The Education of Students with Disabilities and Other Special Needs

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					                                                                                                         January 2010

         The Education of Students with
       Disabilities and Other Special Needs
This document is issued for general guidance only. It does not constitute professional advice. The issues with which it deals are complex and the document
necessarily deals only with general principles. No reader should rely on this document for the purpose of making a decision as to action but should seek the
appropriate advice from the Union on the particular circumstances of that reader. The Union accepts no responsibility for the consequences should any person
act in reliance on this document without obtaining the appropriate advice from the Union.

The QTU is conscious of the increased societal                                          the maintenance and enhancement of a range
awareness and support for the inclusion of                                               of services and placement options;
students with disabilities into mainstream or                                           the establishment of a recognised, effective
regular classrooms. The QTU understands the                                              and efficient process for enrolment and
philosophical and educational reasons for a more                                         inclusion;
inclusive approach to education and is broadly                                          the development of an adequate placement
supportive of such moves.                                                                review process;
                                                                                        the development and resourcing of inter-
The QTU reaffirms its belief that public education                                       agency     support     networks    and   case
systems need to maintain a range of services and                                         management;
types of educational settings to ensure that the                                        the institution of fair dispute resolution
needs of all students are properly addressed. In                                         procedures;
all settings there is a need to ensure both the                                         the protection of teachers and other education
adequate provision of resources and curriculum                                           workers' working conditions and occupational
appropriate to the student.                                                              health and safety;
                                                                                        increased     provision    of   training  and
The enrolment of students with disabilities (and                                         professional development for teachers and
other special needs) should take place with a                                            other educational workers; and
process which:                                                                          individual planning processes that are
 ensures the most appropriate placement of                                              supported by the provision of adequate
   the student;                                                                          support staff and adequate levels of planning
 takes note of the professional judgement of                                            time for teachers.
   teachers and other professionals;
 involves the parents and takes note of their                                      Provision of Services to Students with
   wishes; and                                                                      Disabilities and Other Special Needs
 takes note of the needs of all students in any
                                                                                    A staffing model must be developed for students
   educational setting.
                                                                                    with special educational needs that is fully
                                                                                    funded, transparent, flexible and needs-based.
Such a process should acknowledge that the
placement of students depends on a number of
                                                                                    The QTU believes that a system of allocating
factors, and is not purely a matter of individual
                                                                                    staffing must include identification of and
parent decision.
                                                                                    provision for the needs of not only students with
Adequate Standards of Educational                                                   low incidence disabilities but also students with
Provision                                                                           learning difficulties or learning disabilities,
                                                                                    students who demonstrate significant behavioural
The QTU does not believe that current Education                                     or adjustment difficulties or students with
Queensland policies relating to the enrolment of                                    significant medical or psychiatric conditions.
students with special educational needs
adequately addresses the issues noted above.                                        The QTU has grave concerns about a fixed growth
                                                                                    model of staffing for students with disabilities
The QTU commits itself to a continued campaign                                      which “caps” the overall level of resources
for the following goals:                                                            available for students with disabilities. This
 the provision of adequate levels of resources;                                    approach represents an ongoing threat to the
                                                                                    provision of services to students with disabilities.

              Authorised by John Battams, General Secretary, Qld Teachers' Union, P O Box 1750, Milton BC Qld 4064
                     Web: Email: Phone: 07 3512 9000 Fax: 07 3512 9050
The Education of Students with Disabilities and Other Special Needs – January 2010                                     Page 2 of 2

                                                                       resource provision, to provide an appropriate
A further concern is the Educational Adjustment                        program for children with special needs.
Program (EAP). The EAP has:
     made staffing/resourcing for students                            The QTU commits itself to work towards the best
        with disabilities less transparent,                            possible working conditions for teachers and the
     increased        teacher     workloads and                       best possible learning conditions for the students
        responsibilities, and                                          with special educational needs in their care.
     included accountability mechanisms that
        are arcane and onerous.                                        The QTU supports members who choose not to
                                                                       provide or to withdraw programs based on a
Staffing for students with special educational                         determination by the QTU members at a school
needs should be capable of being adjusted based                        that the level of resources and support at the
on changes evidenced by enrolment data and                             school are inadequate to the needs of the student
other relevant data.     Provision for staffing                        or students and/or the situation poses an
adjustments should form a part of the budget                           imminent health and safety risk.
allocation for the Department of Education and
Training.                                                              The process which should be followed in these
                                                                       cases is:
A staffing model for students with special                              The school should attempt to address the
educational needs should have as one of its                               issue through the established Departmental
purposes the facilitation of reduced class size in                        processes.
the classrooms in which these students are                              Where these processes do not adequately
enrolled. In-service funding to maintain the                              address the concerns of staff, the QTU
professional development of the staff must be                             organiser should be contacted for advice and
recognised as an integral feature of any provision                        support.
of service. The level of support and advisory                           If the situation remains unsatisfactory, and
services provided to students with special                                based on QTU advice, a meeting of QTU
educational needs (eg by AVTs) should be                                  members at the school may be convened (with
consistent across the state.                                              a QTU officer in attendance if possible) to
                                                                          consider whether to ask for a directive from
Most Advantageous Environment                                             the QTU Executive "not to provide instruction"
                                                                          to the relevant student or students and setting
The QTU strongly endorses the principle of "the
                                                                          out any conditions under which this directive
most advantageous environment".
                                                                          would be lifted.
Central to the concept of most advantageous
environment        is  a     recognition      and
acknowledgment that certain students, for brief or
extended periods, require developmental or
educational programs other than those which can
be provided by teachers with standard training in
a regular setting.

The QTU strongly opposes any reorganisation of
services which would eliminate facilities which
have a specific identity, rationale, status and role
in providing special education services to
students in schools.
Support for Members
The role of the QTU is to protect and enhance the
working conditions of teachers in Queensland. In
doing this it also supports the industrial and
professional rights of teachers to make decisions
in consultation with students, their families and
other service providers about the programs and
resources most appropriate to the needs of
students with special educational needs. This
includes the right of teachers to acknowledge
their inability, as a result of inadequate training or

                Authorised by John Battams, General Secretary, Qld Teachers' Union, P O Box 1750, Milton BC Qld 4064
                       Web: Email: Phone: 07 3512 9000 Fax: 07 3512 9050

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