington. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE:
No, I wondered if you had a tip about accommodation. (LAUGHTER)
DR MELLIFONT: All right. Now, you hold
a Bachelor of Education? MR DALE: That’s correct.
DR MELLIFONT: Okay. From South Australian
College Adelaide in 1984? MR DALE: ’84, yes.
DR MELLIFONT: OK, thank you. Now, Ms Fenoglio,
your full name, please? MS FENOGLIO: Judith Ann Fenoglio.
DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. I’m not so good on the
pronunciation, it seems, today. You are currently employed as the
principal of Ingham State High School. MS FENOGLIO: That’s correct.
DR MELLIFONT: Okay. And you have also had
a lengthy career history in teaching? MS FENOGLIO: I have interspersed
with opportunities in the corporate world as well.
DR MELLIFONT: Yes. You have a Bachelor of Education
from James Cook University? MS FENOGLIO: I do.
DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. And, Ms Prichard,
your full name, please? MS PRICHARD: Pamel Therese Prichard.
DR MELLIFONT: Are you currently employed as the principal
of Bowen State High School? MS PRICHARD: I am. DR MELLIFONT: You’ve done a Bachelor
of Education at James Cook University? MS PRICHARD: That’s correct. DR MELLIFONT: And how long
have you been teaching for? MS PRICHARD: For around over 20 years,
24 years. DR MELLIFONT: Alright. I want to start with a topic we haven’t
talked about at all so far this week, and that is the existence
or otherwise of a complaints process within your school.
So if you have a student or a parent or a carer
who has a complaint or an issue about how their student
with a disability is treated, what’s the existing complaints mechanism?
Who would like to start? MS FENOGLIO: I will start, if you like.
DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. MS FENOGLIO: We have a brief
where we communicate with parents that, in the first instance,
if they have some sort of complaint, depending on whether it’s a curriculum
or teaching or learning nature or a different nature,
then their point of entry would be different.
If it’s a curriculum teaching and learning issue,
the first point of call’s always a classroom teacher.
Now, that’s no different for a student with a disability
than any other student at the school because every student is connected
to classroom teaching and learning. So the parent first of all,
approaches the teacher, requests an appointment
or a conversation or some sort of interview
to address that problem. If it’s a behavior
or an external to classroom, then the parent will contact
the year level coordinator. We have one for each year level,
and all of the details of these people are published
in the student learning diaries, DR MELLIFONT: I’m going to get you to
slow down a little bit. MS FENOGLIO: I am so sorry.
DR MELLIFONT: That’s all right. MS FENOGLIO: Yes, so the student
learning diaries have the contact details
for the relevant people, whether it would be a teacher
or a year level coordinator. If there is no satisfaction there,
then there is an organisational chart, so it would proceed.
We have… We have HODs who are responsible
for year levels. DR MELLIFONT: And HOD
is a Head of Department? MS FENOGLIO: Head of Department,
I’m sorry, yes, and then, above that,
one deputy principal looks after years seven,
eight and nine. the other, ten, 11 and 12
and, likewise, each deputy principal and myself
have curriculum portfolios that we line manage.
So if it’s around a teaching and learning issue, it would
travel through the curriculum line. If it’s around a social and emotional
or behavioural issue or something that happens
in the playground, then it would travel through
the year level coordinator, year level HOD line.
DR MELLIFONT: Okay. And what happens if it can’t get…
Can’t get resolved within the school? Where to then,
or doesn’t that happen? MS FENOGLIO: Well, that is a rare instance,
but we do have occasions where north regional office
will be contacted, and then I will work
with the peer personnel down there and, ultimately, though,
it will come back to me, and I will pursue it until
I can address the issue. DR MELLIFONT: I’m just trying
to understand what that means. When you say,
“Ultimately come back to you.” Does it come back to you with a direction,
with a request from an office… MS FENOGLIO: It would be
a collaborative conversation that I would have. I would outline the steps
that I have taken and what I see to have been the successful outcomes
in the areas that need further work. I would get some mentoring, perhaps,
access some professional support if it’s around a particular…
if it’s with a student disability and it’s around a particular
behavioral issue, maybe get some medical expertise
or something. And then reinvestigate the solving
of the problem with the parent back
at the school-base location. DR MELLIFONT: All right.
Thank you. Ms Prichard, what’s the complaints
mechanism within your school? MS PRICHARD: Yes, we would mirror
Ingham State High School very closely, and if it can’t be managed
at that classroom level and it goes through
the year level coordinator, a student with disability,
and it’s the same with… with a student without a disability.
It goes to a Head of Department, but the Head of Department
may then call on the Head of Inclusive Practices
or Head of Inclusive Schooling, our HOSE to provide some support as well
because generally, our HOSE has got a really
great relationship with the parent
and has got some extra information that a curriculum HOD
may not necessarily be privy to. So our head of…
Head of Inclusive Schooling would be included
in that complaints process. DR MELLIFONT: Okay.
Thank you. Mr Dale?
MR DALE: Exactly the same process. Complaints are dealt with
by the most appropriate person in the school that has the information
about the event or the activity, or the student
to help get a resolution with the parents. Same aspect as well with respect
to complaints that aren’t resolved at a school level that may go
to regional office, but it should be noted as well
some parents go straight to regional office
rather than coming through the school mechanism as well.
Most complaints at schools are resolved in some form
at schools though. DR MELLIFONT: In the circumstances
where the parent or the carer has gone direct
to regional office, how does…
How does the process then work? MR DALE: Same process,
the regional office makes contact with the school principal
who will make a decision about who’s the best person
to handle the complaint and to investigate the issues.
Along the way that will… That will be dealt with then
if needed as a principal, we will be involved as well
and will notify regional office that the matter’s been resolved
to a satisfactory level. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. I want to now move to
the importance of parental involvement. As you heard this morning
these questions are not directed to be a criticism of any parent
because we know there are challenges for some parents and carers. But I do want to understand
from each of you the importance of having
parental engagement in the journey of the student at the school
and when you don’t have that, the challenges it presents.
Who would – – – MS PRICHARD: I’m happy to speak to it.
DR MELLIFONT: Ms Prichard, thank you. MS PRICHARD: It’s absolutely vital
for the success of the student and that parental contact
should never be a one-off. So it’s a continual progressive contact
that we have with our parents, and that can be from our teachers
in the classrooms to our heads of department,
to a year level coordinators, to our deputy principal
but that contact is regular and it’s for both positive feedback
and also for concerns that we have. But that’s how we all get to
know the students at our school. It’s… It’s really important.
DR MELLIFONT: OK. And when you don’t have it?
MS PRICHARD: It does. It makes things more difficult,
absolutely. Yes.
DR MELLIFONT: And how? MS PRICHARD: Well, you don’t get
that holistic picture of the student, and it takes us…
It just takes a more lengthy-time period to get to know that student
and you could have done that more effectively
in a shorter time period, that’s for sure. But our teachers
and as have been shared previously, our teachers do make that
very important to get to know our student and develop those really
strong relationships with our students. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: How do you
deal with delicate issues like separated families?
Families where the parents are separated, for example?
MS PRICHARD: So both parents are important regardless
of their marital status, so… COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: How do you
deal with it? See them together, separately. MS PRICHARD: Separately, yes.
And sometimes they request that they see us together as well.
Regardless if they… if their marriage has ended,
depending on the relationship between those parents,
sometimes they will request to see them together
because that’s how they’re parenting together, yes.
DR MELLIFONT: Mr Dale. MR DALE: Very similar as well as
what Pam was saying. The parent can offer insight
into the home life, into aspects of the…
the student that we can’t see. It’s about getting that holistic picture
of the student and so we work really hard
to get that parent involvement. Staff work extremely hard
to make contacts with parent. It is difficult at times.
Staff can… With some parents,
staff can make multiple calls, emails. We had systems in place where
if we can’t get contact via email or via the phone
that we do home visits to… to homes to make contact
with parents there. It can be a real time consuming activity,
actually, to make that contact but as both Pam and Jude said,
we really value that contact so we strive to get it.
