Menu

Education Today Logo


newsletter

Education Today Cover Browse Issue

Schools still gatekeeping disabled students

News Image

We’ve come a long way toward inclusion of disabled students in schools but we’re far from done. While a lot of schools are doing a great job with disabled students some, probably too many, are still actively blocking them from attending, effectively putting them in the too hard basket.

Over 70% of families in mainstream education to have been subject to gatekeeping and restrictive practices according to the report Gatekeeping and restrictive practices with students with disability: results of an Australian survey by Shiralee Poed, Kathy Cologon and Robert Jackson.

It says that ‘Choice’ of segregation is very understandable when parents are continually pressured to segregate, and provided with limited support and restrictive practices if they insist on continuing with the mainstream classroom.

The report states: “The data from the present study shows however that many families are advised that their child ‘will do better if segregated’ and ‘will not keep up with others’ as a rationale for removal from mainstream and that families are strongly encouraged into the segregated system. This is contrary to more than 40 years of research evidence showing that students who are included do better academically and socially than those who are segregated and that pullouts for special classes are detrimental.”

It wasn’t all bad though, positive qualitative comments generated by the survey included; “… management and staff at all levels are very much supportive of all abilities with special care and respect provided at all times.”

“The school initially tried to dissuade us from enrolling our child but once she was enrolled has done its best to be inclusive.”

“I visited two non-government and four government schools. … My son’s current non-government school is an exceptional example of inclusion for children with a disability, with a strong leadership…”

These contrasted with comments like: “The majority of government schools do not follow the Education Standards.”

“… the independent school that my son attends continue (sic) to deliberately dismiss following legislation.”

“… the only avenue for redress is for parents to make a case to the Discrimination Commissioner – this puts all the responsibility on parents who are already overwhelmed in many cases.”

This study showed significant levels of gatekeeping and restrictive practice all over Australia and no significant difference was found between Government and Private; Regional, Remote or Metropolitan; States; Primary and High school.

Says the report: “In short, the problem is large, systemic and causing considerable harm to families and students with disability. This problem will not be solved by minor adjustments to policy or practice. Major reform of education is needed to build a culture in all schools where all students belong, are valued and included in class lessons, with adjustments and support as needed, and seated with their peers."

Predictably, other students were a source of trouble: “In light of the reports of bullying and exclusion in the playground, it is essential that students are supported to build social connections and friendships, and provided with support to understand and embrace diversity and inclusion.”

Hmmm, not great.

 


20 Sep 2018
Recommendations to streamline teaching careers launched News Image

Recommendations provide clear steps to maintain or improve the high standards of the teaching profession, strengthen child safety, and streamline teacher registration across Australia. Read More

20 Sep 2018 | National
Who wins in new funding model? News Image

It’s now settled, parents’ incomes will be the basis of funding provided to schools, the approach is fairer but some sectors will be better off than others.
Read More

20 Sep 2018 | National
Funding changes postponed News Image

Minister Dan Tehan’s extension of 2018 funding arrangements to 2019 provides immediate certainty for schools planning for the new year, while allowing time for further work to be undertaken on the issue. Read More

19 Sep 2018 | National
Uni courses for the most profitable career News Image

The more things change the more they don’t, especially when it comes to graduate earning potential says the Grattan Institute’s Mapping Australian Higher Education report. Read More

19 Sep 2018 | National
Mentoring helps low SES students win at life News Image

The ABCN Foundation has been working with students from low-SES schools since 2005 and is the only organisation of its kind to offer the combination of mentoring and financial support. Read More