Schools for All Program
The Education Directorate has begun a three year program of system reform, the Schools for All Program. The Program has been established to progress work related to the 2015 report Schools for All Children and Young People: Report of the Expert Panel on Students with Complex Needs and Challenging Behaviour.
It not only aims to implement the 50 recommendations of the Expert Panel but most importantly to continue our ambitious, evidence based, and single-minded, 'whatever it takes' student-centred vision that:
- gives priority to each student's needs in education policy and practice in our schools;
- is derived from policy and research on child and adolescent development, pedagogy, neuroscience and family and community studies;
- reflects a pervasive and unrelenting focus on student needs and outstanding student centred practice that will benefit all students, particularly those with complex needs and challenging behaviours;
- reflects the value of involving and including the broader community in school responses for the benefit of all students.
The first year of work will focus on implementing the 50 recommendations with the next two years focused on ensuring that change is sustainable and effective. We will know we have succeeded when every teacher, school leader, support staff member, central office employee, parent/carer and student sees the issues posed by students with complex needs and challenging behaviour not as a problem but as an opportunity, invitation and challenge to further exemplify the inclusive vision of all ACT schools.
What’s New | Governance | Program documentation | Schools for All PowerPoint presentation | Schools for All Projects | Schools for All Fortnightly Updates | Parent/Carer Forums | Disability Education Reference Group | Principal Advisory Group | Expert Panel | Expert Panel Report | ACT Government Response to the Expert Panel Report | Frequently Asked Questions | Contact Us
Two governance bodies have been established for the Program:
- An independent Oversight Group will oversee the implementation of the 50 recommendations until December 2016.
- A Program Board has been established to monitor and review progress of implementation of the Schools for All Program over the broader three years.
Minister’s Oversight Group
An independent Oversight Group has been established to oversee the implementation of the recommendations until December 2016, after which the Program Board will assume responsibility for monitoring the broader program. The membership of this Oversight Group comprises:
- Ms Carol Lilley (chair) - Chair, Directorate Audit Committee and independent Audit Committee member for other Commonwealth Government Department Committees.
- Ms Philippa Godwin - Head of the Child Support Agency, Department of Human Services, Deputy Secretary, Child Support and Planning.
- Mr Ian Claridge - education consultant with over 37 years experience in education
The Oversight Group will meet in March, June, September and December 2016.
The Terms of Reference for the Oversight Group can be found here.
The Terms of Reference for the Oversight Group (268kb)
- Executive Summary May 2017 (206kb)
- Education Directorate May 2017 (711kb)
- Catholic Education May 2017 (935kb)
- Association of Independent Schools June 2017 (637kb)
- Executive Summary September 2017 (602kb)
- Education Directorate September 2017 (678kb)
- Catholic Education September 2017 (946kb)
- Association of Independent Schools September 2017 (594kb)
- Executive Summary December 2017 (317kb)
- Education Directorate December 2017 (406kb)
- Catholic Education December 2017 (305kb)
- Association of Independent Schools December 2017 (128kb)
- Education Minister Media Release 3 June 2016
- 1st Quarterly Executive Summary March 2016 (735kb)
- 1st Quarterly Report to the Oversight Group March 2016 (940kb)
- 1st Quarterly Report to the Oversight Group March 2016 (744kb)
- Schools for All Oversight Group 2nd Quarterly Executive Summary (671kb)
- Recommendation Traffic Light Report (436kb)
- EDU 2nd Quarterly Report - June 2016 (954kb)
- Catholic Education 2nd Quarterly Report - June 2016 (812 b)
- Association of Independent Schools of the ACT Quarterly Report - June 2016 (485kb)
- The Therapy in Specialist Schools action research was a joint project between Black Mountain School, Cranleigh School and Therapy ACT.