DR MELLIFONT: OK. MS FENOGLIO: It’s important,
especially in specific instances where we need the communication channels
between home and school widely open because it may come about
that you need to flexibly allocate resources for a limited period of time
for a student who is dealing with a certain issue at a certain time
or something like that. And unless the communications are open
between home and school, that can be hindered
and become complicated for the student’s engagement at school
if we’ren ot meeting the needs that they present with
on any one particular day. So, yes.
MS PRICHARD: I will just say one more thing. I think it’s important that we understand
that sometimes the school requests that communication
and then sometimes it’s requested by the parent,
because it goes both… both ways and that’s important.
DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. This morning you heard…
you heard evidence, obviously, you’ve been sitting listening
to Ms Kauppila and Ms Swancutt and Ms Morris in response to some
questions around supports and mechanisms and structures to assist first Nations
to some students Is there anything in addition
that you wish to add to the evidence we heard this morning
about that within your own schools? MS FENOGLIO: I think the celebration of
culturally significant events and the celebration of culture
and a variety of cultures goes a long way to supporting
the diverse range of students that we have in a school
to feel belonging and to feel accepted
and able to achieve. So we are registered
with the ARTIE academy. I think you would be hard-pressed
to find a school that doesn’t put their hand up
to get the extra support they can get particularly
in cultural type matters. So, I advocate
for community involvement to support us in this role
for as much as we can get it particularly in my community.
DR MELLIFONT: What might that community involvement look like?
MS FENOGLIO: I was in the position where I could reallocate some funding,
recently, to work on developing an initiative for young Indigenous boys,
particularly boys who were in year seven and eight.
At that particular time, we were having
some challenging behaviours regarding young Indigenous men,
and I was set to work on a project to track their pathways
and see if we could do something about stopping a pathway
that ended up in a local… in an organisational institution
here in Townsville. So we had a diverse group
of community representatives, elders, knowledgeable others,
professionals who identified with Indigenous culture come together
to write a program of activities to engage these young men,
to put them on a positive path for the future.
So that sort of community engagement is invaluable.
Unfortunately, it’s always relying on volunteers, like-minded people
to come together and give up…
give up their time and source funding wherever we can get it. ATKINSON: And was it…
Was it successful? MS FENOGLIO: It was successful
for the life of the time. Now, what I say next is not meant
to be interpreted as negatively. However, as Jewelann spoke earlier
my school is declining in numbers and due to a reduction in staff allocation
I could no longer attract a staff member to take on that portfolio. ATKINSON: I’m just
wondering about what the cost of that staff member
would be compared to the cost of keeping open
a juvenile detention facility by the State Government to house
the children who didn’t have the advantage of the program,
but maybe that’s a matter Ms McMillan could take on notice for a later time.
MS FENOGLIO: That’s the line of thinking we were using.
McMILLAN: Thank you, Commissioner. ATKINSON: My pleasure. DR MELLIFONT: Ms Prichard, Mr Dale,
anything further on this topic before we move to the next? That is community…
The importance of community involvement and any other initiative – – – MR DALE: I totally support
that community involvement in essential. It is difficult sometimes as well, and
that’s why for our school with a large Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
population of over 300 students using the Stars and Clontarf foundation
as Loren discussed before has been a way to engage parents
that may have or may not have had a successful experience themselves
at school back into schooling again. And both those organisations run events
for students and parents, and we just sort of mosey on
in as well to make those connections that we don’t necessarily
had had beforehand. So that’s a really
beneficial way. As Jude said, celebrating NAIDOC
is a big occasion at our school. It is a fantastic event
or our school and community. I suppose the other one
that all schools are involved with as well is creating opportunities
to role model Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
students to make not only them proud but their community proud.
That may be through indigenous leaders, in our school situation,
I think pretty close to half our whole school leadership team,
talking captains and student council members
are indigenous anyhow. So we’re always looking
for opportunities. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you.
Ms Prichard? MS PRICHARD: Yes.
We did a lot of work around cultural transformation
of our indigenous students that’s encouraging a sense of themselves
and pride in their culture and being able to share that with all
of our students and all of our students are very,
very interested in learning about the First Nations culture.
So we did a lot of work around increasing the profile
of our indigenous Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander students. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. Ms Fenoglio, I want to ask you
a question you heard this morning. I asked a question…
Commissioner Atkinson asked a question about the ability for inclusive education
to promote positive pathways and to divert from negative pathways
post the school years or even in the school years.
Can you assist us with your observations
in respect of that, please? MS FENOGLIO: Particularly within
the area of inclusion, I think having students
work alongside peers, especially in the senior years…
I’m talking about year 11 and 12 here, which are thought of as the years
when you launch into whether it’s going to become employment
or further tertiary study, creating an environment
and say self-belief that the world will be positive
and engaging them in a senior education
where they are actually achieving and seeing how that
this education can be a stepping stone to a positive future.
So, if I fear that, if students were in a segregated model
they would not be able to engage in the opportunities,
broaden scope of their world and become active citizens
in the true sense of the world in that they had been exposed
to a diverse group of people going through school,
maybe exposed to traineeships and work experience or, you know,
school clubs and things like that. And so that for them would be
a mirror of a community that could be. So once they’ve launched from school
they’ve actually got a foundation or a scaffold to reflect back on
and see and just role model how people have actually
engaged with each other. And models for making choices,
because ultimately the negative pathways are the result of a choice
in that direction. So supporting students to make positive
choices based on their education and their school experiences
I think would help to keep people from going down that track. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: The evidence
this morning and this afternoon is of programs that are
very successful. We live in a world where at least
governments like to have objective measures of success.
How do you measure the success of your programs or do you?
MS FENOGLIO: That’s a very difficult one. Systemically, we can measure
A to E data, the academic results
of our students. We can track behavior data
to see about the encounters that are happening in the classrooms
at the school. And within Queensland
we also have what’s called the Next Step,
which tracks the data of what students are doing
with their lives the year after they have finished Year 12.
That can be useful. It also gives us contact details
because these are details that we get voluntarily from young people
once they finish school. So we have those
to refer back to. In terms of any… COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Is that
material published? MS FENOGLIO: It’s published on my school website
at the end of every… at the end of every data collection point
it’s available there for people to see my data specifically,
what’s happened in my school, yes. MS PRICHARD: You can also track
attendance and increase in attendance of our students,
especially students involved in those programs
and the retention of our students. We keep our students
right through to Year 12. So we track attendance
and retention rates as well. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: How have
they varied over the last few years? MS PRICHARD: There’s a continual
improvement… pattern of improvement.
COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Is that true of your school as well?
MR DALE: With attendance? No, not necessarily
across the whole school. Attendance is a difficult challenge
for us at the moment. It is with a diverse range of students
that we’ve got. We’re working hard on attendance.
I was going to add to that work we’re doing with engagement with students,
the key is keeping students engaged with something that they enjoy,
something that they see some purpose in, and I think we’re all looking for…
For programs and activities that will give students
some real sense of purpose, some real engagement,
some success along the way. When we’re talking programs,
I’m always careful, I… there’s not a program
or a book that you can do and that’s going to be the solution.
I think that the key thing behind any program
is the human resource aspect of it, is the quality of the person
delivering the program. And I think we’ve always
got to remember that. And that’s what we probably work on
as principals is building capacity of our teaching staff to be the best
possible teaching staff that they can be so that they can have
the maximum effect to students. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: If we look
specifically at students with disability within your schools,
are there measurements of the kind that you’ve described
that can track success or otherwise of particular programs?
MR DALE: Loren started talking about those as well.
There are definitely some… some measures there as well.
That ranges from attendance to academic data as well.
I’m just going to get a nod from her over in the corner as well.
Yes. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: I think you got
a nod. Do each of the school’s websites have this
information? MR DALE: Sorry? COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Do each of
the school’s website have this information?
