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The Australian Curriculum: Supporting Inclusion Page 1 of 12

The Australian Curriculum:

Supporting Inclusion

Inclusion in its
most general
sense refers to
the right to
and achieving
equity through
engagement in
all aspects of
daily life.
Carpenter, &
Conway, 2013)

This document has been created as
the result of a consultative process
between all five group members. It
attempts to take into account the
opinions, needs, along with the ethical
and moral responsibilities of each
group members individual role. The
document has been produced to assist
in the development of educational
programs that are able to recognise
the unique academic and social /
emotional needs of diverse students,
whilst acknowledging the benefits
these students experience from being
active and included members of the
classroom, rather than requiring them
to undertake parallel or separate
activities (Hyde, Carpenter, &
Conway, 2013).

Whilst group members discussed every
aspect of the paper content and
presentation format, specific
responsibilities were undertaken by
individuals in an effort to ensure the
load was shared equally; with all
members feeling a sense of ownership
and pride in the project. These
responsibilities are outlined in the table


Project Role Project Focus

Parent Students with a Disability

Classroom Teacher Students for whom EAL/D

Assistant Teacher Student Diversity Advice

School Principal Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Students
Special Education Co-Ordinator Gifted and Talented Students

Graphic taken from

The Australian Curriculum: Supporting Inclusion Page 2 of 12

Teachers assess students progress through the Australian Curriculum in
relation to achievement standards. Some students progress will be
assessed in relation to their individual learning goals. Approaches to
assessment and reporting will differ across the states and territories
(Australian Curriculum, assessment and Reporting Authority: 2014).

Diversity and the Australian Curriculum

The Australian Curriculum is strongly
linked to The Melbourne Declaration of
Educational Goals from Young
Australians (2008) with the two goals set
out in this declaration used as the
framework for the Australian Curriculum

The Australian Curriculum has been
designed to address the following
That each student can learn
and that the needs of every
student are important.
That each student is entitled to
knowledge, understanding and
skills that provide a foundation
for successful and lifelong
learning and participation in the
Australian community.
That high expectations should
be set for each student as
teachers account for the current
level of learning of individual
students and the different rates
at which students develop.
That the needs and interests of
students will vary, and that
schools and teachers will plan
from the curriculum in ways that
respond to those needs and
(Australian Curriculum, assessment and
Reporting Authority: 2014)

Hyde (2013:4) states Australia is one of
the most culturally diverse nations on
earth emphasising diversity is the norm
not the exception when we consider the
different abilities, learning styles, and
backgrounds of learners in the
classroom, to meet this challenge of
diversity, it is suggested that educators
use flexible instructional materials,
techniques and strategies (DET: 2012).

What does Diversity look like in our

Schools face the responsibility of
providing educational programs that
address the needs of students who come
from a broad range of cultural and
linguistic backgrounds. Hyde describes
diversity as students from Indigenous
heritage, students from different faith
systems, and students with impairments,
disabilities or disadvantages influencing
their development of communicative
competence, social competence,
cognitive ability, or literacy and
numeracy (2013:4). Gifted and Talented
Students as outlined within this newsletter
are another consideration of the diverse
nature of students in schools.

Achieving Personalised Learning

The three dimensions of the Australian Curriculum: learning areas, general
capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities, provide flexibility for teachers to
cater for student diversity through personalised learning (ACARA: 2014).

The following flowchart has been developed as part of the Australian
Curriculum document to be used by teachers to meet the learning needs
of all students.

Teachers refer to the Australian Curriculum learning area content that
aligns with their students chronological age as the starting point in
planning teaching and learning programs.

Teachers take account of the range of their students current levels of
learning, strengths, goals and interests, and personalise learning where
necessary through adjustments to the teaching and learning program,
according to individual learning needs, by:
Drawing from learning area content at different levels along the
Foundation to Year 10 sequence to personalise age-equivalent learning
area content.
Using the general capabilities and /or cross-curriculum priorities to adjust
the learning focus of the age-equivalent learning g area content.
Aligning individual learning goals with age-equivalent learning area

Making a curriculum inclusive means to adapt
the curriculum, not the learner, so that all
learners are able to participate in the learning
(DET: 2012).


