Appendix 3: Evaluation indicators including students with special education needs

Whole school culture and commitment which underpins the actions and initiatives to promote presence, participation and engagement, and achievement of students with special education needs

Students with special education needs are valued:

  • The board of trustees and principal are committed to building an inclusive school through their comments, policies, processes, resourcing and planning.
  • The principal provides ethical leadership and is committed to meeting the diverse needs of every student, including students with special education needs.
  • The board has allocated appropriate resources to support inclusion of students with special education needs e.g. the use of special education and local funding for PLD and staffing.
  • Students with special education needs are expected to achieve and contribute to school culture.
  • School staff understand that it is their responsibility to adapt to the needs of the student – rather than ‘fit’ the student to their school and class.
  • Parents, whānau and the wider school appreciate the benefits for all students of their children working with students with special education needs.

School systems and actions are designed to support students with special education needs:

  • The school has a plan to improve inclusion of and provisions for students with special education needs. It reviews progress, including charter goals and actions in the annual plan.
  • Teachers openly share the successes and challenges in their teaching of students with special education needs (no-blame approach).
  • The success of students with special education needs is celebrated.
  • Regular students have been provided with coaching, support and modelling to appropriately relate to students with special education needs.
  • The school has an appropriate positive behaviour programme to encourage pro-social behaviour and attitudes.
  • Planning and reporting includes evidence to demonstrate how schools are using the Ministry of Education’s Special Education Grant.
  • Regular monitoring and review cycles inform strategic planning and decision-making for students with special education needs.
  • The board receives reports about provisions and outcomes for students with special needs, and about the school’s progress towards being fully inclusive.

Services and support for students with special education needs are coordinated to meet their needs:

  • An effective, senior member of staff is given responsibility for coordinating specialist services and resources to ensure optimum inclusion of children with special education needs (and this is given high status in the school).
  • A Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) (or equivalent) coordinates involvement of families, staff and specialists to develop IEPs.
  • A SENCO (or equivalent) coordinates an appropriate range of services or staff to support any specialised needs presented by students with special education needs, for example resource teachers of learning and behaviour, speech-language therapists and teacher’s aides.
  • A SENCO (or equivalent) provides professional learning and development (PLD), support and guidance for teachers and teacher’s aides to effectively include and teach students with special education needs.
  • A SENCO (or equivalent) oversees the progress of students with special education needs and identifies effective strategies that may help other students.
  • There is a formal process of planning for students as they move from teacher to teacher.
  • There is a plan in place so that students with special education needs are able to attend school even when their teacher or teacher’s aide is absent.

PLD supports the specific needs of students with special education needs:

  • Leaders have undergone PLD on creating an inclusive school.
  • Staff receive PLD on creating a school-wide culture of inclusion and on inclusive teaching practices.
  • PLD for teachers supports their ability to teach students with diverse needs (e.g. differentiating teaching).
  • Teachers and teacher’s aides receive high quality PLD to understand and support the specific learning needs of particular students with special education needs, for instance PLD for Autism Spectrum Disorder or challenging behaviour.

Presence

Students and families are inducted into the school so that they feel welcome and confident that their needs will be met:

  • The school welcomes students with special education needs (i.e. has not suggested to parents that their children would be better off elsewhere).
  • The school’s induction process supports a smooth transition for students with special education needs and their families.
  • The school has adapted its physical environment to meet the needs of students with special education needs (e.g. putting in a ramp).
  • The induction process works well at all times through the year.

Students’ needs, strengths and interests are identified and documented in high quality IEPs:

  • The school supports the learning and development of students with special education with high-quality, collaborative processes and systems to identify and respond to their educational needs, strengths and interests.
  • The school uses effective tools and systems, including National Standards and benchmarks, to gather, collate, analyse and use assessment and other information for students with special needs to improve teaching and learning.
  • The school has culturally responsive processes to identify and support the needs and aspirations of Māori and Pacific students with special education needs and their whānau/families.
  • The school seeks and uses the student’s point of view about what supports their inclusion and learning (decision-making).
  • IEPs include appropriate goals, teaching strategies, support and resources in relation to any physical, sensory, neurological, psychiatric, behavioural or intellectual impairments.
  • The school liaises with ECEs or previous schools to share information about needs, strengths and support.

Participation and engagement

The school develops a constructive partnership with families to support the ongoing inclusion of students with special education needs:

  • The school respects, values and uses the knowledge parents have of their child’s learning, development and achievement to contribute to plans for students with special education needs.
  • Parents are included in IEPs and any planning processes, and are informed about resources and specialist help available.
  • The school provides parents with regular feedback about their child's progress, including celebrating success, and how they might complement school-based learning at home.
  • The process for complaints from parents and whānau is clear and used effectively to resolve complaints.
  • The school responds appropriately to concerns from parents and whānau.
  • The school surveys parents about their experiences and satisfaction with provisions for their child.

Class teaching supports the participation and engagement of students with special education needs

  • Students with special education needs learn alongside their peers in regular classes as much as possible.
  • Teaching is planned and differentiated with the diverse learning needs of all students in mind.
  • School staff actively support the social development of students with special education needs by encouraging them to participate and work cooperatively along with other students.
  • Learning programmes and experiences support the objectives identified in IEPs or other planning and are not just ‘busy work’.
  • Teachers use teacher’s aides effectively to support inclusion of students with special education needs.

Students with special education needs are included outside the classroom:

  • Students with special education needs engage with their classmates during intervals, lunchtimes, before and after school
  • Students with special education needs are supported to take part in physical activity (where appropriate) and other learning activities outside the classroom.
  • Students with special education needs are supported to take part in sporting and cultural activities, events and camps alongside regular students at the school.

Responsibility for supporting students with special education needs is well understood and its effectiveness monitored:

  • IEPs are developed for students with high needs so that resources, roles and responsibilities are clear.
  • The school has resourced high quality physical and educational support for the range of needs demonstrated by students with special education needs.
  • The effectiveness of learning supports is monitored.
  • Learning support is coordinated with IEPs, and well developed objectives for student learning and development.

Achievement

Students with special education needs progress and achieve:

  • Schools can show that students with special education needs are making progress in their IEPs and/or any agreed goals, and have improved in learning, social, communication, physical, behaviour and/or attitudes.
  • Schools can show that students with special education needs are making progress and achieving in a variety of contexts: leadership, sporting and cultural.
  • There is a process to describe progressions within level 1 of the curriculum.
  • There is a process for smooth transition to next school, tertiary provider or community support group.

Students with special education needs feel safe and valued as part of their peer group:

  • Students with special education needs have supportive relationships with their peers.
  • Students with special education needs have friendships with regular students and are included in social events outside of the school.
  • Regular students demonstrate tolerance, warmth, understanding and friendship to students with special education needs in their classrooms.