MR DALE: No, that information isn’t publicly available on websites so…
COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Thank you. DR MELLIFONT: When we…
MS PRICHARD: The other… hang on. DR MELLIFONT: Sorry.
MS PRICHARD: The other thing that we have seen and I…
We always talk about education is the key is…
The transformation or the change in our society’s attitude,
their behavior towards our children with disability and our society
or our local community is changing. Our partnerships with our businesses
in Bowen, that’s changing. The enormous support that we receive for
them for our students with disability is overwhelming,
and they’re proud of it. They advertise it on their website
so it’s seen on their websites as well. So I’ve seen the change at Bowen
in the Bowen community with that starting with education, but a change in
community beliefs and understanding appreciation of diversity
in students with disability. Yes.
DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. It’s something…
I want to come back to you in a moment. Did I cut you off, though?
MS PRICHARD: Yes, I… DR MELLIFONT: Did you want
to say something about that? MS FENOGLIO: No, no, no, I just…
I was going to pick up on attendance. If you look at the attendance
data at Ingham State High School, it’s very good.
That’s because we don’t have any malls or any shopping precincts
or any fun parks. So if you don’t come to school,
you don’t get to engage with your peers. So our focus is… ATKINSON: You think we should
recommend the closure of Flinders Mall. It limits our opportunities?
MS FENOGLIO: Yes. So our focus is on engagement
in the quality programs set, that we’ve got on offer.
DR MELLIFONT: OK. ATKINSON: I don’t know
if we can really recommend the closure of all malls
around Australia. It’s an idea,
but I’m not sure. MR DALE: Just from 9:00 to 3:00.
That’s okay. COMMISSIONER GALBALLY: I guess the
only thing… COMMISSIONER GALBALLY: I would…
I was just curious about the comparison of different socioeconomic groupings
and the diversity groupings. You would have to be comparing
apples with apples too, wouldn’t you? MS PRICHARD: Yes.
MR DALE: Yes, that’s right, yes. And you’re not all the same.
MS PRICHARD: No, we’ve got… MS FENOGLIO: No.
MS PRICHARD: …Varying percentages of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
students with disability across our schools. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Sorry what
are the differences? MS PRICHARD: So, Grant’s got…
MR DALE: Well, I’ve… my school, I’ve got about 40% of students identify
as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. I’ve got 7% of students
that students with disability. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Seven. MR DALE: Seven, which is about 50
students, and I have 170 students on the NCCD data
which is about 23%, 24%. Probably the other factor
that I have is that it’s a low socioeconomic community.
We’re in the fourth percentile of schools across Australia.
A low ICSEA number. Now, that would include some of those
students I just mentioned as well and others.
So and I think there’s a huge impact with socioeconomic factors on schooling,
on engagement as well. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: And each of
the other schools, what’s the division? MS PRICHARD: Yes.
So 20% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander,
5% disability. Similar numbers for NCCD data,
around 105. So similar to Grant’s school
at Thuringowa. MS FENOGLIO: My percentage is very much
the same as Bowen. It seems to be proportional to the
general population, so it mirrors that. Yes, nothing… nothing different. We find that, being a small community,
though, there’s very much community ownership of the school
and, in that way, parents and caregivers take their right
of access and actually come in and have conversations with us
around their issues and their problems. Probably more so than what Grant would
be able to experience because it’s in a larger location. MR DALE: There’s also the effect of
mobility as well with people moving in and out of the suburb,
and community which doesn’t give them that connection to the school
or the community as well. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: It sounds as
though your community is a very tightknit community. DR MELLIFONT: I’m going to
remind everybody to slowdown for our interpreters.
Thank you. And can somebody just give me
an indication is that middle mic picking up,
sufficiently, the sound? Up and down.
OK. So I might need you to lean in.
MS PRICHARD: Yes, no trouble. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you.
Now, you’ve each spoken in your statements about…
can I call it self-assessment or reflections upon
progress with respect to inclusion. But what I really want to understand
is are there departmentally mandated self-audits, and what do they…
What are they? MR DALE: I will probably –
probably start with that. The Department is very much
part of the journey with our… with inclusion,
of course, in schools. Although, the three schools here
started the journey a little bit earlier than the Department’s policy. Everyone’s on the
same journey now. In respect to auditing, there’s…
there’s probably two or three types of areas that… That occur that…
That I know of, and one would be from
a school-based situation, and that may be through something
using a checklist that the signposts
for Improvement is one of those checklists that schools can use to evaluate where
they’re currently at and their… the next step. DR MELLIFONT: Yes and that signpost
checklist you speak of is a departmentally-issued tool?
MR DALE: That’s a Department tool. DR MELLIFONT: Yes. MR DALE: The second one I would say
would be a… a regional audit, and that would occur through…
We’re all… everyone’s got a boss. We’ve got Assistant Regional Directors
that work with us that have a number of schools
that they work with each, and they meet with us
and that’s part of the agenda about how we’re…
how we’re working with students and how we’re catering for the needs
of students… for all students including students with disability.
And I would say that the final one is, every four years, our schools go through
a school improvement unit review, and that’s a good chance
to have external people come into the school and do an evaluation
of all the programs in the school, including inclusive education. DR MELLIFONT: Okay. The middle one you mentioned, that is,
the meeting, does that involve looking at hard data,
or is it a discussion? What is it? MR DALE: It’s a…
It definitely looks at hard data. Datasets are available
ranging from everything from attendance to behaviour
to levels of achievement in… in class, to NAPLAN data, to senior data.
So that forms the basis of the conversation.
The idea, once again, is that Assistant Regional Directors
get to know the school and have an understanding
of the school. They can see the progress.
There’s classroom visits involved with that.
There’s conversations with other heads of department
and school leaders, as well as, most importantly,
with teachers and with students as well. DR MELLIFONT: And how often
does that happen? MR DALE: They happen…
it varies from school to school. It’s a little bit differentiated,
but that… DR MELLIFONT: What about for your school? MR DALE: For our school is twice a term.
DR MELLIFONT: Okay. MR DALE: In a regular term
about twice a term, and available on need…
If we need them. DR MELLIFONT: Okay.
Ms Prichard? MS PRICHARD: So school improvement
is based on the school improvement hierarchy which is the nine domains,
and we all work within that hierarchy according to the nine domains
and we align school improvement to those domains and work
within those domains. We use the Signposts for Inclusion
as well as a reflection tool, but that’s exactly what it is. It is a tool, it’s not a mandated
auditing device or process, and we use that with all staff,
and that’s including auxiliary staff as well.
And then, at our school, we have class action plan meetings
where I meet with our teachers twice a year, and we work through
they present to me what strategies they’re using to achieve a
plus one, and that was mentioned before. That’s an improvement strategy
for every single student in their class across their classes. DR MELLIFONT: What’s
plus one mean? MS PRICHARD: Yes,
it’s an improvement strategy. So it’s – as long as that student is
improving – so they might not jump a whole level of achievement. They might simply jump
from, say, an A1 to an A2. It might be just a ladder placement,
but as long as they’re improving so it’s always plus one. We have plus one for students, but
we also have plus one for teachers so teachers continue to improve their
capability and their practice. DR MELLIFONT: Okay. Ms Fenoglio, departmental oversight,
what – and selfreflection. MS FENOGLIO: The only – the only
mandatory reflection would be the school improvement unit that Grant spoke about
that is cyclical, every four years, and the school is assessed against the nine
domains within the school improvement hierarchy. In terms of prioritising
future work, the school improvement unit come up with a series of key priorities
which are identified for the school. Now, I’ve just been through this
process, not last week, the week prior, and I’m anticipating getting my report
back so that we can start planning for the next four years, and that will cover
suggestions and recommendations for further steps to take with
inclusion, or areas that I might like to consider for the future. DR MELLIFONT: Okay. The witnesses this morning have done a
little bit of your work for you in terms of
describing the journey towards inclusion within your schools, but I did want to
give each of you the opportunity to see if there was anything you wanted to add
to that journey, or if there’s anything you disagree with about
how it was explained. Ms Prichard,
would you like to start? MS PRICHARD: There’s nothing
that I want to disagree with. I think Catherine gave a very clear
picture of our journey of inclusion. The only thing she forgot to share was
the principal taught as a co-teacher. So I went into the classroom
and I taught alongside Catherine. I also taught alongside a first-year
teacher as well, and we co-taught a year eight history class. So I did that very purposefully because
we can’t step around it that principals are the key drivers for inclusion in
schools and across schools, and I think we need to walk the talk. So if we’re going to talk about
co-teaching, then we should be able to do it ourselves and demonstrate
that practice for our teachers. DR MELLIFONT: Right.
