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Inclusive Education

Townsville Catholic Education (TCE) is committed to establishing and maintaining inclusive practices to meet the diverse needs of our students. Inclusive practices are integral to the ethos of our Catholic schools.

The Principles of inclusive practice recognise

  • practice that is informed by Catholic social teaching, legislative requirements, educational philosophy and societal expectations 
  • the uniqueness and the diversity of students as children of God 
  • the need for belonging within a community underpinned by respectful relationships 
  • a whole school approach to planning, curriculum development and school organisation 
  • access to reasonable differentiated resources and learning opportunities, to enable all students to engage purposefully, and to experience learning success.

Support for students with a disability

Our schools meet their obligations under the Disability Standards for Education 2005  to ensure that all students with disability (as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 ) are able to participate in the Australian Curriculum on the same basis as their peers through rigorous, meaningful and dignified learning programs. 

Inclusion is:

  • All students are able to access and  participate in all aspects of school life, including events beyond the classroom such as in assemblies, school excursions, concerts and other extracurricular events.
  • All students are learning the same age-appropriate curriculum, with necessary support and adjustments.
  • Parents, students, and school staff working in partnership to determine the appropriate adjustments the student requires to enable them to participate fully in the school and classroom environment.

School Based Personnel

The Inclusive Practice Teacher

Inclusive Practice Teachers work cooperatively and in collaboration with school leadership personnel, teachers, other student support services team members and parents/carers to ensure that students with disability in primary and secondary schools across the Diocese are supported to engage purposefully in learning. The role holder will work to develop the capability within schools to cater for the diversity of these learners within the school population.

IPT’s provide a range of supports which include:

  • Provide advice and guidance about the provision of supports for students with disabilities
  • Collaborate with school staff to ensure students with disability have access to a relevant and rigorous curriculum
  • Build staff capability through coaching, observation and feedback to identify and implement educational adjustments
  • Establish and maintain effective collaborative relationships with relevant stakeholders to ensure their participation in goal setting, planning and decision making for students with disabilities
  • Assist with implementation of Townsville Catholic Education Office (TCEO) policies and initiatives, including teaching and learning programs and review of educational goals
  • Contribute to various educational team meetings and IEP meetings to help guide programs and practices aligned to student needs
  • Provide advocacy for students with disability
  • Providing support and advice to parents as necessary, in consultation and partnership with teacher
  • Work inclusively to contribute to broader areas of curriculum development and whole school directions as well as the planning for and considered use of resources
  • Assist class teachers with the identification of students who require referral to Student Support Service or Inclusive Education services where they may be eligible
The School Officer

The primary purpose of the School Officer - Assisting Student Learning is to contribute to the provision of a quality educational service by collaborating with teachers and student support services to provide support and guidance which assists students in their learning and development. The School Officer - Assisting Student Learning provides efficient and high-quality support to teachers with the preparation and/or enhancement of learning materials for learning and teaching and ensure all duties are completed to an acceptable standing as determined by the classroom teacher, student support services and Principal. School officers assist: 

  • Student’s learning and participation in school
  • Learning and teaching
  • Inclusive education 
  • Small group and Personalised support 
  • Pastoral care

Townsville Catholic Education Office Personnel

The Advisory Visiting Specialist:Hearing Impairment (AVS:HI)

Our Advisory Visiting Specialists - Hearing Impairment offer specialist educational support for students from Prep to Year 12 who have a hearing loss. We support students in their local schools so they remain connected to their community, and we support individual programs to enhance their resilience in the hearing world. Working alongside teachers and students assists with building capacity to ensure our students can succeed.

Depending on the individual needs of the students, AVS HIs can:

  • Provide professional learning for teachers and classroom peers
  • Work with families in partnership
  • Be a partner in planning for personalised learning
  • Assist with adjustments to the curriculum to enable full participation
  • Provide Deaf mentors to support in schools to enhance students language and cultural identity
  • Provide Technology support for assistive listening devices
  • Connect with Auslan interpreters
The Advisory Visiting Specialist: Inclusion (AVS:I)

Our Advisory Visiting Specialists - Inclusion are committed to ensuring that students with disability have equal access to learning that will optimise their learning potential. AVS-I work cooperatively and in collaboration with TCE personnel, school leadership personnel, teachers, other Inclusive Education and Student Support Services team members and parent/carers to ensure that students with disability in primary and secondary schools are supported to access a safe and quality education. 

The role of AVS-I is to:

  • Help optimise the educational opportunities, engagement and learning outcomes for students with the highest educational needs.
  • Enhance collaboration with other professional support staff to ensure expertise from a range of services.
  • Ensure learners have access to a relevant curriculum and effective instruction within a positive inclusive learning environment.

AVS-Is focus on working with those leading and supporting inclusive education in schools through: 

  • Providing advice and guidance 
  • Collaboration and consultation
  • Building staff capability through coaching, observation and feedback
  • Providing professional learning
  • Assist with the implementation of TCEO policies and initiatives.  
  • Establishing and maintaining effective relationships and participation in meetings
  • Modelling of effective pedagogical strategies
The Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)

The Speech Language Pathologists are dedicated to providing specialist support in the areas of communication and literacy development for students, parents and staff of our Catholic schools. 