ach other
egardless of
alents or
Diversity Sharon Markham

The Australian Curriculum: Supporting Inclusion Page 3 of 12

Teaching Strategies

Achieving engagement of students with a wide range
of diverse needs in a class requires teachers to know
their students learning abilities very well (Hyde:
2013:35). Strategies suggested in Hyde by teachers of
diverse classes include reduced class sizes, support of
a classroom assistant, explicit teaching of literacy
program and scaffolding learning (Hyde: 2013:35). The
Australian Curriculum provides a comprehensive list of
approaches to assist teachers in their quest to
personalise and support students with their learning.
Key components identified in current research and
highlighted by Sarra (2007) is the paramount
importance of building good teacher-student
relationships and Hyde (2013) emphasised that
involvement of the family in transition at all levels is
Australian Curriculum and Student Diversity

Diversity continued

Useful information on using the
Australian Curriculum to
support diversity in the
classroom include the Student
diversity guided tour and
Illustrations of personalised
The Australian Curriculum v6.0
Student Diversity - Student
diversity advice

The Australian Curriculum: Supporting Inclusion Page 4 of 12

Students with Disability Angela Foulis
Under the Disability Standards for Education 2005
(Commonwealth of Australia, 2006) (the Standards) and The
Disability Discrimination Act 1992, students with disability have
the same rights as other students, this includes the right to
education and training on the same basis (ACARA 2014).

On the same basis means
.that a student with disability should have access to the
same opportunities and choices in their education that are
available to a student without disability
.that students with disability are entitled to rigorous,
relevant and engaging learning opportunities and choices
to access age-equivalent learning contexts
.that every student has the same experience but that
they are entitled to equitable opportunities and choices to
access age-equivalent content from all learning areas of
the Australian Curriculum
.that while all students will access age-equivalent
content, the way in which they access it and the focus of
their learning may vary according to their individual
learning needs, strengths, goals and interests
(Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority,

Who are students with disability?

It is important to consider that:
many students with disability are able to achieve
educational standards commensurate with their peers
not all students with a disability will require adjustments to
the curriculum, instruction or environment
not all students requiring adjustments to the curriculum,
instruction or environment will have a disability
students with disability requiring adjustments to one aspect
of their learning may not require the same adjustment, if
any, to another
to comply with the Disability Standards for Education
2005 consultation includes the student and parent as part
of the process to personalize learning
students with the same disability may not require
equivalent adjustments
not every student with a disability will require ongoing
students with disability may also be gifted and talented
and/or have English as an additional language or dialect
to comply with the Disability Standards for Education 2005,
adjustment reviews occur regularly, and are changed or
withdrawn where necessary.
(Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority,

The process to personalise learning
The Standards state that education
providers being principals, schools and
teachers are required to give
consideration to reasonable
adjustments so that students with
disability are given every opportunity to
participate in the whole education and
training experience like other students
without disability (ACARA 2014).
Prior to any adjustments being made, the
process of consultation is to take place
between the school, parents/caregivers
(ACARA 2014).

Reasonable adjustments and
An adjustment is a measure or
action taken to assist a student with
disability to participate in education
and training on the same basis as
other students.
An adjustment is reasonable if it
achieves this purpose while taking into
account the students learning needs
and balancing the interests of all
parties affected, including the student
with disability, the school, staff and
other students.
The process of consultation outlined
above is an integral part of ensuring
that schools are meeting their
obligations in relation to reasonable
(Australian Curriculum, Assessment and

Successful consultation
between all parties will
achieve the best possible
outcomes for the student with
disability, an inclusive
learning environment which is
engaging, challenging and
stimulating (ACARA, 2014).

The Australian Curriculum: Supporting Inclusion Page 5 of 12

Using the Personal and social capability to personalise learning
Personal and social capability involves students:
recognising, understanding and labelling their own emotions, values, strengths and capacities
managing and regulating their own emotions and behaviour, and persisting in completing tasks and
overcoming personal obstacles
perceiving and understanding other peoples emotions and viewpoints, and showing understanding
and empathy for others
forming strong and healthy relationships, and managing and positively influencing the emotions and
moods of others.
Personal and social capability is important for students with disability because students with well-developed
social and emotional skills:
find it easier to manage themselves
relate to others
develop resilience and a sense of self-worth
resolve conflict
engage in teamwork
feel positive about themselves and the world around them.
The Personal and social capability continuum is organised in four interrelated elements:
Social awareness
Social management.
(Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2014).

Inclusion, is a right for everyone

Students with Disability continued
When inclusive education is fully embraced, we abandon the idea that
children have to become "normal" in order to contribute to the world.... We
begin to look beyond typical ways of becoming valued members of the
community, and in doing so, begin to realize the achievable goal of
providing all children with an authentic sense of belonging. (Kunc, 1992)

The Australian Curriculum: Supporting Inclusion Page 6 of 12

Gifted and Talented Students (Sharyn Williams)
So how do we identify G&T
students in our class?