Thank you. DR MELLIFONT: Mr Dale. MR DALE: I probably – as I said, we’ve
started a little bit earlier than the actual policy came out, but in saying
that, there was always a policy about every student succeeding and
the – the timing was right. It wasn’t just, “Hey, let’s do
inclusion.” It was a environment then when schools were – were really having
a good hard look at them self with support from the department about
their school improvement journey. So quite a few things came together
about setting high expectations for all students in this region, and I’m not
sure how wide it was across the state, but around the 2014/2015 time, we were
doing work with Lyn Sharratt, and she had a series of beliefs and one of them
was that all students can achieve high standards given the right amount of time
and support, and that became basically the moral imperative
and our core business. As well as that, along the side,
there’s always a number of – of drivers happening at the same time. As well as that, we were – we were
examining our teaching and learning, and – and in – in the classroom and making
sure that we had the best quality teachers in the classroom that – so
that we could get – maximise learning as well. So there was a number of agendas
rolling at the same time and this one really fitted in really well. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you.
Ms Fenoglio? MS FENOGLIO: Very similar story. We had a focus on quality teaching
and learning, and the students with disability were within our school
community, however, they weren’t in the inclusive model. So we recognised that there was a
collection of young people here, and with Every Student Succeeding State
Schools Policy Statement that was first released in 2014, those students weren’t
– their needs weren’t being addressed according to the policy,
and so it was a conversation starter. At the beginning, there was very – there
was very little resistance to actually moving towards an inclusive model, but
there was a lot of fear, particularly from the teaching teams
and people like that. So we required – the journey
needed to be not quick. It needed to be considered,
and – and determined so that we could travel the course. DR MELLIFONT: Okay. I think each of your statements speak
about you having high expectations for all of your students, and you would have
heard some evidence earlier in the week about the negative impacts of
devaluation of people with disability and the negative impacts of having low expectations of people with disabilities. Do you each have an observation in
respect of the importance of having high expectation of
all your students? MR DALE: I – I think it makes the
world of difference in – in your school culture, and that’s what
we’re talking about. We’re talking about developing and
changing school culture, that it’s about high expectations for – not only for
students, but for teachers as well and, in our school, that’s been our biggest
change, is that I believe we’ve – we’ve given students reasonable aspirations
and high aspirations to reach, and – and I’ve asked teachers to – to work hard
to meet those high expectations as well. And I agree with
what you said before. There was possibly students walking
through gates with low expectations before and – and meeting those low
expectations, and we’ve – we’ve definitely raised the bar. MS PRICHARD: Yes.
Absolutely, Grant’s correct. High expectations for our students, but
high expectations for our teachers and also revisiting those expectations
and revisiting those practices, and challenging our own practices
and challenging our own beliefs. I think that’s really important to
maintain those high expectations for both our students and also for our
teaching and support staff as well. DR MELLIFONT: Ms Fenoglio? MS FENOGLIO: Can I just add to that
too, it also has a flow-on effect with parents and care givers because in
meetings and consultations, the teachers and the teams at school can reinforce
the possibility of high expectations and achieving high expectations, and it also
opens a world for parents about what might be possible for their
young people with disability. DR MELLIFONT: Now, I don’t think
anybody’s claiming that Queensland education have – has got it perfect yet,
so – and that has been acknowledged, of course, infancy in
respect of the new policy. What I want to turn to now is what you
see as the barriers and/or challenges in going on this journey towards
inclusion, and within inclusion. Can I start with
you, Ms Fenoglio. You speak about a barrier being the
architectural structure of your building and classrooms.
Can you explain that, please. MS FENOGLIO: The school was
first established in 1950. And we have a piece of architecture in
the school that represents every decade. The newer buildings, the ones from
the last 10 to 15 years, meet modern legislation regarding access
for people with disability. Prior to that, you can look around
the school and we have a whole conglomeration of things. The – the standard building in the ’60s
was the two storey with the winding staircases and, you know, students
access them as – as best they could. My school – the majority of the classrooms in the school are built like that. It’s very confronting and challenging,
timetabling and getting students to access specialist classrooms,
particularly with their peers, because you can say that that classroom has
great disability access but in a secondary school, students traditionally
travel from classroom to classroom depending on curriculum area
or specific design needs. So I have a moral dilemma, but it’s
easily won within myself because I refuse to have a student placed in a
classroom and stays in the classroom all day because that’s not the general norm
of what happens in a secondary school. We have to investigate ways where we
can utilise buildings to get the widest experience we can geographically on the
site for those people knowing we cannot access the upper buildings. We did get some functionality to
one building, but the – the lift is unreliable. And I won’t take
the risk of putting a student upstairs if I can’t get them down. So we have all sorts of complications,
which is nobody’s fault. The expense of transforming the
structures to meet modern requirements would be unfathomable.
They’re all full of asbestos. They’re double storey. All sorts of complications. So we just have to
do the best we can. And architecturally, I have to just sort
of manage the structures as best I can. DR MELLIFONT: Ms Prichard, do you
have any observations on this topic? MS PRICHARD: We’ve got similar
challenges because our schools were built in the same era. We have just had
a lift installed. It’s not operational yet. However it does only provide us
access to the top storey of one of our buildings. And the cost that is attached
to that is considerable, as we would like all of our students, and students
with disability to be able to access the top story of all
of our buildings. Because a number of our buildings,
they’re specialised classrooms like hospitality centres, and so
forth, that they need to access as part of the curriculum. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. Mr Dale,
do you have similar challenges? MR DALE: Not really. We’re a – we’re a
30-year-old school. We’re – we’re flat and low set,
which makes access a little bit easier. In saying that, there’s always continual
improvement happening with – with ramps and doorways to improve access
for students in wheelchairs. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Is there a
process whereby you can request funds for transformation
of your buildings? (CROSSTALK) MS PRICHARD: It’s
called Ed For All. That’s why we’ve gained the funding
for improvements we’ve done and provide access that’s undercover
walkways and ramps and so forth and we’ve been fortunate. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: That’s where
the non-performing lift came from. MS PRICHARD: It’s only new. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE:
It’s only new. MS PRICHARD: Yes.
It’s only new. It’s probably happened at our school
somewhat faster than other schools. I’m actually pleased with what we
have functioning currently in 2019. DR MELLIFONT: Ms Fenoglio I wanted
to take you to paragraph 28 of your statement. This is page seven.
