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Response to Open Letter published October 13th, 2017, LL4All

In response to the Open Letter, published October 13th, 2017, LL4All and ASEPA provide the following comments:

  • Purpose of LL4All: the signatories of the Open Letter appear to have misunderstood, misinterpreted and misconstrued the core purpose of LL4All. It is not a resource to provide the single, definitive way for school leaders to address inclusive practice. It constitutes a developmental tool for leaders, guided by the current Australian Professional Standard for Principals, the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and the Disability Standards in Education 2005, to assist in this complex, multi-layered task. In doing this it recognises a range of starting points, and that (for some leaders in some schools) promoting inclusive practice constitutes a challenge, as recently noted by Walsh* (2012):

 

“Predictably, a majority of respondents (64%) either agreed or strongly agreed that children with special needs place a burden on their classroom teacher. A majority (67%) also agreed or strongly agreed that children with special needs increased their own workload. Just under half of the respondents (43%) agreed or strongly agreed that children with special needs imposed a financial burden on the school, and 57 per cent agreed or strongly agreed that their school was not sufficiently resourced to include children with special needs”.

 

Walsh also affirms that:

Inclusion is multifaceted and complex, and the making of certain adjustments to assist a child may limit other aspects of their inclusion. For example, a child may require a dedicated teacher aide to enable them to access the curriculum and physically navigate the school environment, but this may also result in their feeling, and being perceived as, ‘different’

The complexities of educational inclusion, it should be noted, have been acknowledged by a number of the academic signatories to the Open Letter, in work authored, co-authored or otherwise sanctioned by them when acting in an editorial capacity.

 

  • Invitation to participate: at the outset of the project in July 2015 ASEPA as the initiator of the project wrote to the President of Australian Association of Special Education inviting them to collaborate on the development and refinement of these resources. That invitation was declined through direct reply. The website has continued to carry an invitation to provide further materials or enhancement to existing resources.

 

  • Liaison with LL4LL– only one of the signatories of the Open Letter has sought to engage directly with the resource developers. This occurred during the website launch, and is substantiated on the LL4All Twitter account. Subsequently, a public blog critical of LL4All appeared, but there was no direct engagement with LL4All. The LL4All Director wrote a response to the blog, posted this as a rejoinder and tweeted it.   The claim by the signatories that ‘These concerns have been raised more than once with the developers and each time this feedback has been ignored’ is thus factually and demonstrably inaccurate.

 

  • Range of Resources - LL4All has always sought to emphasise that a diverse range of resources are available to support inclusive practice and should be drawn upon as part of the professional learning it seeks to stimulate: “Leading Learning 4 All recognises that all states and territories in Australia have a wealth of published resources on aspects of students with disability and additional learning needs. For teachers and schools in individual jurisdictions these will constitute a first port of call”. LL4All has not been established to be the single source for information, guidance or professional development in respect of inclusive practice. It is a resource aimed at leadership development in schools. As such, care has been explicitly taken to reference specific materials to support leaders thinking: these are acknowledged as being continually subject to addition, review and ongoing scrutiny to ensure fitness for purpose.

 

  • Accessibility: as previously acknowledged in our response to the blog, dated May 16th 2017, the next version of the website will endeavour to address the highlighted accessibility issues. Our earlier response was clear: “LL4All will continue to evolve and in so doing will take account of the accessibility issues raised in the blog in our next version of the website”. This position and intent has not changed.

 

  • Evidence Base - The LL4All resources are informed by some of the key documents relating to school leadership and inclusive practice. LL4All uses these core links to substantive materials: for example, the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (2009), the ARACY report, Inclusive Education for Students with Disability (2013), Held Back – a Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission Report (2012) and the Shut-Out report (2009). All are authoritative sources pointing to the key challenge (for leaders to promote and develop communities of inclusive learning practice) that LL4ALL seeks to address.

 

  • Focus on leadership development: the LL4All resource provides a dedicated space in which school leaders can reflect on their current practices in respect of building communities of inclusive learning practice. Its premise is based on there being a paucity of professional development resources explicitly directed to school leaders and inclusive practices. LL4All operates in the belief that school leaders should be integral to these conversations and developments to help and guide all the school community in their critical role of meeting their obligations under the Disability Standards Education 2005.

 

  • Illustrations of practice as starting points: the videos contain verbatim quotations from practitioners in schools. They are the personal interpretations of practitioners, who are at various points on a pathway. They exemplify their stages of development, rather than defining a fixed view. They have not been presented as ‘best practice’ examples. They provide a basis for discussion regarding the shortcomings and advantages of a given practice and a stimulus for professional learning to refine that approach. Furthermore, the video extracts are real life examples, produced by practitioners themselves as a way of illustrating the range of actions they attempt to secure equal access for all learners: they do not represent rehearsed, scripted or professionally produced exemplification. This is consistent with LL4All’s commitment to promoting a ‘community of inclusive learning practice’, with the school leader as a prime catalyst. This recognises that inclusive practice represents a journey rather than a point of arrival: it is complex in its theoretical and practical implications, as noted recently by Boyle et al **(2015):

 

Who determines what inclusion means for a particular student? Attempts to define inclusive education often result in complicated explanations about what it does and does not look like, rather than offering a fixed concept

 

Finally, the website has been accessed and used by over 15,000 viewers; LL4All can supply evidence from a cross-section of these users which provides unsolicited acknowledgement of the professional benefits of the resource and its direct utilisation in schools and classrooms across Australia and beyond.