Summary of Therapy Action Research Project Final Report (43kb)
Summary of Therapy Action Research Project Final Report (107kb)
- Schools for All Executive Summary 3rd Quarter Reports (573kb)
- Schools for All Recommendation Traffic Light Report (432kb)
- Schools for All EDU 3rd Quarter Reports (940kb)
- Schools for All Catholic Education 3rd Quarter Reports (927kb)
- Schools for All Association of Independent Schools of the ACT 3rd Quarter Reports (748kb)
- Schools for All Executive Summary 4th Quarter Reports (699kb)
- Schools for All EDU 4th Quarter Reports (1Mb)
- Schools for All Catholic Education 4th Quarter Reports (977kb)
- Schools for All Association of Independent Schools of the ACT 4th Quarter Reports (729kb)
End of Year Report
The Program Board is responsible for reviewing, providing feedback to and endorsing quarterly Progress Reports to the Oversight Group for the Minister for Education. The Program Board will assume responsibility for monitoring the broader program when the Oversight Group ceases on 16 December 2016.
The Program Board is chaired by the Director General, Education Directorate. The membership of this Board comprises:
- Ms Natalie Howson - Director General Education Directorate;
Director General Community and Services Directorate;
- Mr Andrew Wrigley - Executive Director Association of Independent Schools ACT;
- Ms Maree Williams - Director Catholic Education.
The Terms of Reference for the Program Board can be found here.
The Terms of Reference for the Program Board (288kb)
The Program Plan details the background, Program description, Program oversight, governance and stakeholder management and communication
Communication Strategy and Action Plan
Stakeholder interest in the Schools for All Program is high and has a wide reach. Effective change management and engagement of all key stakeholders is critical to the success of this Program. A communication strategy and action plan has been developed to:
- Inform key stakeholders about the progress towards achieving the 50 recommendations;
- Encourage and support schools and families to meet the needs of students with complex needs and challenging behaviours;
- Build stakeholder understanding to enable them to engage with the system reform required to sustain cultural change; and
- Prepare stakeholders for new policy, processes and programs arising from the system reform.
The Communication Strategy and Action Plan is a ‘living’ document and will be updated throughout the duration of the Program to reflect changes in communication focus and events.
Schools for All Projects
The 50 recommendations have been grouped under ten projects across the Directorate. This aligns naturally with where the work sits and will enable a cohesive and streamlined approach to delivery.
- Project 1: Appropriate Use of Restrictive Practice and Withdrawal Spaces Project
- Project 2: Suspensions and Alternative School Settings Project
- Project 3: Allied Health and Specialist Support Program
- Project 4: Policies, Procedures and Data Project
- Project 5: Professional Learning and Support for Staff Project
- Project 6: Student Centred Appraisal of Need Project
- Project 7: Universal School Based Interventions Project
- Project 8: Student Voice Project
- Project 9: Children, Young People and Families Project
- Project 10: Learning and Teaching Project
For a full breakdown of projects refer to the A3 Projects on a Page document.
Endorsed Projects on a Page - Schools for All (236kb)
Project 1: Appropriate Use of Restrictive Practice and Withdrawal Spaces Project
This project aims to ensure that all ACT Government schools have safe and accessible withdrawal spaces which meet ACT Government standards or guidelines and principles of universal design.
It relates to the following recommendations: 3.1, 8.1, 11.1, 11.2, 11.3, and 15.6.
Project 2: Suspensions and Alternative School Settings Project
This project aims to ensure that ACT students at risk of disengagement from school have alternative options for education; and to ensure that schools and families are aware of all education options open to students in the ACT through access to clear, accessible public information.
It relates to the following recommendations: 7.4, 7.5, 11.4, 11.5, 11.6, and 11.7.
Project 3: Allied Health and Specialist Support Program
This project aims to ensure that students with additional needs are well supported to engage in education and that schools are resourced to appropriately accommodate the needs of all students.
It relates to the following recommendations: 7.2, 7.3, 10.1, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, 12.1, 12.6, and 12.7
Project 4: Policies, Procedures and Data Project
This project aims to enable school leaders and staff to understand and comply with their core legal obligations with respect to human rights, discrimination, work health and safety, and privacy, through the review and development of policies, guidelines and procedures relating to students with complex needs and challenging behaviour.
The project also aims to ensure that the Education Directorate evaluates the outcomes for students with complex needs and challenging behaviour, and evaluates stakeholder satisfaction of programs to inform ongoing improvement.
It relates to the following recommendations: 3.2, 4.1, 10.6, 15.3, and 15.4.