It’s the last page. I’m going to read it to you
and then I’m going to ask you to explain it to me, please. My challenge as principal is
ensure fidelity of our practices, provision of ongoing
professional development induction of new staff
and active engagement with the wider school community. If I do not address this challenge and
monitor school practices on an ongoing and regular basis, then barriers may
emerge in the continuing implementation of inclusive education at
Ingham State High School. MS FENOGLIO: My role as principal is
to ensure line of sight, to ensure that the inclusive practices journey is
continuing and travelling the way my expectation is that it would be. We have new staff coming
into the school at all times. At the end of any year schools have
teachers transfer out, teachers retire. We have teachers who go on maternity
leave and you need to replace those people with new staff who may or may
not come with any knowledge of inclusive schooling practices. So we need to have something in place
where we can actively engage those people growing their professional
knowledge in that space. Likewise, with staff who are at the
school at a long-term basis, we need to ensure that we’re ongoing with our
professional learning because the research is always exploring and having
new evidence-based strategies that we can employ,
that we can use in classrooms. Likewise, teachers who have been in the
school for a long time, many of them want to try new things and perhaps
try new co-teaching partnerships. So all of that involves new professional
learning experience for them and we need to be able to provide
the means for that to happen. If – and likewise with the school
community engagement, I have an obligation to keep the school
informed about how we run, what we do. We’re a public organisation. So the community has a right to
know what’s going on in the school. So that’s part of my responsibility in terms of PR and just information sharing. If I don’t continue to pay due attention
to all of those areas, then barriers could emerge that I
didn’t see coming. So I have to be on the front to make
sure I know what I might not know. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. Ms Prichard or Mr Dale, do you have an
observation, any comments in respect of what Ms Fenoglio just said? MS PRICHARD: No. MR DALE: No. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. Ms Prichard, can I take you, please,
to paragraph 28 of your statement. And that’s at page eight And you were – you were asked in our
notice to you to identify things that could be done to improve the education
of students with a disability, and – and one thing you identified was to change
the archaic and redundant staffing model to include an increased number of
teachers allocated to schools with disability enrolled and learning
in mainstream classrooms. Can you tell us about
that, please? MS PRICHARD: Well, the staffing model,
as I’ve described there, is archaic. It is redundant. The complexity of – the complexity
of students that are enrolling in our school, the complexity of their
learning needs, the complexity of their behavioural, social and emotional
learning needs, and the expectation – and it’s non-negotiable, the expectation
we put on our teachers to provide those learning experiences for our teachers,
the staffing model is 41 years old. It needs to be revisited
and it needs to be done so. It needs to be prioritised to provide
us with more teachers so then we can implement more co-teaching for our
students to support our students co-teaching across our schools, across
curriculum areas across year levels and also across schools to provide that
personalised teaching and learning for – for students with disability and for
students with additional learning needs. So at the moment, you know, we have
class numbers, so seven to nine, one to 28, and
then 10, 11, 12, you know, one to 25. One teacher to 25. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. I suspect the next point you raised in
your statement is linked in part, that is increased planning and preparation
time allocations above the 210 minutes for teachers teaching
students with disability. Is that linked to the – – – MS PRICHARD: Yes. And that’s – that’s linked to – to the
current staffing model that we’ve got. So teachers when they’re employed,
they’re employed as a – as a full – a full-time employment as a one. Then the expectation that the school –
well, the staffing model that we have that our teachers teach 17 out of 20
lessons, and then three out of those 20 lessons is the preparation
and correction time. Our teachers – and I say this without
apology – need more than 210 minutes or three 70 minute sessions for preparation
and correction if they’re to do justice and provide those personalised
learning experiences for our students with disability and
additional learning needs. It is only practical,
and it’s common sense. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. You also list increased financial
resources to schools to support the professional learning for teachers
who teach students with disability. Can you expand on that for
me, please? MS PRICHARD: So that’s just linked to
our whole school professional learning plan. And we prioritise professional
learning for our teachers that are teaching students with disability to
improve their teaching capability. A lot of that time that we do that
professional learning is on weekends or after school,
during twilight sessions. If it is during class time then we need
to replace that teacher, in particular if that teacher is coming out of a
co-teaching arrangement, that teacher still needs to be replaced
so that we maintain those two teachers in that one classroom. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Do all
teachers at your school have specific training in teaching children with disability or
dealing with the behavioural issues, for example, that might
arise from time to time? MS PRICHARD: No, they don’t. MS FENOGLIO: No.
MS PRICHARD: No. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: How
does that work in practice? MS PRICHARD: That will come to
my next point, recommendation. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE:
Come to your next point. MS PRICHARD: That will come to, like,
mandatory training, which is another question that I want to
come out of the Commission. DR MELLIFONT: Okay. We will come to that. DR MELLIFONT: You’ve also listed as a –
as a matter reducing the allocation of teacher aides to school but
increasing teacher allocation as an alternative staffing model. Can you explain that, please? MS PRICHARD: And, look, this is – this
is a personal view because I believe our – our students with disability are
entitled to a teacher, not a teacher aide. And I pose the question: why
shouldn’t they be entitled to a teacher aide? Why shouldn’t our children with
a disability be – sorry, to a teacher rather than a teacher aide. Our teachers – teachers are trained,
they’re – they’re skilled in their practice.
They can deliver the curriculum. They can provide instruction
in the curriculum. They can assess the curriculum.
They report on the curriculum. Our students with disability are
entitled to a quality teacher just like our students without disability. DR MELLIFONT: So if you can just
explain that a little bit more, because obviously…
MS PRICHARD: Yes. I don’t want any more
money for teacher aides. If you could convert my teacher aide
allocation into more teachers, I would be very pleased about that. DR MELLIFONT: But I want to go into a
little bit more which is your school has a strong co-teaching model. MS PRICHARD: Yes, it has, yes. DR MELLIFONT: Now, ideally for you that
means two teachers in a room rather than a teacher and
a teacher aide. MS PRICHARD: That’s correct. DR MELLIFONT: Okay. Now, explain the concept of parity of
teaching in a co-teaching model when you’ve got two teachers in a
room as opposed to a teacher and a teacher aide, please. MS PRICHARD: That’s correct. So co-teaching two
teachers in the same class. They have equal responsibilities
for the teaching, the assessing, the reflecting, the reporting of the
students that are in that class. The teacher aide by definition of their
role and by their EB agreement does not allow them to teach the curriculum,
only a teacher can do that. If – if a teacher aide is
teaching the curriculum, well, that is a breach of their EB. They are unable to do that. And two teachers in the same classroom
supports not only our students with disability but all of our students, and
they’re – they’re teaching in a number of different ways throughout – depending
on what the needs of the students are, and that is reflective
of each lesson. So each lesson in a co-teaching
arrangement can look very, very different. The teacher aide is constrained
by the definition of their role. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE:
Assuming you get your wish – – – MS PRICHARD: Thank you. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: – – – and you
have – you have two co-teachers teaching the class, but within the class, there
are one or two children with disability with substantial needs. It might be toileting; it might be
personal care; it might be taking medications, or whatever. Is this a function then is taken over
by one of the two co-teachers, or do you need another teacher’s aide in
addition to the two teachers? MS PRICHARD: I don’t
want any teacher aides. That’s another point
I want to bring up. So teacher aides currently performing
medical procedures like catheterisation, peg feeding, tubing and so forth, in my
view, that should not be part of their role. That should be performed by a
medical practitioner attached to the school. That should not be
performed by a teacher aide. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: So you want,
not only co-teaching, you want a medical practitioner there at all times? MS PRICHARD: Exactly right. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Just like
old people taking a cruise – – – MS PRICHARD: Yes,
they’re entitled to that. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Anything else
that comes with the two-teacher model? MS PRICHARD: A couple of things. ATKINSON:
Closure of malls? MS FENOGLIO: Could I – could I add that
co-teaching is one of the strongest research evidence-based
strategies that exist. ATKINSON: Can I ask, then,
can you have more students if you have co-teachers? I mean, you know, because,
immediately, there’s going to be the question of the economics of it. So can you slightly
increase – – – MS PRICHARD: No. ATKINSON: – – – the
student numbers in the class? MS PRICHARD: No, that’s not the
model that I would work from. ATKINSON: No?