Each state has their own policy
for G&T students and each
school should have its own
testing and processes in place
for identifying G&T students.

The DECD (2013, p. 5) Gifted
and Talented Children and
Students Policy includes:
Gifted and talented
Off-level testing

Defining Gifted and Talented

(Referred to as G&T students

Gagne (cited in ACARA, 2013)
refers to G&T students as those
whose potential is distinctly
above average in one or more
of the following domains of
human ability:

Gifted students may not
necessarily be high achievers.
Their gifts can be masked by a
number of factors including;
culture, disability, location, and
lack of engagement. There are
a number of assessments as
methods of identifying G&T

According to ACARA (2013),
students are entitled to
rigorous, relevant, engaging
learning opportunities. Drawn
from the Australian curriculum
and aligned with individual
learning needs, strengths,
interests and goals.

Food for thought!

A high percentage of
parents will tell us that
their child meets this
definition. Who are we
to argue? I am sure
there are thousands of
gifted people in the
world who did not get
the opportunities to
develop their talents.
How can we as
educators know who
these students are?
Should we treat every
student as potentially
gifted? What do you

Tailoring Education to Individual
Student Needs

ACARA (2013) gives three
elements for adjustments for
delivering learning experiences
to G&T students as seen below
in Figure 1.

Role of our school in educating
G&T students

According to the Tannembaum
Model (cited in ACARA, 2013),
giftedness in a child is their
potential to become an adult
with a developed talent. It is
our role as educators is to
facilitate the transformation of
gifts to talents in our students.
Gifts and talents are not measured
in an absolute way and can
occur/exist on a sliding in single
areas or many areas of human

How do we help this
transformational process?

The Australian Curriculum: Supporting Inclusion Page 7 of 12

Gifted and Talented Students continued
Individual Learning Plan (ILP)

Once we formally identify a student as
gifted/talented using appropriate measures, it may
be necessary to develop an ILP.

We construct ILPs in consultation with students,
parents, teachers, support staff, coordinators and
relevant professionals to make sure our
teaching/learning experiences meet the above
entitlements of our students.

The Australian Curriculum to meet the learning needs
of all students flowchart (ACARA, 2013) outlines ways
we can use the Australian curriculum to make
adjustments to our planning three ways:
(differentiating the curriculum)

1. Adjusting the level of the learning content
area from Foundation to Year 10.
2. Concentrating on moving students along the
general capabilities continuum within the age
equivalent learning content by adding depth,
complexity and richness to learning tasks.
3. Introducing teaching and learning programs
based on learning content area but given
depth and complexity by focusing on cross-
curricular priorities.

Each element can be used in different
proportions and combinations to frame
a personalized response to the learning
needs of each gifted learner. (ACARA)

Figure 1: Elements for adjustment when
planning for gifted and talented students

Resources for Teacher Planning

School Disability/EALD/Gifted and Talented
Coordinators can help us access relevant
policies, external agencies and resources.
Below is a list of helpful online resources.

1. Born to Soar:
2. Australian Association for the Education
of the Gifted and Talented Ltd:
3. World Council for the Gifted and
Talented Children, Inc.

The Australian Curriculum: Supporting Inclusion Page 8 of 12

Every child learns in a different way, teachers may be required to
personalize the learning materials for students.

Australian Curriculum to support EAL/D
students in our classrooms. We are
required as teachers to teach the
language of the subjects but need to
create access to the Australian
Curriculum for all of our students
(Australian Curriculum, Assessment and
Reporting Authority, 2014).
English is an additional or dialect (EAL/D)
may find learning difficult in Australian
schools as all learning is accessed
through English language. Each area of
the curriculum has language structures
and vocabulary particular to its learning
domain, which the children need to
know to be able to gain a full
understanding of the matter. An
example in the classroom is if you were
teaching your students about shapes
you cannot do this without using specific
English language. EAL/D need support to
build their English language skills to be
able to communicate effectively and
competently participate and reach their
full potential in the Australian Curriculum.
We need to use a flexible design of the
Personalised learning
EAL/D may find the work more difficult than
their peers as they not only have to make
progress towards the lesson objective but try
and understand/ learn the English language.
This may require we as schools and as
teachers to organize extra support for the
EAL/D students, including teaching that
addresses their language needs.
EAL/D students may require us to
personalize instruction so they can build
their English language skills while learning
the Australian Curriculum material.
We can do this by using EAL/D Learning
Progression assessment tool, which identifies
the level of English language the student
knows. This helps us to understand our
student better and we can offer efficient
support. We need to ensure that we teach
our material as clear as possible and can
use some of the following techniques to
help our students understand the lesson
material, such as use the students cultural
understandings, partner students up or offer
one on one support.
In some cases you may need to plan age-
equivalent content for their EAL/D students.
To do this we need to draw on material from
the same learning area but personalize for
the student by looking at the different levels
along the Foundation to year 10 and
aligning it with what year is appropriate for
the students learning needs (Australian
Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting
Authority, 2014).