Speech pathologists work with students who:

  • are difficult to understand when speaking
  • have difficulty with understanding language (eg. questions, instructions)
  • have difficulty expressing themselves with words (e.g. telling stories, explaining things)
  • stutter
  • have a husky, hoarse or nasal voice
  • have difficulty with eating and drinking
  • have a Developmental Language Disorder
  • have an EAP verified Speech Language Impairment 
  • have complex communication needs (e.g. who are non-verbal or minimally verbal)
  • have difficulty with literacy
  • have difficulty with social skills

Speech pathologists provide support through:

  • Screening of student’s skills in the areas of speech, language, voice, fluency (stuttering) and/or literacy development with provision of recommendations and reporting.
  • Formal Speech and Language assessment and reporting.
  • Development and monitoring of communication supports for individuals, small groups and whole class, embedded within the learning expectations.
  • Professional development opportunities for staff and information sessions for parents.
  • Providing an advisory service to schools around the use and implementation of whole class and small group programs for literacy / language / speech development.
  • Consultation and collaboration on Townsville Catholic Education Office initiatives, including pilot projects, data collection and advisory committees.
  • Working  with school leaders, class teachers, support teachers, school officers, parents/carers and other Inclusive Education and Student Support Services team members to remove communication and literacy barriers to help students participate at school and achieve their educational goals.
The Occupational Therapist (OT)

The Occupational Therapist is dedicated to delivering high quality occupational therapy support, which addresses barriers to student learning and enhances education outcomes. The Occupational Therapist works collaboratively to: 

  • Provide consultative occupational therapy services and resources to assist school leaders and staff, parents, and other professional peers to develop knowledge and skills to support students with disability.
  • Build staff capability through coaching, observation and feedback to identify and implement educational adjustments.
  • Screening or formal assessments occur within the school environment and information profiling each student’s strengths and concerns is provided to the school and parents
  • Develop evidence-based occupational therapy interventions that include proactive, targeted and intensive strategies
  • Collaborate effectively to create partnerships within the school community to optimise the quality of service outcomes.
  • Participate as an active team member in a number of educational teams with particular emphasis on the delivery of occupational therapy services as part of the educational program and towards educational outcomes.
The Guidance Counsellor

Guidance Counsellors are dedicated to providing counselling, student support, classroom support and assessment services to all Catholic schools across the Townsville Diocese. Through their collaboration with Catholic Education Office, school leadership personnel, teachers, parents and students the following services may be available:

  • Support to school staff to assist with planning and programming strategies for students who require significant adjustments to their learning.
  • Support for students with disabilities - this may include seeking external assistance and access to personalised learning.
  • Developing behaviour support strategies for students in collaboration with school staff and parents.
  • Liaising with staff from the Inclusive Education team to promote a multidisciplinary approach to support positive outcomes for our students. 
  • Facilitating counselling to students with personal, social and emotional needs.
  • Liaising with health professionals to meet student needs which may include referral to external agencies for additional support and mental health assessment.
  • Facilitating and administering appropriate assessments.
  • Providing professional development to staff regarding student health and wellbeing and classroom support.
  • Providing parent information regarding student educational needs and wellbeing.
  • Assisting with school planning in relation to important student transitions, key pastoral issues and development over their schooling.

Queensland Department of Education

The Queensland Department of Education supports non-state schools by providing a range of disability specific supports and services. 

For students with physical and/or vision impairments this includes: 

  • Advisory Visiting Teachers (AVT)—are departmental teachers with specialist knowledge and skills in the above disability areas. The main role of the AVT is to support school staff to make reasonable adjustments to support the student's education program so they access, participate and achieve. 
  • Students with disability equipment loan and trial service—provides a collection of specialised equipment that schools can loan to support students to access and participate at school.
  • Vision impairment services—provide expert, advisory and direct services to schools to support the educational achievement of students with vision impairment. Non-state schools can access:
    • Alternative Format Library—produces and loans a range of alternative format learning materials to support students with vision impairment to access and participate in their learning. This includes providing learning materials in braille, large print and audio; tactile kits and picture books for literacy; and tactile resources for science, mathematics, music, and humanities and social sciences.
    • Education Low Vision Assessment Centre—assists school teams to understand a student's functional use of their vision in educational environments and determine appropriate reasonable adjustments.

For students with Autism this includes:

  • Schools and parents can access the Autism Hub for advice about support for students with Autism.

Students with Disability Funding 

TCE schools receive funding to support schools to meet their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education 2005. However a school’s requirement to make reasonable adjustments is not dependent or conditional on the availability of funding. 

The funding model allows for flexibility around resourcing required to support the provision of additional support for students with disability. This funding is provided directly to schools to support the provision of resources that will deliver high quality outcomes for all students. The use of the funding does not define or limit the support provided by a school for a student with disability. Schools are required to consider all resources available to them when planning for all students in their care, including students with disability. 

Nationally Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD):

The Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (the national data collection) is an annual collection that counts the number of school students receiving an adjustment due to disability and the level of reasonable adjustment they are receiving. Funding from the Australian Federal Government for students with disability is based on the NCCD through the student with disability loading. For further information regarding the NCCD visit the NCCD website or the NCCD Fact Sheet for Parents.