This framework is designed to promote conversations and enable student-centred parent and educator collaboration. It is methodical but not prescriptive, capable of diversification and can be adapted to each individual student, parent and educator context at the local level.









  • All children can and deserve to learn – Strengths-based
  • Student-centred – “Team student” is made up of Student/Parent/Educator
  • Positive in approach
  • Student voice is paramount – every discussion and decision must have the student’s voice considered
  • VISION is lifelong, and time spent at school can have a huge impact to enable this VISION – the VISION sets the direction of personalised planning
  • Open and regular communication underpins effective collaboration
  • Collaboration is integrated into teacher and school practices and procedures
  • Trial and error, and regular review, is inherent in the design
  • School life and home life are always intertwined
  • The parent/teacher relationship is equitable, valued and honoured.



This framework was researched, developed and designed by educators and parents, with the support of the NSW Department of Education in partnership with Family Advocacy. We have taken their valuable input, understandings and words, to create general thinking and talking points to stimulate your own collaborative conversations and engagement.

We refer to educators and parents throughout the framework. They are the NSW educators and parents of students with disability who have experienced quality student-centred collaborations, who participated in the research, and have contributed to the co-creation of this framework.


In 2016 the NSW audit office recommended that The Department of Education provide additional guidance for schools and parents to strengthen their understanding of what effective consultation looks like when supporting a student with disability.

Evaluations from Family Advocacy’s National Symposium on Inclusive Education (November 2017), highlighted the need for:

  • Understanding of school processes for family involvement/input
  • More clarity around what inclusion really looks like
  • Opportunities to learn from others, and prepare for meetings and discussions with school staff
  • Resources for families to share with schools.
  • Change the model from parental involvement to collaborative engagement; from information given by each, to information sought from each other, before decisions are made.
  • Build capacity in parents and educators’ communication and change strategies – to bridge the distance by fully understanding what each other is trying to achieve for the student. Therefore moving from the parent’s desires and the school’s desires, to a joint process between parents and educators, centred around the student.
  • Develop respectful, collaborative student-centred relationships where each can relate and understand one another, to be able to walk in the other person’s shoes.
  • Offer stimulus to promote and support discussion where understanding of each other’s perspective is required, and when decisions need to be made.
  • Provide appropriate scaffolding to assist parents and educators in their understanding of what inclusion is, why it is important, and how it can come about.

A Key indicator of successful inclusive schooling is where there are strong parent/teacher partnerships. This is documented in a survey by Jackson and Wills (2014) where Australian teachers rated partnerships with parents as the single most important factor to successful inclusion. This is also supported through the evaluations from educators and parents conducted extensively across NSW from events by Family Advocacy.

Case studies conducted in a Harvard graduate school of education research by Hehir et al (2016) determined that ‘Factors such as strong leadership and parent involvement also contribute to the academic success of these three schools.’ In their conclusion the researchers state a coordinated approach to fostering inclusion is necessary and that ‘Parents also need to be included as important partners in their children’s education to help assure the best outcomes’.

Parents and teachers who co-designed the framework both highlighted the importance of two-way communication between educator and student, focusing on the student voice. In this regard, the NSW Department of Education recognises the research of John Hattie’s (2012) sharing new pedagogies where the educator has a new role as activator, including educator-student relationship, reciprocal teaching, and feedback.

Teacher magazine (2017) explores the pedagogy of feedback further, citing Hattie (2008): ‘the best feedback will be adapted to the pre-existing beliefs of individual students. This can be aided by the feedback that flows from the student to teacher in communicating needs, strengths and weaknesses, and informing what the teacher can best do to impact learning’. Hattie & Timperley (2007) also state that feedback can stimulate the equivalent of almost three years’ growth (1.10effect size).


Research Behind the Framework:

Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007), The Power of Feedback, Review of Educational Research, 77(1) http://www.jstor.org/stable/4624888

Hattie, J. (2008), Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. Routledge, London, UK.

Hattie, J. (2012), Visible learning for teachers, Routledge, London, UK.