LL4All will continue to strive to engage collaboratively with school leaders and those who seek to support them in the complex but essential task of meeting the learning needs of all students.

 

                                                                       

Lorraine Hodgson  

National President ASEPA 

Fiona Forbes

Director Leading Learning 4 All

October 24th 2017

 

 

* Walsh, T. (2012) Adjustments, accommodation and inclusion: children with disabilities in Australian primary schools. International Journal of Law and Education, 17 2: 23-38.

**(Boyle/Anderson / Swayn (http://theconversation.com/australia-lags-behind-the-evidence-on-special-schools-41343)

 

ASEPA CONFERENCE 2018 - Call for ABSTRACTS closes in 2 weeks

With only two weeks to go until the close of the Call for Abstracts for the 2018 ASEPA National Conference, time is running out to submit your presentation and be a part of the Conference program. Don't miss your opportunity to be a part of the celebrations acknowledging the 20th anniversary of the establishment of ASEPA.

The 2018 ASEPA National Conference will be held at the Stamford Grand Hotel, Glenelg, from the 16th - 18th May, 2018. Join us in South Australia as a concurrent presenter by submitting an abstract that addresses the Conference theme:

'Turning Tides, Inspiring Minds'

Types of Submissions

The Conference Organising Committee aims to create a Conference program with a mix of the following presentation types:

Workshops (45 mins)

Conference Posters

Conference Streams

The Conference Organising Committee is seeking submissions relating to the following Conference streams:

Pedagogy

Focusing on contemporary pedagogical practices

Innovation

Focusing on the role of the leader in supporting and directing the school

Research

Focusing on engagement of staff as learners in the school setting

Call for Abstract Guidelines & Submission

For more information about the Call for Conference Abstracts, please download the 'Call for Abstracts Guideline' document by clicking here.

Authors must set up an online submission portal login and will be able to save draft versions of their abstract/s prior to the close date.

All submissions must be completed by no later than Friday, 29th September, 2017

Please ensure you have downloaded and reviewed the Call for Conference Abstracts guidelines provided above, prior to starting your submission.

To start your submission, please click here.

Submissions - Review to Achieve Educational Excellence

The public submission process for the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools (the Review) is now open and will close at 5 pm AEDST on 13 October 2017.

The Review panel, led by Mr David Gonski AC, will examine the evidence base and provide advice on the most effective and efficient use of funding to improve school performance and student achievement and prepare Australia’s young people for a lifetime of opportunity in a rapidly changing world.

An issues paper has been prepared and contains questions to stimulate ideas about how educational outcomes can be improved for all students, including disadvantaged and vulnerable students and academically advanced students.  To view the issues paper, lodge your submission, and for more information on the Review, please visit the website at: www.education.gov.au/educationalexcellencereview

WAESPAA SHOWCASE

Merrilee Wright WAESPAA President, The Hon Sue Ellery WA Education Minister, and Lorraine Hodgson ASEPA President at the WAESPAA Showcase.

ASEPA Board and Management Committee Meeting

The Board and Management Committee of ASEPA met at a face to face meeting in Melbourne on Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 August. 

The Board worked on setting the strategic guidance for the company with consultation with the Management Committee leading to the development of draft actions and draft strategic plan for ASEPA 2018-2020.

More information will be provided shortly.

International Confederation of Principals (ICP) Conference

Brain Waves of Change 2017

www.icpconference.com 

Education needs to be RE-IMAGINED.  21st century school leaders must possess four essential skills. They must be able to problem solve and make decisions. The ability to stay cool under pressure will determine their capacity to cope. Collaboration, co-operations and networking is a necessity and they have to be masters of facilitating change.

Neuroscience is changing the way we understand how the brain learns and retains data.  Empathy rich learning environments are creating a space where every student can become a change maker. And change is badly needed in our world.

Cape Town is calling

If any country has experienced change – it is South Africa. Our story, our history is one of struggle, hardship, effort, failure, change and success.  It is a country of inhabitants with GRIT, passion and perseverance for long term goals – this is lived out daily by many in our country. Today we are learning that the brain is malleable. It too can change. Experts continue to teach that the environment of the school building – those non-cognitive factors – contribute to 75% of our success as adults. We have invited world-class speakers to create some winds of change. Together we will explore the latest research regarding how the brain learns using our senses. We will discover that without PLAY we will never develop CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION.  We will explore MINDSETS and what makes people GRITTY.  But most of all, we will put our minds together and share best practice on how to balance, stand up and surf these new waves of change. No matter what your role in education, there’s a wave for you to catch at this conference.

ACER Research Conference 2017

https://www.acer.org/research-conference

Research Conference 2017

Leadership for Improving Learning: Insights from research

27-29 August, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre

WAESPAA CONFERENCE 2017

We are delighted to announce the 2017 Western Australian Education Support Principal and Administrators’ Association Conference, High Care Leadership which will be held from Thursday, 24th August to Friday 25th August, 2017. This Conference is our premier professional learning event for 2017 and will include presentations from local and national experts.  https://www.waespaa.com.au/

National Board and Executive Council Meeting

The Board of ASEPA will meet face to face on August 21 and the Board and Executive Council will meet face to face in Melbourne on August 22.