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Disability Action Plan 2000–2002

Introduction

This Action Plan covers the 3 year period from 2000 to 2002

The Plan demonstrates the Office’s commitment to the objectives of the Government’s Disability Policy Framework, the NSW Disability Services Act 1993 and the NSW Anti Discrimination Act 1977. The Plan is incorporated into the strategic and business planning of the Office and is reflected in the performance agreements of senior staff and branch plans as appropriate. The Plan is included in the staff induction process and is published on the Office’s Web site for staff and public access.

Plan Development

The Office’s Action Plan has been developed in consultation with and review by the senior management group, and the Office’s EEO Planning Group. The Plan will also be reviewed by the Board

Potential service and facilities enhancements have been identified for action by reviewing existing services against priority areas for action in the Government’s Disability Policy Framework. Comments from clients and other interested groups will be assessed for improvements to the Plan. It is intended that this process be ongoing and that adjustments to the Plan occur as necessary to keep it relevant to

Progress against the Plan will be reviewed annually as part of the Office’s strategic and operational planning review process. This will be a function of the Office’s Planning and Development Branch. Progress will be reported in the Office’s Annual Report to Parliament, a copy of which will be provided to the Ageing and Disability Department. The Plan will be updated every three years.

The Office’s Plan comprises two parts:

Part 1 - Introduction including the Board

Part 2 - Priority Areas for Action, Goals, Strategies and Key Performance Indicators.

Part 1 – Context and Role

The Board of Studies

The Board of Studies is a statutory body established under the Education Act 198O. The Board has responsibilities relating to both primary and secondary education. The Board develops curriculum for all schools from Kindergarten to Year 12, develops and conducts examinations leading to the award of the School Certificate and Higher School Certificate and advises the Minister for Education and Training on applications from non Government Schools seeking to operate in New South Wales.

The Office of the Board of Studies

The Office provides professional and operational support to the Board of Studies in:

  • Developing the curriculum for students from Kindergarten to year 12;
  • Assessing and examining student achievements for the award of the School Certificate and the Higher School Certificate;
  • Advising the Minister for Education and Training on applications from non government schools seeking to operate in NSW.
  • Grantingpermission to non government schools to present candidates for the School Certificate and Higher School Certificate

Office Staffing Profiles

The Office has a full-time staffing establishment of 230 officers of which approximately 50 officers are seconded from the school sector. The Office’s staff is located predominately in the Office’s Clarence Street premises. Currently three members of the Office’s staff have sought and are receiving some form of workplace adjustment for disabilities involving vision and mobility impairment.

Profile of Service Users

Clients of the Office of the Board of Studies include:

  • The Minister for Education and Training;
  • The Board and its standing committees;
  • Schools and systems;
  • Teachers in primary and secondary schools;
  • Parents;
  • Students;
  • Employers;
  • Tertiary Education Sector.

Primary Service Users

The nature of the Office’s work is such that except for a full-time liaison officer in each of the 10 education regions face to face contact with clients is somewhat limited. The Office’s services are accessed by approximately 3600 schools, both Government and non-Government and the student and teacher populations within those schools. The needs of individual disabled students are first identified and notified by schools, the Department of Education and Training or their umbrella systems. Specific measures are developed by the Office to respond to particular needs either via the curriculum

Communication with clients is predominately via telephone, the Internet and hard copy material in the form of syllabus support materials, guidelines, procedures, manuals and memoranda.

Communications and Service Delivery

A feature of the Office’s communications and service delivery strategies has been the continued development of the Office’s Web Site. The site currently receives in excess of 80,000 hits daily. As well as general information about the Board and its functions the site contains downloadable copies of syllabus and syllabus support documents, guide books and past examination papers. The site has been developed to conform to Commonwealth publication guidelines arising from the Disability Discrimination Act. A particular feature is the adoption of text reader facilities for sight impaired people. Further development of the Office’s web site is planned over the next 12 months.

