Recently, the Queensland (QLD) Government released the findings of a research into the education of students with a disability in QLD schools. There were many areas in which I could comment. I was particularly interested in the recommendations related to the Head of Special Education Services (HOSES).
My interest is related to my PhD research which was about the practices of an exemplary secondary school HOSES. The full thesis was titled, “Powering a Curriculum for All”.
I think it is timely that I make more public and accessible my research and its findings. I hope that I can contribute to the “redevelopment of the role” based on the findings of my research.
There were many findings of how the role is not always valued in schools; the impact of successful practices of the HOSES; how schools recreate community attitudes and values including exclusion and inclusion; how the word “special” alienates staff as well as children in the educational community; and, how an exemplary leader such as the HOSES can overcome exclusionary practice.
The HOSES in my research was skilled at applying practices that enacted inclusion and “curriculum for all”. We can all learn from the manner and methods of their leadership practices. The link well to the AITSL Leadership profiles as they highlight practice, not just behaviour. “Practice” relates to social groups such as school teams as opposed to behaviour that relates to individuals. I like to use this definition of practice –
An exemplary HOSES has a number of practices (methods and manner) that can be applied to overcome exclusionary attitudes and behaviours and promote inclusion.
I have created a YouTube video as an executive summary of my research. I hope it is useful for leaders wanting to embed inclusive education in their context.