Project 5: Professional Learning and Support for Staff Project
This project aims to meet the ever changing needs of students, with a particular focus on those with complex needs and challenging behaviours through ongoing capability development of the workforce.
It relates to the following recommendations: 10.7, 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 13.4, 13.5, 13.6, and 13.7
Project 6: Student Centred Appraisal of Need Project
This project aims to ensure that the Student Centred Appraisal of Need (SCAN) and funding allocation systems to support students with disability in Canberra public schools are: effective; in line with current practice; proportionate and meet the needs of students, schools and families.
It relates to the following recommendation: 14.1.
Project 7: Universal School Based Interventions Project
This project aims to ensure that schools undertake evidence-based, whole-school approaches to positive behaviour support and student wellbeing which supports cultural change required to sustain long-term system changes.
It relates to the following recommendations: 6.1 and 9.1.
Project 8: Student Voice Project
This project aims to ensure that schools and the Directorate actively engage with students and incorporate their feedback in service delivery and improvement.
It relates to the following recommendations: 6.2 and 15.1.
Project 9: Children, Young People and Families Project
This project aims to strengthen partnerships between Education Directorate, Catholic Education, Association of Independent Schools ACT, Community Services Directorate and ACT Health to ensure that service provision with respect to children and young people with complex needs and challenging behaviour, and their families, is offered in a strategic and client focused manner and demonstrates effective communication among all parties. The Education Directorate will support innovation in ACT schools through the establishment of a ‘Challenge Funding’ Program to provide tangible support for cross‐sector collaborations involving students, parents/carers and/or others to share innovative approaches for students with complex needs and challenging behaviour.
This project also aims to develop and implement a range of options to ensure that primary school students with very challenging behaviours are able to access an appropriate educational setting that provides them with appropriate behavioural support and therapeutic intervention. The Directorate will also investigate the feasibility of a ‘Schools as a Hub’ project to assist schools in key areas of social disadvantage to develop multiagency outreach services on site.
It relates to the following recommendations: 6.4, 7.1, 12.2, 12.3, 12.5, and 15.5.
Project 10: Learning and Teaching Project
This project aims to:
- develop and promote practical resources to assist all schools to effectively engage with parents/carers of students with complex needs and challenging behaviours
- release the report on the evaluation of the Early Childhood Schools and Koori Pre‐schools once completed to shape ongoing improvement
- complement the reporting of student's academic performance with reports on student progress toward the personal and social-emotional goals listed in school's vision statements and strategic plans.
It relates to the following recommendations: 6.3, 12.4, and 15.2.
For a full description of each recommendation refer to the Expert Panel Report (1.9Mb)
Schools for All Program Presentation
Below is a PowerPoint presentation that provides a visual overview of the Schools for All Program.
Schools for All Fortnightly Updates
- Update #1 (119kb)
- Update #2 (112kb)
- Update #3 (112kb)
- Update #4 (113kb)
- Update #5 (112kb)
- Update #6 (81kb)
- Update #7 (85kb)
- Update #8 (86kb)
Parents/Carers of students in ACT public schools are invited to attend quarterly forums to hear more about the progress of the Schools for All Program throughout the year. The first Parent/Carers Forum was held on Wednesday 16 March 2016.
Please note that there is no need to book to attend a Forum - just turn up and join in.
Dates for future forums are:
Forum 2 Wednesday 15 June 2016
- 9:30 - 10:30 Hedley Beare Centre for Teaching and Learning, Fremantle Drive, Stirling (Mezzanine)
- 5:30pm - 6:30pm UC High School Kaleen, Baldwin Drive, Kaleen (Library)
Forum 3 Thursday 15 September 2016
- 9:30am - 10:30am UC High School Kaleen, Baldwin Drive, Kaleen (Library)
- 5:30pm - 6:30pm Hedley Beare Centre for Teaching and Learning, Fremantle Drive, Stirling (Mezzanine)
Forum 4 Thursday 17 November 2016
- 9:30 - 10:30 Hedley Beare Centre for Teaching and Learning, Fremantle Drive, Stirling (Mezzanine)
- 5:30pm - 6:30pm UC High School Kaleen, Baldwin Drive, Kaleen (Library)
Disability Education Reference Group
The Disability Education Reference Group (DERG) is a community consultative forum convened by the Director-General of the Education Directorate. The reference group provides an opportunity for the community to have an important role in formulating advice to the Directorate on the education of students with a disability in ACT public schools.