Existing Services and Arrangements

The Board of Studies is responsible for the development of syllabuses, support materials and assessment methods and materials that meet the needs of the full range of students, including students with disabilities. This has involved the Board in ensuring that the interests of students with special needs are taken into account through the development of a curriculum framework for K-12 and an assessment process that is both accessible and challenging for all students.

The Board of Studies exercises its responsibilities in various ways through initiatives and undertakings related to:

  • The syllabus development process;
  • Special provisions for students with special examination needs undertaking School Certificate tests and Higher School Certificate examinations;
  • Detailed procedures and guidelines;
  • An identified special education position;
  • Inclusive curriculum development;
  • Specially designed life skills courses for students in Years 7-12.

The Syllabus Development Process

The Board’s Statement of Equity Principles (1996) provides a guide to writers of syllabuses, support materials and assessment guidelines in developing materials, which relate to two of the Board’s

  • To develop high quality courses and support materials for primary and secondary education suited to the needs of a full range of students including students with a disability;
  • To assess student achievement and award credentials of international standard to meet the needs of the full range of students.

The Office of the Board of Studies has, at various times, produced guidelines for curriculum writers and syllabus committee members to assist in producing inclusive materials.

Since 1998 all Board Curriculum Committees have included a member, nominated by the Special Education Committee, with a special education background. The Board’s Special Education Curriculum Committee has developed Life Skills courses for students with special education needs in Years 7-12 which provide access to the School Certificate and the Higher School Certificate.

Special examination provisions for students with special needs undertaking School Certificate Tests and Higher School Certificate examinations

Special examination provisions are available for both School Certificate Tests and Higher School Certificate examinations. The Board may approve special provisions if a student has a special need that would, in a normal test or examination situation, prevent him/her from:

  1. reading and interpreting the test questions; and/or
  2. communicating knowledge or understanding to a marker/examiner as effectively as a student without that special need.

"The Board supports and endorses any decisions made at school level to offer provisions to students with special needs in course work, assessment tasks and in-school examinations." (ACE Manual)

The Assessment, Certification and Assessment Manual

The Assessment, Certification and Examination Manual provides information regarding students with special education needs in Years 7–10 and students with special education needs following a special program of study for the Higher School Certificate.

The focus of both sections is the development of an appropriate program of study, which will allow students to qualify for the award of either the School or Higher School Certificate.

The Special Education Committee

The Special Education Committee first met formally in 1995 as a steering committee. Since 1995 the Committee has provided advice to the Board of Studies on a variety of special education issues and projects.

The current terms of reference for the Special Education Committee are that it:

  • provide advice to the Board on syllabus development K to 12 in relating to students with special education needs as requested bt the Board.
  • provide advice to the Board on how syllabuses and/or examination programs might better provide for students with special education needs; and
  • provide advice to the Board on its rules or requirements for students with special education needs following a Special Program of Study in Years 7 to 10 and for Years 11 to 12
  • provide advice on projects in relation to curriculum development and/or support documents, as requested by the Board.

The membership of the Special Education Committee comprises one representative from each of:

  • The Board of Studies;
  • The Department of Education and Training;
  • The Association of Independent Schools;
  • The Catholic Education Commission and;
  • The Australian Association of Special Education.

The Curriculum Officer (Special Education) is a dedicated position providing support to the Director, Curriculum in all aspects of curriculum development and implementation K-12, particularly Special Education and the Special Education Committee.

7–10 Curriculum

School Certificate Credentialling for Students with Special

From 1993 students with special needs were eligible to receive the School Certificate by entering for a special program of study. School Certificate Credentialling for Students with Special Needs or Disabilities in Stage 5, released in 1996, provided a specifically designed course of study for individual students with special education needs who were unable to meet the curriculum requirements using Board Developed Syllabuses and /or Board Endorsed Courses. The document introduced the Generic Life Skills Courses, which provided broad curriculum framework statements in each Key Learning Area. The aims and objectives contained in the framework, along with course specific outcomes and indicators, allowed teachers to design an integrated teaching/ learning program that met the needs of individual students and led to the award of a School Certificate.

