Up to $200,000 is available from Inclusive Schools Fund to build more inclusive school facilities for students with disabilities and special needs.

Inclusive Schools Fund

Inclusive Schools Fund

The Inclusive Schools Fund is a $10 million fund over four years, established to help Victorian government schools implement innovative projects that promote inclusive school environments and support the social and educational needs of children with a disability.

 

Background

The Victorian Government made a commitment to establish Victoria as the Education State where every Victorian has an equal right to the knowledge and skills to shape their lives. Part of this work is to promote inclusive practices in schools so they can better support all children and young people, including those with disabilities and special needs.

Every child deserves a great education to reach their full potential, especially those with special needs who already face additional challenges in their lives.

The Inclusive Schools Fund is part of the Victorian Government’s Special Needs Plan that aims to promote inclusive and innovative practices in schools to better support children with disabilities and special needs.

 

Objectives

The Inclusive Schools Fund provides funding for innovative projects that promote inclusive school environments. Projects should support students with disabilities to better participate and engage with learning in Victorian government schools, based on evidence and research.

To achieve this aim, the fund has developed the following program principles:

  1. Increase participation and improve learning outcomes for students with disabilities through strengthening inclusive government school environments.
  2. Promote universal design (see Universal Design Principle resource in Section 5 for more information) in classroom organisation and teaching approaches that tailor to the needs of all learners on the same basis, including those with disabilities.
  3. Create innovative models of inclusive best practice for all schools to consider in facility planning and design for students with disabilities.
  4. Maximise curriculum and building access to students with disabilities including leveraging partnership arrangements to improve inclusive design elements where possible.

 

Funding

The value of projects is expected to be between $15,000 and $200,000.

 

Eligibility

Applications must address all of the criteria.

1. Increase participation and improve learning outcomes for students with disabilities through strengthening inclusive government school environments.

  • Demonstrate how the project will create a more inclusive environment for both the student/s with disabilities and the whole student population
  • Applications will require schools to identify outcome measurements to show how the proposed project will fulfill the principles of the Inclusive Schools Fund, for example:
    • Survey data from students/parents to determine whether the project increased the inclusive culture of the school.
    • Measure student engagement/interactions with one another. This may include a range of methodologies to capture information on:
      • Facilities usage
      • Student attendance
      • Student social participation
      • Retention

2. Promote universal design (see Universal Design Principle resource in Section 5 for more information) in classroom organisation and teaching approaches that tailor to the needs of all learners on the same basis, including those with disabilities.

  • Link with the school’s inclusion policies and practices
  • Outline any changes to teaching approaches or curriculum that would occur as a result of the project.

3. Create innovative models of inclusive best practice for all schools to consider in facility planning and design for students with disabilities.

  • Where appropriate, the application should be supported by a recommendation from a relevant allied health or other medical professional (e.g. Occupational Therapist, Student Support Service Officer, medical specialist etc.)
  • Reference research on the benefits of the proposed project

4. Maximise curriculum and building access to students with disabilities including leveraging partnership arrangements to improve inclusive design elements where possible.

  • Provide details of other funding sources or partnership arrangements that will contribute to the project (e.g. local government grants, community organisations, locally raised funds).

Funding will be prioritised for innovative projects that leverage funding from a range of sources (e.g. local government, community groups). It will also be prioritised for projects that build universal design approaches that celebrate and support the diversity of all learners, so that students with disabilities are enabled to participate on the same basis as all students.

 

Timing

Applications close 20 April 2018.

 

More Information

 

Round 3 Recipients

14 schools received funding, see below; (21/11/2017)​

 

Media Release

Schools across Victoria will get a funding boost to build all-access play areas, sensory gardens and outdoor learning areas to support students with disabilities and special needs.

Minister for Education James Merlino today visited Mandama Primary School in Grovedale to announce that another 14 schools will receive funding under the $20 million Inclusive Schools Fund.

Mandama Primary School will receive $200,000 to create an all-access enclosed inclusive play space, fitted with specialist playing equipment that its 430 students of all abilities can enjoy in any weather condition.

The fund is helping government schools better support the social and education needs of young people with a disability.

Since it was established in 2015, 74 schools have already received up to $200,000 for their creative projects.

The 14 schools announced today will share in $2.6 million in round three funding to build inclusive play spaces, outdoor learning areas, sensory gardens and calm spaces.

The Inclusive Schools Fund is one of nine initiatives in the Special Needs Plan for Victorian Schools, which is ensuring that students with disabilities get the same opportunities as other students.

This includes the annual Accessible Buildings Program, which provides government schools with funding for facilities to support students, parents and teachers with injuries or disabilities.

More information about these projects is available at: www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au