Teacher working in a small group with her
students to better support their learning.
Students whom are EAL/D Peri Jayne Kneebone

The Australian Curriculum: Supporting Inclusion Page 9 of 12

Cross-Curriculum priorities throughout the
Australian Curriculum are Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures,
Asia and Australias engagement with Asia
and sustainability. These are entrenched in
all learning areas, however their level of
obviousness will be depending on the
relevance to each learning area. The cross-
curriculum priorities can be used to provide
opportunity for the substantial assets of
EAL/D students to develop the learning of
all students (Australian Curriculum,
Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2014).

General Capabilities & Cross
Curriculum priorities
The Australian Curriculum has seven general
capabilities which are present in all of the
curriculum subjects and are an important part
of the curriculum. They support access to and
development through the learning areas.
They are literacy, numeracy, Information and
communication technology (ICT) capability,
critical and creative thinking, personal and
social capability, ethical understanding and
intercultural understanding. EAL/D students
need to develop all seven of the capabilities
as it helps them learn to manage their own
well-being, communicate across cultures,
make knowledgeable choices about their
lives and become a responsible and active
member of society (Australian Curriculum,
Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2014).
The Australian Curriculum Resource for ESL/D Students

Students whom are EAL/D continued

The Australian Curriculum: Supporting Inclusion Page 10 of 12

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students (Tania Sorbello)

"Indigenous Australia
has a population of
over half a million
people and it is
Unfortunately for this
growing population,
the education
statistics paint an
alarming picture.
Indigenous youth
remain the most
disadvantaged group
in Australia". (Calma,
The Unique Learning Needs of ATSI

In an effort to improve the
educational outcomes for
Indigenous students, Government
policy makers have made efforts to
forge a positive way forward
through publications such as the
UN Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples, along with
the Australian Curriculum Cross-
Curriculum Priority focus on
Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Histories and Cultures
(ACARA, 2014; United Nations,
2007). However, to fully understand
the current requirements of ATSI
students, we, as schools and as
teachers, must take into account
traditional Indigenous education
and strive to deliver the Australian
Curriculum in a manner that aligns
with same. Traditional Indigenous
education was life related and life
inspired (Partington, 1998). Being a
largely oral society, education was
mostly informal and took place as
part of everyday life. Learning
occurred through participation
and, whilst informal, much of the
required learning was complex and
required highly developed
cognitive skills, with high
expectations held of community
members (Partington, 1998). As a
school, we must acknowledge the
shortcomings of past educational
programs that did not align with
the traditional education provided
in Indigenous societies and strive
to implement positive educational
change for ATSI students.

We will also find that many ATSI
students experience the added
difficulty of English not being their
first language. With more than two
hundred and fifty different
Indigenous language groups
throughout Australia, Indigenous
students often speak a dialect or
traditional Indigenous language at
home, with school their only
exposure to Standard Australian
English (Welch, 2011). Further
information about supporting
students for whom English is an
Additional Language or Dialect
can be found in the EAL/D section
of this newsletter.

It is imperative that we as an
educational institution endeavour
to find a way in which the
Australian Curriculum can
complement the unique learning
needs of our ATSI students
(ACARA, 2014; Partington, 1998).

The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young

Through the Melbourne Declaration, the Australian Government
educational outcomes for Indigenous children and young
people are substantially behind those of other students in key areas
of enrolment, attendance, participation, literacy, numeracy,
retention and completion

And commits to working with all school sectors to:
close the gap for young Indigenous Australians.
(Australian Government, 2008)

The Australian Curriculum: Supporting Inclusion Page 11 of 12

Figure 2: A graphical representation
of Yunkaportas 8 Aboriginal Ways
of Learning (Yunkaporta, 2013).
Developing Inclusive Classrooms for
ATSI students
As teachers, our students can
benefit greatly from explicit
teaching practices, whereby we
are clear and open about our
expectations and instructions. The
explicit nature of such teaching can
assist not only Indigenous, but all
students in grasping tasks
(Beresford, Partington, & Gower,
2012). Our teaching strategies
should be aimed at allowing ATSI
students to remain included in
everyday classroom learning and
activities, whilst providing sufficient
differentiation to support their
unique learning requirements.