The Reference Group’s functions are:
- to provide strategic advice to the Director-General of the Education Directorate (ED) in reference to the education of students with a disability;
- to be a forum for the community to provide information to the Director-General ED relating to the education of students with a disability;
- to be involved in projects, as required, to support the development and the implementation of the Education Directorate’s Disability Education Strategic Plan.
The Schools for All Program is a standing item on the Agenda.
Principals’ Advisory Group
The Principals' Advisory Group, formerly the School Network Reference Group, is a communication and consultation group. The Principals' Advisory Group considers key strategic policy and operational matters and provides advice to the Corporate Executive and Senior Executive Team. The group raises policy and operational issues impacting on effectiveness and improvement from a school perspective. The Group meets in Week 5 of each term.
Principals have been invited to participate in individual project working groups and to contribute their ideas and views to support program implementation.
A Schools for All Program update will be provided at each meeting.
Expert Panel: Students with Complex Needs and Challenging Behaviour
In April 2015, the Expert Panel was established to review policy and practice for supporting and teaching students with complex needs and challenging behaviour in all ACT Public, Independent and Catholic schools.
The Expert Panel was asked to review policy and practice in ACT schools with reference to contemporary best practice. This included evaluation of the current legislative and policy framework, guidelines, practices and protocols that support ACT schools in teaching students with complex needs and challenging behaviour, including research and evidence-based best practice in other jurisdictions.
The Expert Panel Terms of Reference can be found here
The Expert Panel Terms of Reference (101kb)
The Expert Panel consulted with a broad range of stakeholders including students, parents/carers, teachers, school leaders, school organisations, support organisations, education and care experts and other community members. It heard from over 1700 individuals and organisations.
- Professor Anthony Shaddock
- Dr Sue Packer
- Mr Alasdair Roy
- Dr Diana Boswell
- Dr Tim Moore
- Professor Alan Hayes
- Professor Jacqueline Roberts
- Professor Roger Slee
Expert Panel Report
The Minister for Education and Training, Ms Joy Burch MLA, released the Report of the Expert Panel on 18 November 2015.
The Schools for all Children and Young People: Report of the Expert Panel on Students with Complex Needs and Challenging Behaviour can be found here
Report of the Expert Panel on Students with Complex Needs and Challenging Behaviour (1.9Mb)
The Expert Panel Report recognised that while the ACT has excellent school systems and achieves outstanding results on many measures, there are challenges for schools in supporting students with complex needs and challenging behaviours. This is a challenge that is faced by schools across Australia.
The Expert Panel Report is organised to address issues and challenges noted during the consultation process, with chapter headings outlining areas for reflection:
- School culture and relationships;
- Settings and placements;
- Physical environment and infrastructure;
- Supporting student behaviour;
- Targeted services and supports;
- Protecting student and staff safety;
- Effective collaboration among agencies;
- Professional Learning to meet diverse student needs;
- Funding; and
- Leadership and system issues.
The Expert Panel Report contains 50 recommendations. All 50 recommendations have been accepted in the ACT Government Response, which was produced collaboratively by the ACT Education Directorate (the Directorate), Catholic Education (CE) and Association of Independent Schools ACT (AIS). The Education Directorate, as the public and largest provider of education in the ACT, will take leadership of delivery of responses to the Expert Panel Report.
ACT Government Response to the Expert Panel Report
The Schools for All Children and Young People – Report of the Expert Panel on Students with Complex Needs and Challenging Behaviour (the Expert Panel Report) was released on 18 November 2015. The Government Response to the Report was released simultaneously. At that time, former Minister for Education and Training, Joy Burch MLA announced the ACT Government had committed $7 million in 2016/17 to support teachers, families and the community to understand and deliver the best outcomes for students with complex needs and challenging behaviours.
The response to the recommendations is the result of collaboration across Government and between Government and non-Government education providers. The Education Directorate, as the public and largest provider of education in the ACT, will take leadership of delivery of responses to the Expert Panel Report.
