Students with Disability

ACARA is committed to the development of high-quality curriculum for all Australian students which promotes excellence and equity in education. ACARA acknowledges the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education 2005, and its obligation as an education and training service provider to support the rights of students with disability to participate in educational courses and programs on the same basis* as students without disability.

All students with disability are entitled to rigorous and engaging learning programs drawn from a challenging curriculum that addresses their individual learning needs. The three-dimensional design of the Australian Curriculum comprising learning areas, General capabilities and Cross-curriculum priorities provides teachers with flexibility to cater for the diverse needs of students with disability across Australia and to personalise their learning.

* ‘On the same basis’ means that a student with disability has opportunities and choices, which are comparable with those offered to students without disability in relation to admission or enrolment in an institution; and participation in courses or programs and use of facilities and services. Commonwealth of Australia (2010) Review of Disability Standards for Education 2005 p6.

Students with disability in the Australian Curriculum

ACARA acknowledges that many students with disability are able to achieve educational standards commensurate with their peers, as long as the necessary adjustments are made to the way in which they are taught and to the means through which they demonstrate their learning.

To ensure the Australian Curriculum is inclusive of all students with disability, the general capabilities learning continua have been extended for Literacy and Numeracy. These extended continua along with the Personal and social capability can be used by teachers in planning for individual learning needs to make curriculum adjustments that provide equitable opportunities for access to age equivalent learning area content. This work has been undertaken in response to consultation feedback received on draft curriculum materials between 21 September and 1 November 2011 (see below) and to meet ACARA's obligations under the Disability Standards for Education 2005.

More detailed advice has been developed for schools and teachers on using the Australian Curriculum to meet diverse learning needs and is available under Student Diversity on the Australian Curriculum website.

Consultation and trial schools project 2012

The draft extended learning continua for Literacy and Numeracy, advice materials and examples of teaching and learning activities were available for consultation on the Australian Curriculum website and trialed in schools from July to September 2012.

A detailed summary of stakeholder feedback and ACARA’s response is available in a consultation report. ACARA is in the process of revising the materials in response to feedback. Publication of the extended Literacy and Numeracy continua and the Student Diversity advice materials is scheduled for January 2013. Illustrations are being developed to demonstrate the process of using the three-dimensional design of the Australian Curriculum to meet the learning needs of all students with disablity. Illustrations will be developed for both primary and secondary school contexts and will reflect regular, support and specialist school settings.

Consultation 2011

During 2011, ACARA developed content descriptions and achievement standards for students working towards the Foundation level in the learning areas of English and Mathematics.

The draft Australian Curriculum: English and Mathematics ‘Progressing to Foundation’ materials were made available for national consultation from September to November 2011 and the findings made available in the Students with Disability: Progressing to Foundation Consultation Report v 1.5 (January 2012). Submissions not included in the Students with Disability: Progressing to Foundation Consultation Report were incorporated in the development of key actions for revision, which resulted in the extended general capabilities learning continua for Literacy and Numeracy (see Students with disability in the Australian Curriculum above).

Students with Disability Advisory Group

Members of ACARA's Students with Disability Advisory Group provide ACARA with high level advice in relation to students with disability across its core business areas of curriculum, assessment and reporting.