Assessing Students with Special Education Needs (1995)

Issued in 1995, this booklet details guidelines for the provision of alternative assessment tasks and practical work for students with severe physical and sensory disabilities in Stage 5 and Stage 6. These guidelines were designed to minimize the effects of students’ physical and/or sensory disabilities on their participation and demonstration of attainment in practical and other tasks for both

  • Stage 6 Life Skills Course

As part of a Special Program of Study, students with special needs may enter for the Board Development Syllabuses and/or Board Endorsed Courses as well as Life Skills courses and Industry Curriculum Framework Access Program courses.

The eligibility and pattern of study requirements for students following a Special Program of Study are the same as those for all candidates for the award of a Higher School Certificate.

Students who meet the pattern of study requirements and satisfactorily complete the required studies will receive a Higher School Certificate testamur, a Record of Achievement and a Profile of Student Achievement (issued by schools).

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Part 2 – Priority Areas for Action-Goals, Strategies and Key Performance Indicators

Eight Priority Areas for Action have been identified in the Office’s Disability Action Plan

  1. Accessibility of the physical environment for people with disabilities is improved;
  2. Positive attitudes to people with disabilities are promoted to staff, the community and the media;
  3. Employees who have or may have contact with the public are trained to provide appropriate services to people with disabilities;
  4. Information about services in accessible formats is provided to people with disabilities;
  5. The NSW Public Sector policy requiring the making of adjustments to all aspects of employment to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities is implemented.
  6. Accessible complaint handling procedures for people with disabilities are developed;
  7. Current practices are reviewed to determine ways in which these might restrict the access of users or potential users who have disabilities.
  8. Training and development mechanisms improve access to learning for people with disabilities;

1. Priority Area for Action: Physical Access

Goal / Outcome:

To ensure the maintenance of a continuous path of travel as an uninterrupted route to or within the Office’s premises.

Identified Barriers:

None – the Office’s premises feature continuous paths of travel without steps, stairways, turnstiles, revolving doors, escalators, hazards or other impediments which would prevent them from being safely negotiated by people with disabilities. The Office’s CBD location and proximity to Wynyard station ensures adequate transport.

Performance Indicators:

Physical access impediments are avoided as a result of fit-outs or other accommodation work.


Strategies

Resources

Officer Responsible

Timeframe

Fit outs/accommodation adjustments are planned in keeping with the objective of unimpeded physical access.

Existing.

Manager Administration

Ongoing

Access for the disabled is reviewed, including communications such as signage in consultation with the building owners and appropriate adjustments made.   Manager Administration December 2000

2. Priority Area for Action: Promoting Positive Community Attitudes

Goal / Outcome:

Positive attitudes to people with disabilities are promoted to staff and school students

Identified Barriers:

None identified however there are presently no specific measures in place to promote positive perceptions of the disabled.

Performance Indicator:

All staff, but especially those with a direct exposure to people with disabilities are informed about the needs of disabled people.

Strategies

Resources

Officer Responsible

Timeframe

The Office’s Disability Action Plan and complementary articles and stories are made available to staff through the General Managers newsletters, staff meetings EEO planning, induction programs, and the Office intranet and internet

Existing

Branch Heads

EEO Planning Group

December 2000

The opportunity to include, in various parts of the curriculum learning matter which promotes the needs of the disabled is reviewed and addressed. Existing Director Curriculum December 2000

3. Priority Area for Action: Training of Staff

Goal / Outcome:

Employees who have or may have contact with the public have been trained in relation to the provision of appropriate services to people with disabilities.

Identified Barriers:

The Office has a small number of staff with direct access to clients. These Officers are attached to the CustomerLiaison Unit, Information Services Branch, Special Provisions Unit, Examinations and Certification Branch and Assessment Branch and Board of Studies Liaison Officers. Many of these officers may not have had training in the special needs of people with disabilities.

Performance Indicator:

All staff with a client contact role are trained in the needs of disabled people.