MS PRICHARD: Absolutely not. We want to reduce
the one to one ratio. So the less students in the class, the
more attention the teachers can give to… To the students. MS FENOGLIO: But reducing class size so
that it’s about 10 to 15 doesn’t have the same impact as putting two
teachers in with 25 students. The model changes slightly when – the
diversity and the – the size of the group of the class needs to
be a critical mass as well, not a tiny, tiny group… And in addition to that, the teacher
may have one to eight or one to 15, but it’s what the teacher actually
does in that classroom. It’s the impact that
that teacher has. So it’s the teaching, the quality
teaching that the teacher does in that classroom that makes a difference
that has the impact on the student. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Is there a
model anywhere in Queensland or, for that matter, Australia where there are
somebody from the medical field – maybe a nurse, not necessarily. I suppose, a medical
practitioner, as such? MS PRICHARD: So we have school
nurses, but they don’t perform medical procedures. So there are school nurses
in schools, and there’s one in my school allocated to my school,
but that – their role does not include medical procedures. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Is that
because they’re not qualified to do that, or is that some departmental – – – MS PRICHARD: No, not at all. That’s just in their
role description. MS FENOGLIO: They’re
not employed by us. They’re employed
by Queensland Health. MS PRICHARD: Yes. So a revisit of that role would be
something we could look forward to. DR MELLIFONT: Can I pick up that topic
for a moment, and could you explain to me your perception – your view on the
difficulty with student perception on two fronts. The first with a teacher
aide attending to their medical needs and then being in the classroom if that
happens, and, secondly, the perception a student might have that the teacher
aide is, in fact, their teacher. Could you explain to me the complexity
that you’ve observed in that respect? MS PRICHARD: Yes, OK. So, sometimes,
those – those lines are blurred. So we have a teacher aide that would
be performing those medical procedures like toileting and catheterisation, and
then from there, they then go over and – you know, go back into the classroom or
go into the classroom and then they’re working with that student on the
curriculum or whatever learning activity or assessment that those
students are working for. So for me,
that – that line is blurred. Someone that’s – that’s supporting
you with curriculum requirements, preferably, should not be the
person that is toileting you. Just to keep that professional –
professional boundaries in place, professional lines in place. I’ve had requests from teacher aides in
regards to accessing YouTube because it supports whatever the teacher’s teaching
– teaching from the curriculum, and that request has been denied because
any request I get needs to come from the teacher, not the teacher aide because
the teacher is responsible for the teaching and learning for that
student with a disability or without a disability. Sometimes, we have a blurred
line between the communication between a teacher aide and a parent where
the parent should be working with the teacher of that student, not the teacher
aide, in regards to their teaching and learning and their assessment. DR MELLIFONT: You’ve provided, in your
statements, a list of a number of – a number of issues, and we have
touched on some of them now. What I – what I wanted to pick up
on before I come to Mr Dale is this paragraph 47. Students with disabilities
who transfer into the school during the school year
and who don’t commence at the start of the year with the school. A school’s required to submit an
application for additional funding, which is not always successful and the
school is notified that the pool of funding is empty, then the school is
required to provide support and find the human and financial resource from its currently exhausted
and allocated funding. I’ve heard a little bit about
this from some other witnesses. But can you
expand on that for me, please? MS PRICHARD: Yes. So – and we have touched on these issues
when – when, previously, we have spoken about EAP and the funding
allocation that’s attached to that. So when you get a student in through –
throughout the year, they – they don’t come along with any funding, so any
other – any support – any additional support that they require, you have
to find that from school-based funds. So there is no funding allocation that
comes along with that student if they enrol during – you know,
during semester 2 or during semester 1. So you have to – you have to go through
the process of – of – of putting in a submission for additional funds and,
sometimes, that’s not successful, particularly if it’s in the later part
or later part of the year in semester 2. Because that’s
happening across the states. All schools are in
the same position. So, you know, everyone’s – everyone’s
applying for those additional funds. DR MELLIFONT: Have you had the
same experience Ms Fenoglio? Yes. And Mr Dale? MR DALE: Probably not as much. I would say that there’s still sometimes
– the – the concern is still the same. However, sometimes, with mobility, you –
you may lose one and pick up a student. And so, basically, your overall package
is very similar to what it was before. DR MELLIFONT: Okay. Mr Dale, I’m going to come, now, to the
barrier and challenges you’ve identified in your statement, and then I’m going to
allow each of you to give us your wish list, as it were. Things you would like to see
the Commission accomplish. Mr Dale, at paragraphs 40 to 41, you
list the first barrier or challenge as human resources. Can you explain that for
us, please? MR DALE: I… I as I mentioned before,
I… I value and I think – I don’t want to speak for Pam, but when Pam was
talking about teachers, that’s really recognising the four years of university
and the training that the teachers have done as well, as – as compared to the
shorter courses that teacher aides do, and I think that’s part of that – that
conversation that teachers are teachers. They’ve done the training;
they’ve done those four years. There’s probably two issues here with
human resources, at the moment, for – for our school and – and maybe
a little bit wider as well. There’s a teacher shortage at
the moment in – in Townsville. I believe it’s across Queensland and
across Australia at the moment, and I – that – that’s a concern. At the moment, in – in our school, we
have just managed to fill our staffing quota for – for this year. We’ve gone for large periods of time
without the – the staff that we’ve required. In fact, in our school, we’ve
got two student teachers that are on permission to teach, filling that role,
because they couldn’t find someone across Australia to fill those roles,
and I believe that story may be widespread across Townsville right
across Queensland and right across Australia as well. So there’s that – that bigger picture of
attracting people into the profession, and I think that’s a really
important point to make. I know Queensland Education Department
is working hard with a – with an Attraction Unit. In fact, our school is piloting
something called a Future Teachers Project, at the moment, where we’ve got
Year 11 and Year 12 students actually starting a teaching
degree in school. It’s been paid for by the Department
in – in conjunction with a local university.
Ours is James Cook University. So we’ve got seven students, at the
moment, for this year and more next year that are well underway on their – their
first unit of work in their teaching degree, which I – I think is just
fabulous, and something that we probably should have thought of earlier. We should have been promoting our
own craft to – to our students. We get the best look at them. We know – we – we know their background,
we know their academic marks and we know personalities that we think
would make cracker teachers. So I’m really pleased with that. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Do you agree
with Ms Prichard’s view about teacher’s aide? MR DALE: My preference would
always be for a teacher. However, I believe teacher aides have
a really important role to play both within schools and
within some classrooms. COMMISSIONER GALBALLY: Are any of
your Year 11 and 12, the seven people, with disability – students
with a disability? MR DALE: I couldn’t – there are
students there with – there’s anxiety students, there’s – I’m just – I don’t
think there’s any students with a disability as in verified students with
a disability, but there may be some that are on the NCCD data. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. The next challenge you list are
the requirements of the Educational Adjustment Program, and they reflect
the evidence that Ms Swancutt gave this morning with respect to the
challenges presented by that process. Was there anything in addition to what
Ms Swancutt mentioned that you wanted to say about that topic? MR DALE: No, no,
not – not at all. That’s a process that – that is –
that is looked at by the – the Head of Inclusive Schooling, and that’s
basically from feedback from – from Loren and the team
involved in doing that. So that’s very similar. DR MELLIFONT: All right. Ms Prichard or Ms Fenoglio, did you have
any observations with respect to the challenges – whether the EAP
requirements present challenges with respect to providing what you need
for students with disabilities? MS FENOGLIO: In our location,
it provides challenges with access to specialised – I mean, we don’t have
paediatricians located within the town, so the mobility issues and – and
getting people to access diagnosis and verification is very difficult. Ms Prichard, anything further? MS PRICHARD: I just think – and I think
– I think Loren Swancutt brought it up around the scope of
the EAP and is – yes. DR MELLIFONT: Can I – sorry,
just speak into the microphone. MS PRICHARD: Sorry. This – yes, around broadening the scope
of the EAP categories for our students with disabilities. I think that’s important,
and the use of NCCD data as well as the resource allocation. DR MELLIFONT: Okay. DR MELLIFONT: And is the essence of
that, with respect to broadening the scope of EAP, is that you’ve got
students with needs that simply don’t fit into the category so – – – MS PRICHARD: Yes. Does not fit into those
six categories, yes. DR MELLIFONT: Okay. Mr Dale, the next challenge you mention
is the reporting requirements of the NCCD.