Furthermore, our teaching programs
for Indigenous students should, in
some manner, be immediately
relevant to a students life as was
traditional Indigenous education
(Partington, 1998). Creating learning
programs that are relevant and
preparatory for real life and future
work, and that can be shared with
the home community, allows our
students to make the connection
between their education and their
home life, and feel that they are
able to make a valuable
contribution to their People
(Partington, 1998; Rigney, 2011).
Ensuring our students feel that they
belong and are included members
of the student cohort, is relevant not
only Indigenous students but to all
students and is believed to deliver
improved educational outcomes
(Partington, 1998).

Deliberate Implementation of
Supportive Pedagogical
Specific pedagogical tools have
been developed to improve the
educational outcomes for
Indigenous students. Tyson
Yunkaportas (2013) 8 Aboriginal
Ways of Learning is a group of
interrelated and interdependent
pedagogies that support and
enhance the learning of not only
our Indigenous learners, but all
These pedagogies are displayed
the diagram provided as Figure 2.

The pedagogical approach is a
comprehensive resource that can
assist us in creating lesson plans
that align with the values and
beliefs of Aboriginal society. The
educational tool, which addresses
the need for lessons to focus on
the 8 Aboriginal values depicted
above, promotes Indigenous
learning and is considered to be a
progressive step forward in
delivering positive and inclusive
educational outcomes for ATSI
students (Yunkaporta, 2013).

Community Consultation: Inclusion
of all Parties

Positive educational outcomes are
within reach for ATSI Students if we
work with the wider Indigenous
community to develop teaching
and learning programs that meet
both the academic and cultural
needs of students. Tribal Warriors
member, Shane Phillips, highlights
this requirement as he calls for a
bottom-up approach to
Indigenous education; one that
relies on the strength of the
Indigenous community to guide
educational methodologies
(Beresford et al., 2012).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students continued
The following resources provide
information and assistance to
improve the learning of ATSI
students and promote cultural
tolerance in classrooms:
Tyson Yunkaportas 8
Aboriginal Ways of
Aboriginal Education Board
of Studies NSW:
Dust Echoes: an interactive
and informative website
retelling Dreamtime stories
and containing
educational tools for use in
the classroom:

Redefining Success
Herbert (2011) challenges us as
teachers to redefine our
definition of success within the
boundaries of student
capabilities and beliefs, and
develop teaching and learning
programs that allow all students
to experience success in some
form. In addition, our ability to
differentiate between student
abilities and needs is an
imperative aspect of the
effective teaching of students.
de Plevitzs (2007) statement
what is equal is to be treated
equally, but what is different
should be treated differently, is
an appropriate way to view the
differentiated learning needs of
all students. No two students are
the same; all have differing
learning styles and strengths and,
as such, learning programs,
expectations and success criteria
must be tailored to allow for the
achievement of success by all.
To accomplish this, our teaching
must be scaffolded, whereby
students receive support in their
learning through modelling and
practice, until they are capable
of using their newly developed
skills autonomously (Partington,

The Australian Curriculum: Supporting Inclusion Page 12 of 12


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Australian Experience (Revised Edition): International Specialized Book Service Incorporated.
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Department for Education and Child Development (DECD). (2012), Gifted and Talented Children and
Students Policy, Government of South Australia, Retrieved from
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education: A guide for students with a disability, their associates and education providers,
Disability Discrimination Act, Retrieved from
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Students. Australian Journal of Education, 51(1), 54-71.
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conference 2011: Indigenous education: pathways to success: conference proceedings.
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ed.). South
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Queensland Studies Authority. (2012), Inclusive strategies: What are they?, Retrieved from
Rigney, L.-I. (2011). Indigenous Education: Creating Classrooms of Tomorrow Today.
United Nations. (2007). UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Retrieved 25 March 2014,
Welch, D. (2011). Aboriginal Culture. Retrieved 01 October 2011, from
Yunkaporta, T. (2013). 8 Aboriginal Ways of Learning. Retrieved 02 January 2013, from

Teachers may be required to personalize a students learning experience.

Caption describing picture or