The integration of the recommendations and findings of the Expert Panel into ACT schools' program of reform will improve outcomes for all students.
A Program Implementation Team has been formed within the Education Directorate to progress the first year of work. The Schools for All Program Implementation Team will work collaboratively across the Directorate and in partnership with schools, ED Central Office, Community Services Directorate, ACT Health, Catholic Education Office, and the Association of Independent Schools ACT, to ensure we deliver on the recommendations of the Expert Panel.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the Schools for All Program?
The Schools for All Program is a three year program of system reform and covers a large body of work to implement the 50 recommendations of the Schools for All Children and Young People: Report of the Expert Panel on Students with Complex Needs and Challenging Behaviours.
Q. How do I access Program implementation information about the Schools for All Program?
There are many ways in which you can access information on the Schools for All Program. Program documentation is available on the Education Directorate website. The Schools for All Fortnightly updates provide a snapshot of activities underway and/or achieved to date. Quarterly Parent/Carer forums are scheduled over 2016 and these forums aim to provide interested parties with information on the status of Program implementation and are an opportunity to provide feedback direct to the Directorate.
Q. How do I provide feedback on the implementation of Schools for All Program?
Feedback can be emailed direct to the Program Implementation Team via email to SchoolsForAll@act.gov.au.
Q. How will the ACT Government measure the effectiveness of the Program?
The Program Implementation Team reports quarterly to the Program Board and Oversight Group. This includes a quarterly progress report including Education Directorate and Catholic Education outcomes, an executive summary which includes key achievements across the Education Directorate, Catholic Education and Association of Independent Schools ACT. It also includes individual project status reports. The final Evaluation Report will be uploaded to the Directorate website.
Q. What is meant by complex needs and challenging behaviour?
The Expert Panel defined complex needs and challenging behaviour as ‘any pervasive behaviour, or set of behaviours, regardless of cause (or even without any apparent or identified cause) which disrupts the capacity of the person, or other persons, to learn within the school environment, and which requires targeted or personalised interventions’.
Q. How is the Government consulting with parents/carers?
Consultation is a key tenet of the Schools for All Program. The Directorate is hosting quarterly parent/carer forums and information on these can be found here. Parents and/or carers are encouraged to provide feedback on the Program at any time to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. How do parents/carers contribute ideas?
Anyone is welcome to provide feedback or comments direct to the Schools for All Program Implementation Team via email SchoolsForAll@act.gov.au.
Q. How are schools being engaged in the Program?
Schools are receiving fortnightly updates on the Schools for All Program through the internal Schools Bulletin. Principals are engaged through the Principal Advisory Group. Other opportunities for school leaders, teachers and support staff to be involved in specific project working groups or other activities will be promoted through to schools through the Schools Bulletin.
Q. What is happening in ACT Catholic schools?
Cross sector collaboration is integral to the success of the Schools for All Program. The Executive Director, Catholic Education Canberra is a member of the Schools for All Program Board. Officers from Catholic Education are members of the Program Working Group, which comprises all Project Managers and meets monthly to share information and project status updates. Catholic Education are also involved in individual project teams and working groups.
The Quarterly Reports to the Minister for Education include reporting from the Catholic Education sector.
Q. What is happening in Independent schools in the ACT?
Cross sector collaboration is integral to the success of the Schools for All Program. The Executive Director, Association of Independent Schools ACT is a member of the Schools for All Program Board. The AIS ACT is also represented on the Program Working Group. This Group comprises all Managers across all Schools for All projects and meets monthly to share information and project status updates.
The Quarterly Reports to the Minister for Education include reporting from the Association of Independent Schools ACT.
Q. How is the Directorate engaging with disability representative groups and peak bodies?
Consultation is a key tenet of the Schools for All Program. The Directorate is engaging with disability representative groups and peak bodies through a variety of channels. This includes the Disability Education Reference Group, Principal Advisory Group has representation from Principals of ACT Special Schools, Parent/Carer forums are available to any members of the public and the Minister has engaged through a Ministers Round Table with stakeholders on specific topics related to the Schools for All program.
If your organisation would like a specific briefing on the Schools for All Program, please email the Program Implementation Team at email@example.com.