Hehir, T., Grindal T., Freeman, B., Lamoreau, R., Borquaye, Y., Burke, S., A Summary of the evidence on Inclusive Education. Instituto Alana in partnership with Abt Assoc., Harvard Graduate School of Education (p.11), https://alana.org.br/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/A_Summary_of_the_evidence_on_inclusive_education.pdf

Jackson R., & Wills, D., (2014), What Australian teachers and other professionals think about inclusion and what works best, Interaction, v28/2/’14

Morris J. , Mandouit L,  Rens N. , Smith T. (2007), Feedback to support lifelong learning, Teacher Magazine, May 7, 2017, https://www.teachermagazine.com/au_en/articles/feedback-to-support-lifelong-learning

The Education Endowment Foundation, Feedback, Evidence for Learning website, viewed December 2021, https://www.evidenceforlearning.org.au/the-toolkits/the-teaching-and-learning-toolkit/all-approaches/feedback/

Module 1:

Grenier, M.A. (2011) ‘Coteaching in Physical Education: A Strategy for Inclusive Practice’, Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, Vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 95–112.

NSW Government website education. (2021) Key Learning areas, prepositions in action. Access: https://education.nsw.gov.au/teaching-and-learning/curriculum/key-learning-areas/pdhpe/pdhpe-syllabus-implementation/propositions-in-action

People with Disability Australia. (2018) Social Model of Disability. Access: https://pwd.org.au/resources/disability-info/social-model-of-disability/

Module 2:

Family Advocacy Inclusion Collection. (1994) Dreams and Visions.

Parents Reaching Out. (2013).

Sherwin, J. (2013) Imagining Better: a first step on the path to a good life. ImagineBetter, New Zealand.

Snow, K. (2001) A Principal’s Perspective. Accesss: https://www.disabilityisnatural.com

Stott, J. (2011) Issues Facing Christians Today, (Zondervan, 2006) p.368.

Stroeve, W. (nd) A Parent’s Perspective: An inclusive education as part of an inclusive life. Family Advocacy Inclusion Collection.

Tomko, C.F. (n.d) Developing a Vision. Family Advocacy.

Module 3:

Allmeansall. (2020) For Parents. Australian Alliance for Inclusive Education. Access: https://allmeansall.org.au/for-parents/

A Reggio Emilia Inspired Markerspace. (2020) Access: http://reggioinspiredmakerspace.weebly.com/reggio-emilia-background.html

Gillett-Swan, J, Tancredi, H & Graham, L. (2020) ‘Putting students at the centre’ Graham, L Inclusive Education for the 21st Century: Theory, Policy and Practice. Allen & Urwin. P.267.

Graham, L. (2020) Inclusive Education for the 21st Century: Theory, Policy and Practice. Allen & Urwin. Crows Nest, NSW, Australia.

How I learn. (2021) Empowering students with disabilities to advocate for their individual learning and accessibility needs. VisAbility. Access: https://www.howilearn.com.au/

Kluth, P. (2003) Strengths and Strategies – Assessing and Sharing What Matters. Access: https://www.paulakluth.com/readings/inclusive-schooling/strengths-and-strategies/

Mann, G. Hodge, N. Runswick-Cole, K, Gilmore, L, Mavropoulou, S & Fleming, K. (2020) ‘Putting students at the centre’ Graham, L Inclusive Education for the 21st Century: Theory, Policy and Practice. Allen & Urwin. P345.

Mann, G., Gilmore, L., Robertson, A., Kennedy-Wood, L., & Maia-Pike, L. (2023). Little things mean a lot: parent perspectives on positive teacher-parent communication when students have disability. Teachers and Teaching, Theory and Practiceahead-of-print(ahead-of-print), 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1080/13540602.2023.2241020

NSW Government website: (2021) Whole school approach. Wellbeing framework for schools. Access: https://education.nsw.gov.au/student-wellbeing/whole-school-approach/wellbeing-framework-for-schools

Rawe, J. (2014) Strengths-Based IEPs: What you Need to Know. Understood For All Inc.

Snow, K. (2001) A Principal’s Perspective. Access: www.disabilityisnatural.com

Snow, K. (2012) Let’s start with strengths. From the www.disabilityisnatural.com E-newsletter by Kathie Snow.