Can you speak to that, please? MR DALE: Very briefly because, as Loren
said before, there’s a requirement that teachers make adjustments for the
students, and there’s also a requirement that there’s some reporting
of those adjustments as well. High school teachers can
teach up to 150 students. Those students are doing a range of
different subjects and, therefore, require a range of different
adjustments, possibly for each subject as well. It’s – it’s a huge task and it leads
onto what Pam was saying about staffing and the complexity of – of schooling
compared to what it used to be. With the staffing model, if I can just
go down that line for a moment as well. There is a bit of a band aid
solution at the moment in respect to that schools are given some
discretionary funding through a system called Investing for Success. It’s based on the Gonski scheme of money
coming through the schools, and schools use that to supplement staffing within
schools to – to do programs such as co-teaching and other initiatives
that are happening throughout schools. However, sometimes,
the complexity outweighs the funding. DR MELLIFONT: Sure. Thank you. And your statement also reflects some
of the other observations made already today about teacher workload, funding
and staffing being linked to EAP, time demands on teachers to develop
individual programs of learning and assessment, and the available time for
staff to work collaboratively to develop quality programs and
pedagogical practices? MR DALE: It is a real changed teaching
environment to what it was when I was beginning teaching 30 years ago. I was, rightly or wrongly,
very much a solo teacher. I did my own planning, I taught my own
class, and I had knowledge of my own students. And it’s a very
collaborative approach now. And it’s fantastic quality of teaching
and learning that’s happening in schools right throughout
Queensland at the moment. But there’s a demand on
the teachers with that. And there’s a huge amount of workload
associated with that, as well. DR MELLIFONT: I don’t want to deprive
you of any time with respect to the next topic, which is to tell me what you
would like to see come out of the Commission, but I do want to come to
you, Mr Dale, about your own personal experience in co-teaching back when you
were teaching, because you had a direct comparison experience between a
co-teaching class on a subject and a class that wasn’t cotaught. Are you able to tell the Commission
the difference in results? MR DALE: I – when
I was teaching? DR MELLIFONT: Is that correct? MR DALE: 30 years
– I can’t remember. I was a phys ed teacher … DR MELLIFONT: Perhaps I’ve got
the wrong example. But in terms of the
co-teaching – and this is an important thing.
It’s coming up constantly. Is anybody able to speak to the
comparison between benefits to students and teachers of that co-teaching
model, compared to the non teaching? MS PRICHARD: Well, I can speak to it,
because I co-taught most recently. And – and the expectations
are definitely – yeah. There’s an increase in expectations
of both planning and delivery of instruction when you’re co-teaching,
but you also have to work very collaboratively with
the other teacher. And that relationship you establish
with your co-teaching partner is really important. And, finding that time,
you really need to be flexible and negotiable around – around finding that
time and negotiating that time and using that time effectively to
co-plan and co-reflect on the student’s progress in your class. And then decide on – okay –
the next level of instruction. What’s that going to look like? Am I going to be doing – you know,
what differentiation is required? What focus teaching or – or intensive
teaching is required in my next lesson and the lesson after that
and the following lesson? COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Are the
co-teachers equal partners or equal in status MS PRICHARD: nonone is… even when I
taught in that co-teaching partnership, I did not go in there as a principal; I
went in there as a teaching colleague. And my practice reflected that
relationship with that co-teacher. I was very conscious of not dominating
the amount of time that I provided instruction or the direction of the
lesson or the management of student behaviour in the classroom. That was definitely shared
equally with my co-teacher. So that’s very different. And I know when I taught outside of a
co-teaching relationship, I can echo Grant; you definitely
taught in a solo. You delivered your curriculum. And, generally,
it was delivered mid-field. There wasn’t a lot of differentiation
and there wasn’t a lot of recording of that differentiation or a reflection of
the student’s progress per lesson, and then a change of instruction for
the next lesson and so forth. You did – you did
it by yourself. You didn’t share your
practice with other teachers. Teachers didn’t come in
and watch your practice. But co-teaching you definitely
learnt from each other. And I both co-taught with
Catherine, which was wonderful. I learnt many, many strategies around
managing behaviours of students with disability and those
without disability, as well. Also, our Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander students as well, and – and classroom management strategies,
learning strategies, learning styles. I also learnt a lot off our
first-year teacher, as well. So she came with expertise that I learnt
– that I could learn from, as well. So that’s why I think
I’m such an advocate, because I definitely walk the talk. And the success rates, the pass rates,
the attendance rates and the behaviour of our classroom, of our Year 8
history class, was exceptional and continued to improve. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. DR MELLIFONT: Mr
Dale, I apologise. It was Mr Bates who was telling me about
his positive co-teaching experience. MR DALE: No problems at all. DR MELLIFONT: Barristers should never
rely on their memories; they should just rely on their notes. Ms Fenoglio, can you tell us
what you would like to see come out of the Commission? MS FENOGLIO: Moving forward,
my expectation is the ongoing implementation of the 17 key recommendations from the Deloitte’s review. And I’m going…
DR MELLIFONT: You’re going to slow down just a touch?
MS FENOGLIO: Okay. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: All those
recommendations have been accepted in principle, have they not,
by the Queensland Government? MS FENOGLIO: It will be a journey
and a long journey to see the implementation. I wouldn’t like to
see our energy fade halfway along. An ongoing consideration and
implementation of the Queensland Department of Education policy statement
and the journey associated with the nine principles outlined
in that statement. A decreased reliance on para
professionals, for example teacher aides, to monitor and deliver learning
to the most vulnerable of our young people, which includes
students with disability. Differentiated teaching and learning,
enabling all students to access and engage with the Australian curriculum
and participate in age-appropriate learning with peers. The Every Student Succeed in State
School strategy is relevant for all students. The Every Student with
Disability Succeeding strategy reinforces the
inclusive position. I will celebrate when the latter
policy statement is totally subsumed within the first. In terms of improvements which would
specifically assist Ingham High overcome barriers for the future,
it’s all around resourcing. And it’s resourcing for planning,
collaboration, co-teaching and professional learning. There are key
words and messages that keep appearing across these last few days. As principal, I have the autonomy and
the moral imperative to address every student succeeding with every
opportunity that I am given. Within the constraints of my resourcing
constructs, I have the ability to manipulate and manoeuvre, be flexible
and use my resourcing to target the areas best needed on
a day-to-day basis. Recently, I was asked to put a nominal
dollar value on educating a student with a disability. As I explained, this is not only
impossible, it is an immoral challenge. Resources need to be allocated and
flexible enough to be reallocated wherever the need is greatest on any
given day, week, month or yearly basis. It needs to ensure that we best meet
the needs of every student in every classroom, every day. Principals require the autonomy to make
such decisions to best suit the context of the student population
currently enrolled at their school. Co-teaching is an evidence-based
strategy widely recognised in the research to improve learning outcomes
for all students, particularly students with disability when implemented
in general classrooms. Consideration of the staffing
allocative model is required to resource co-teaching and the associated co-planning, co-delivery and coreporting. Coordinated opportunities within
the timetable day for school-based professional learning, including access
to online engagement with the likes of TED talks or engagement with blogs, with
experts from the field like Paula Kluth or Julie Causton. Engagement with the research is
essential to strengthening practice. We would never consider accessing the
services of medical practitioners who did not keep abreast of current
research trends and updated use of technologies, so why should we
be any different in education? Special schools are not within
my sphere for reference. Currently I am principal of a school in
a rural location where a special school is not an option, and so every student
within our community is entitled to enrol and attend our school, and has
an expectation that a quality education will be provided. This is a challenge, but a challenge
that we don’t walk away from. No teacher at Ingham High aspires to
be a special education teacher working within a model that segregates
students for the purpose of learning. Special education training may be an
advantage, but it’s not a requirement for good pedagogy and quality
teaching and learning. An expert teaching team, given the right
resourcing and targeted and ongoing professional learning, will build the
capability to differentiate the delivery of the Australian curriculum. A whole school-approach supports all
students accessing support when and as required. No teacher walks into a
classroom expecting to find 25 young people with identical learning