Strategies

Resources

Officer Responsible

Timeframe

Determine staff training needs and explore training opportunities offered by the Department of Education and Training and other providers

Staff training and development budget

Branch Heads

Staff Training and Development Group

December 2000

4. Priority Area for Action: Information about Services

Goal /Outcome:

Information about services in accessible formats is provided to people with disabilities.

Identified Barriers:

Scope has been identified for possible improvements to existing communication processes and mechanisms, e.g. the BOSLO program DET support teachers, Distance Education and mailing lists and broad staff understanding of provisions for the disabled.

Performance Indicator:

Strategies

Resources

Officer Responsible

Timeframe

  • Brief Board of Studies Liaison Officers on services for the disabled.
  • Brief Department of Education support teachers on the Office’s services for students with disabilities
  • Include the Disability Action Plan in staff induction processes.
  • Review communication devices including the Office’s web-site and mailing lists to identify further opportunities for enhancement to improve access to services

Existing

Manager Planning and Development Branch and Director Curriculum

Director Curriculum and Director Examinations and Certification

Branch Heads

Director Information Services

Director Examinations and Certification

Director Finance and Administration

September 2000

September 2000

December 2000

December 2000

5. Priority Area for Action: Employment in the Public Sector

Goal / Outcome:

Progress towards the Government’s employment benchmark for people with disabilities is realised.

Identified Barriers:

Staff awareness of the needs of disabled people including workplace adjustment. Staff Selection Committee understanding of the value and potential contribution of people with disabilities

Performance Indicator:

Progress towards the Government’s employment benchmark as indicated by workforce profile statistics is realised each year over the life of this plan.

Strategies

Resources

Officer Responsible

Timeframe

  • Training of Selection Committees incorporates disability issues;
  • The disability sector is targeted for recruitment purposes where appropriate.

Existing

Leader H/R

Leader H/R and Staff Training and Development Group and branch heads

December 2000

Ongoing

6. Priority Area for Action: Complaints Procedures

Goal / Outcome:

The Office develops a complaints-handling mechanism for people with disabilities.

Identified Barriers:

The current complaints handling arrangements may be inadequate or inaccessible for people with disabilities

Performance Indicator:

Anaccessible complaints-handling mechanism is developed for people with disabilities.

Strategies

Resources

Officer Responsible

Timeframe

  • A review of current arrangements is undertaken with the objective of incorporating new features focusing on the needs of people with disabilities.
  • The upgrading of the Office’s complaints handling process is coordinated and monitored including its review by an appropriate group representing the disabled.

Existing

Manager Examinations and Certification and the

Director Curriculum

Manager Planning and Development Branch

December 2000

December 2000

7. Priority Area for Action: Access to Services

Goal / Outcome:

The Office’s services for people with disabilities are reviewed to determine whether the access of people with disabilities to those services is restricted.

Identified Barriers:

To be determined as part of the review process.

Performance Indicator:

The review is successfully carried out and any identified impediments to access progressively improved.

Strategies

Resources

Officer Responsible

Timeframe

A review is undertaken of ease of access by people with disabilities to:

  • HSC Inquiry Centre;
  • Student Advice, e.g. HSC Advice Line;
  • Programs of study.
  • The provision of toilets for the disabled.

Existing

On a possible shared basis with the Building owners or if necessary from within existing resources.

  • Director Examinations and Certification
  • Director Examinations and Certification
  • Director Curriculum
  • Director Finance and Administration

December 2000

December 2000

December 2000

December 2000

8. Priority Area for Action: A Review of the Syllabus Development Process

Goal/Outcome

To establish whether improved access to learning can be achieved for users who have disabilities.

Identified Barriers

To be determined as part of the review.

Performance Indicators

The development of outcomes that are sufficiently inclusive to provide the full range of students with the capacity to display achievement within the syllabus area.

Strategies

Resources

Officer Responsible

Timeframe

  • Development of a Kindergarten to Year 10 curriculum framework which will guide the evaluation and revision of K-10 syllabuses.
  • Consolidation of the Boards syllabus development process ensuring that requirements for inclusive curriculum development are clearly stated and achievable.

Existing

Director Curriculum

Director Curriculum

January 2001

January 2001



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