Module 4:

Department of Education and Training (2018) Empowering students through voice, agency and leadership. State of Victoria.

Fletcher, A. (2005). Meaningful Student Involvement: Guide to Students as Partners in School Change, created for SoundOut.org in partnership with HumanLinks Foundation.

Graham, L. (2020) Inclusive Education for the 21st Century: Theory, Policy and Practice. Allen & Urwin. Crows Nest, NSW, Australia.

Leadbeater, C. (2017). Student agency: Learning to make a difference. Seminar Series. 269, Centre for Strategic Education.

New South Wales Department of Education. (2019) Principal model of all children being known, valued and cared for meeting, Parramatta.

New South Wales Government. (2021) Why student voice matters. Student wellbeing. Access: https://education.nsw.gov.au/student-wellbeing/student-voices/student-voice-and-leadership/why-student-voice-matters

Walker, L. & Logan, A.. (2008). Learner engagement: a review of learner voice initiatives across the UK’s education sectors. Futurelab. Bristol.

West, L. (2004). The Learner’s Voice. Making Space? Challenging Space? From the Keynote Address, 2004, Canterbury Action Research Network (CANTARNET) Conference, reported in The Enquirer, Spring 2005.

Module 5:

Allmeansall. (2021) Your Child’s IEP – Guide for Families on Personalised Plans for Learning and Support. Access: https://allmeansall.org.au/iep-guide/

Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. (2019) Off to School- Starting School on the Right Foot (part2). New Brunswick, Canada.

Snow, K. (n.d.) Parents Individual Education Plan (IE) Report. Family Advocacy Inc.

Snow, K. (2009) New and Improved IEP Meetings. Family Advocacy Inc.

Module 6:

Allmeansall. (2021) Australian Alliance for Inclusive Education. Access: https://allmeansall.org.au/

Carter, E & Kennedy, C. (2006) Promoting Access to the General Curriculum Using Peer Support Strategies. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities 31(4): 284-292. DOI:10.1177/154079690603100402.

Family Advocacy Inc. (n.d.) Encourage Friendships for Children with Disabilities.

Harpur, P. (2012) From disability to ability: changing the phrasing of the debate, Disability & Society, 27:3, 325-337, DOI: 10.1080/09687599.2012.654985.

Hehir, T, Grindal, T, Freeman, B, Lamoreau, R, Borquaye, Y & Burke, S. (2016) A Summary of the Evidence on Inclusive Education. Alana. Abt Associates.

Inclusive schools Australia. (2019) https://inclusiveschools.com.au/

Mallet, R & Runswick-Cole, K. (2014) Approaching Disability : Critical Issues and Perspectives, Taylor & Francis Group, ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newcastle/detail.action?docID=1721084

NSW Department of Education. (2020) What works best in practice. Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation. New South Wales Government.

Sapon-Shevin, M (n.d.) Initial Steps for developing a caring school. Family Advocacy Inc.

Shevin, M.S. (n.d.) Philosophy in Practice. Family Advocacy Inc.

Staub, D & Peck, C.A. (1995) What are the outcomes for Nondisabled Students? Educational Leadership. 52(40, 36-40).

Module 7:

Alana. (2016) A Summary of the evidence on Inclusive Education. Abt Associates.

Alchin, G. (2014) Practically Speaking: Is reasonable adjustment a deficit ideology?. Special Education Perspectives. Vol 23, Number 1, pp: 3-6.

Allmeansall. (2021) Australian Alliance for Inclusive Education: For Educators. Access https://allmeansall.org.au/for-educators/

Australian Research Alliance for Children & youth (ARACY). (n.d.) Inclusve Education for Students with Disability: A review of the best evidence in relation to theory and practice.

Cologon, K. (2019) Towards inclusive education: A necessary process of transformation. CYDA.

Deakin University. (2018) Inclusive Education Principles. Accessed: https://blogs.deakin.edu.au/iccb/wp-content/uploads/sites/170/2018/09/ICCB-IE-Principles-110918.jpg

Families for Inclusive Education Project. (n.d.) Families for Inclusive Education. Community Resource Unit Ltd.