needs and learning expectations. Teacher expertise is being able to
deliver a differentiated approach to meet the needs of
these learners. As Grant mentioned earlier, focus on the
data is a reference to the work of Lyn Sharratt and an approach we use at
Ingham State High School to highlight each learner is an individual. Every young person has a face and every
young person deserves that their face is recognised. In terms of facilities,
I’ve already mentioned the Ingham High architecture is not designed to support
physical access for students, or in fact clients, including parents and
caregivers, with physical disability. This is a major issue… DR MELLIFONT: Just slow – sorry
– just slow down a smidge. MS FENOGLIO: Sorry. MS PRICHARD: She gets excited. MS FENOGLIO: I do get excited. This is a major issue compounded by
asbestos and multistorey buildings and a random eclectic collection of pathways
and rooflines, which may or may not provide wet weather access around
certain parts of the school, a real complication for students
using electric wheelchairs. And I have one at the moment, I had two
recently and I have more coming next year. Ingham is noted for the prevalence
of wet weather, cyclones and flooding. And for that purpose we host a
cyclone shelter on our school grounds. Coming out of the Royal Commission, my
main interest is all around leadership. Within a secondary school setting,
a principal is assisted by deputy principals and
heads of department. Heads of special education sit parallel
to this organisational structure. At Ingham High we have informally
renamed our HOSES HOD Inclusive Practices, which nominally
addresses the complication. An inclusive schooling model requires a
head of department closely aligned with the school leadership team. This requires HR and industrial review
to rewrite the HOSES role description and associated award and employment
conditions to align with that of head of department colleagues. It is different and
it shouldn’t be. Segregated staffing models for teachers
and teacher aides also need to be removed, as currently we have students
allocated to SEP models which no longer exist. Quality leadership
enables transformational change. I seek a reunited commitment to enhance
leadership capability for school leaders to create high
performing-inclusive schools. I advocate to establish a system where
opportunities to provide principals with coaching to reflect on their
instructional leadership actions and synergise these with inclusive
practices is established and maintained. Consideration of a model of
instructional coaching to support principals and meet them at their
level of capability development offers targeted and ongoing support
until all barriers are challenged. Research suggests that schools are more
successful when leaders actively guide their school towards more inclusive
schooling practices and meet their specific responsibilities as equity
leaders to establish a strong foundation in student-centred planning, quality
curriculum and pedagogical practices. This is my blue sky dreaming. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. Chair, look, I will need to ask to be
able to sit another 10 minutes past 4.30 today, so that Ms Prichard and Mr Dale
are able to tell us what they wish. I can indicate that Ms McMillan
doesn’t have any crossexamination. Thank you. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: 10 minutes. DR MELLIFONT: Yes.
Thank you. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Very well. MS PRICHARD: I have six and
you’ve heard some of them. So the introduction of a more simplistic
and flexible resource model moving to an as-needs basis throughout the year
as a method of resource allocation to schools to support students with
disability and also our students with additional learning needs. Increase in the recognised and scope of
the EAP categories and NCCD as a method of resource allocation
for schools. And this is the mandatory training
one that I spoke earlier about. I think there should be an introduction
of an annual mandatory training for teaching and also for support staff in
the Disability Standards for Education. Review of our staffing allocation to
schools, resulting in an increased teacher allocation, that is directly
aligned to the complexity of student learning and behavioural needs. And that needs to be done
on student enrolment. To further support the growth of
teaching, which I would like to see in and across schools, an additional time
for our teachers to prepare for the instructional and the access adjustments
and modification for students with disability and to provide the
personalised learning required to fulfil those diverse capabilities
of each student. I would like to see a review of the
school-based medical practitioners, including our school nurses allocated
to schools, and the application process for our allied health services to
better support the daily medical and the toileting and feeding needs of
our students with disability. With – I would also like to – schools
to have a look at including targeted training for specific disabilities,
and including the universal design for learning the UDL framework and training
in trauma-informed practices to support our teachers with developing improved
capability to differentiate the teaching and learning, and also the effective
behaviour management and support for all of our students. And finally is to revisit and continue
to remain committed to the full implementation of the 17 recommendations
from the Disability Review. There needs to be accountability measures and quality assurance processes. They need to be explicit to ensure
implementation of the recommendations remain authentic and
also remain sustainable. DR MELLIFONT: Thank
you, Ms Prichard. Mr Dale? MR DALE: I won’t go over the many points
that have been covered and I fully support all of those points. Just from a holistic point of view to
start off with, I would really like to see that the Terms of Reference
of the Royal Commission be met. I think that is a – that’s – that’s the
first outcome that we need to get from the Royal Commission. With – with that being met, I’m sure
that we will have covered many of the other specific challenges that
have been mentioned already. In respect to education, though,
once again, thinking a little bit more holistically, I would like to see that
– that there’s a improved community perception of the role and purpose and
importance of schooling in Australia. I struggle with the amount of negative
media that schooling gets in Australia. I think we keep degrading
and downgrading the system. We need to talk positively. There’s some wonderful stories
happening right across Australia. We have fantastic kids. There’s plenty of
success stories. We need to be highlighting those and
making sure everyone can meet that high standard as well. That’s a possible outcome out
of the Royal Commission as well. And just supporting what’s been said
before, there’s some systemic and administration changes
that can occur. There’s – one of the ones that hasn’t
been mentioned today is about the ability to and ease of accessing data for diverse groups of
students within your school without doing so much interrogation
to get that data. That would be a system
I would like to see. And, of course, on the human resourcing
side – or the resourcing side of things to allow for that collaborative
work that’s happening at the moment. Probably my – my last observation, and
my last comment and something that I’m sort of proud of, is that I don’t
know what – who the students are with disabilities at my school. I – I used to know at previous schools
and when I first started at Thuringowa because they were the students that
sat on the table outside the special education unit
every lunchtime. I would see them. Now, I probably couldn’t identify
students that are – that are verified with a disability, or who exactly is on
the – the data list, and I think that’s an achievement in itself. So we’ve all started our improvement
journey and – and the Queensland Education Department is very much part
of that, that every student succeeding, and we tend not to talk
in labels any more. We talk about every student. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. So your last observation, just so we
make sure it’s not taken out of context, is, when you say you can’t identify
students within your school as having a disability, what you’re communicating
to the Commission is you now have such a process of inclusion within your school
that all students are part of the general cohort and
students are students? MR DALE: That’s exactly right. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. That’s the evidence. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Thank you
very much, each of you, for coming to the Commission and giving evidence and
expressing your views so clearly and, occasionally, forcefully. Thank you very much. DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. May we, as the Commission, extend our
gratitude to all of the witnesses who have given evidence today. They met and gave their time
to us last week as well. We’re very appreciative.
COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Yes. Thank you very much for
all that preparation. We do appreciate it. Thank you. McMILLAN: Might I also mention, if
I could, that the principals also came back early from their vacations in order
to access information on such short notice for the inquiry
to fulfil notices. So perhaps that
might be mentioned. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Yes. We add our further
appreciation for that. That seems the ultimate
sacrifice, I must say. Thank you. DR MELLIFONT: 10 am tomorrow
morning, you will have Ms Eastman of Senior Counsel.
I’ll be here too. And we will hear
from Ms Dunstone. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Is Ms
Dunstone the only witness for tomorrow? DR MELLIFONT: She is. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: And I think we
are planning to finish no later than 3.30 in the afternoon tomorrow. DR MELLIFONT: Yes. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: Very good.
DR MELLIFONT: Thank you. COMMISSIONER SACKVILLE: All right.
Thank you. We will adjourn until
10 am tomorrow. Thank you.

Cesar Sullivan

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