The Early Years Fact sheet

Starting school is a big step for every child and their family. When your child has a disability, it can feel even bigger. It is good to know that in Queensland, every student is entitled to attend their local state school.

It is also reassuring that 50 years of research has found that mainstream education settings provide positive academic and social outcomes for all learners, along with better long-term outcomes for employment, independence and social belonging for learners with disability.

Families may choose to enroll their children with disability into their local school because they are guided by a vision for their child to grow up as any child would, following the typical life path that leads from school to life in their community.

Read more… (new page)

FFIE Newsletter 8: Focus on inclusion and first nation students and families

The cover of the newsletterAcknowledgement of Country:  CRU respectfully acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as Australia’s first peoples and the traditional owners/custodians of the land on which we work and live. We pay respect to Elders, past and present, recognise the significant contributions of our First Nations people, and seek relationships based on recognition, reconciliation and  justice.

This special edition of our Families for Inclusive Education newsletter focuses on intersections between successful inclusion for students with disability and inclusion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

We are excited to share a family story of a young North Queensland student, Kassidy, who became the Indigenous captain of her primary school, and who also happens to have Down syndrome. As a proud ambassador for her Torres Strait Islander culture, Kassidy has had many opportunities to contribute to her school community, and develop her own leadership skills.

Kassidy’s story exemplifies the truth that we all have multiple identities, and that school inclusion can provide ways for those identities and strengths to be valued.

We also share reflections from our CRU team about two powerful learning experiences. The first was CRU’s collaboration with Central Queensland colleagues from the Department of Education, Cindy Willett and Barb Carroll, who helped to bring together a Yarning Circle in Mackay, attended by many of the Community Education Counsellors (CECs) and others working with First Nations families and students.

The second was a powerful session at CRU’s Peer Support training event where well-respected facilitator/educator Fiona Bobongie led a facilitated conversation for volunteer Peer Support contacts to expand cultural awareness and be sensitised to experiences, challenges and strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

Why we need a vision for inclusion

The Families for Inclusive Education Project is a CRU initiative funded by Queensland Government’s Department of Education to help families develop a clear vision for their child’s school years, learn about inclusive education policies and supports, and develop advocacy skills and peer support networks.

This newsletter explores how a positive vision can build a strong foundation for inclusive education.

Navigating the school years when your child has a disability can be daunting – so we encourage families to keep believing in their child, their gifts and strengths and their right to belong and contribute.

Stand Strong - our schools and communities are better when everyone belongs

Early in Term 4 we hosted a webinar on Planning Successful Transitions, which builds on the themes of this newsletter.  The webinar can be viewed in full on our website.

We can also offer individual consultations/ conversations if you want to explore these ideas or other issues more deeply.  Please call or email us for a conversation, to request information, or to be linked to a family with similar experiences.

Click here for upcoming events for this project

Group of boys in school uniform talkingLindie presenting at a day 1 workshop

What is a vision and how can we use it?

Gina Wilson Burns

So the things in Mac’s vision are things we want for any child, it’s just something we’ve intentionally articulated.

The vision allows us to test things against it and see whether we are staying on the right path.

(Gina Wilson Burns, Mac’s mother).

See Mac's vision in action at 19 Stories of Social Inclusion.

One page profile for Kindy student Ellie Stafford

Crafting your vision for inclusion

Resourcing Inclusive Communities (RIC) has a practical and in-depth workbook for Creating a Vision Statement.  They provide examples of people’s visions and family stories about using a vision statement to pursue inclusion.

American mother Tiffany Stafford has a step by step guide on How to Make a One Page Profile, Ellie Style.  While there are many ways to capture your vision, a one page profile can be an easy way to share your child’s strengths, interests, and vision with friends, family and schools.

To craft the good life, we need to do the hard work on clarifying and sustaining our vision of what we want, not what others  tell us are the limits of what is possible. 

If we try to choose in a vacuum, not knowing what it is we really want,  others will choose for us

Jeremy Ward, Parent advocate

Connecting with others

QCIE logo dark and light brown lines and circles in a circleQueensland Collective for Inclusive Education (QCIE)

QCIE is a group of families who promote inclusive lives for their children with disability and work together to make inclusive schools a reality for all.  They offer ‘coffee and chat’ gatherings where families can meet to share knowledge and experiences.

The QCIE Peer support Network is their closed Facebook group for families to learn and share experiences.

Learn More

All means all logoAll Means All: Australian Alliance for Inclusive Education

Highly recommended for practical resources, past submissions and Facebook groups for parents and educators.

All Means All offers resources For Parents and For Educators that include Inclusion Toolkits, resources, Facebook groups for discussing how to make inclusion a reality for all students.

Learn More

What do we mean by Inclusion?

In this edition of CRUcial Times, people reflect on what inclusion is, what it isn’t, and why it’s vital to know the difference.

The cover page of crucial times edition 51: What do we mean by inclusion?
Download here

There are 55 editions of our publication,
free for download on our website.

Inclusion 2.0:  Teaching to diversity

In this video, Canadian educator Shelley Moore discusses the need for a shift from: "How do we support disabilities in a classroom?" to "How do we support a diverse classroom?" and the benefits this has for all students.

Being clear on these benefits can help families in their advocacy.

Inclusive schooling is an educational movement that stresses interdependence and independence, views all students as capable, and values a sense of community.

Paula Kluth

Stop-press: Paula Kluth will be a keynote presenter at Illume Learning’s Australian Inclusive Schooling Conference.  12-13 March 2020.  Brisbane

This project is proudly supported by the Queensland Government through the Department of Education.

The Department of Education website outlines its commitment to Inclusive education through its inclusive education policy.


Community Resource Unit Ltd - CRU (logo) Bright colours expanding from central point with the words Community Resource Unit Ltd, Expanding Ideas; Creating Change