Graham, J. (2019) Personalised learning, inclusion and equity. Professional Voice 12.3.

Graham, L. (2020) Inclusive Education for the 21st Century: Theory, Policy and Practice. Allen & Urwin. Crows Nest, NSW, Australia.

Kendrick, M. (n.d.) SRV as a resource for seeking and shaping a Good Life. Family Advocacy Inc.

Kluth, P. (n.d.)  Is your school inclusive. Family Advocacy Inc.

Loreman, T. (2009) Straight talk about inclusive education. CASS Connections, Spring.

Sapon-Shevin, M. (n.d.) Initial Steps for developing a caring school. Family Advocacy Inc.

Sherwin, J. (2014) Getting the Good Life. Family Advocacy Inc.

Westwood, P. (2016) Teaching Methods: Differentiated Instruction. Australian Council for Educational Research. Access: https://www.teachermagazine.com/au_en/articles/teaching-methods-differentiated-instruction

Young, M. (n.d.) A Principal’s Perspective about inclusive education. Family Advocacy Inc.

Module 8:

Bishop, R, Berryman, M & Tiakiwai. (2003) Te Kotahitanga: The experiences of year 9 and 10 Maori students in mainstream classrooms. Report to the Ministry.

Carter, E & Kennedy, C. (2006) Promoting Access to the General Curriculum Using Peer Support Strategies. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities. Vol 31 (4) pp 284-292.

Department of Education. (2015) Good teaching: Inclusive Teaching for students with Disability. Tasmanian Government.

INKY ED. (2020) Inclusive Education nothing exceptional…it just is!. Access: https://inkyed.wordpress.com/

Kluth, P & Dimon-Borowski, M. (2003) Strengths & Strategies Profile.

Kluth, P. (2021) Inclusive Schooling Readings. Paula Kluth: toward inclusive classrooms and communities. Access: https://www.paulakluth.com/readings/inclusive-schooling/strengths-and-strategies/

Malaquias, C. (2021) For educators. Australian Alliance for Inclusive Education. Access: https://allmeansall.org.au/for-educators/

Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability. (2020) Planning for personalised learning and support: A nation resource. Education Services Australia Ltd.

Shevin, M.S. (n.d.) Philosophy in Practice. Family Advocacy Inc.

Snow, K. (2012) Start with Strengths. Family Advocacy Inc.

Snow, K. (2021) No Not Special; They’re Ordinary Needs. Disability is Natural. Access: https://www.disabilityisnatural.com/ordinary-needs.html

Staub, D & Peck, C.A. (1995) What are the Outcomes for Nondisabled Students? Educational Leadership, 52(4), pp 36-40.

Tancredi, H. (2020) Consulting Students with Disability: A practical guide for educators and other professionals (PDF). The Centre for Inclusive Education. QUT. Access: https://research.qut.edu.au/c4ie/practice-guide-student-consultation

The Inclusive Class. (2015) The Inclusive Class. Access: http://www.theinclusiveclass.com/

Module 9:

Australian Government Department of Education, Skill and Employment (2021) Positive Partnerships. Growth Model. Access: https://www.positivepartnerships.com.au/

Causton, J, Tracy-Bronson, C.P, & MacLeod, K. (2015) Beyond Threats and Timeouts: Humanistic Behavioural Support in Inclusive Classrooms. International Journal of Whole Schooling. Vol 11, No.1.

D’Angelo, A.J. (1995) The College Blue Book: A Few Thoughts, Reflections & Reminders on How to Get the Most out of College and Life. Arkad Press.

Department of Education, Skills and Employment. (2020) Parent Engagement in Learning, Commonwealth of Australia.

Graham, L. (2020) Inclusive Education for the 21st Century: Theory, Policy and Practice. Allen & Urwin. Crows Nest, NSW, Australia.

Kriegal, O. (2021) Parent-Teacher Conflict Management: Tips for a Speedy Resolution. Hey Teach! Access: https://www.wgu.edu/heyteach/article/Parent-teacher-conflict-management-tips-for-a-speedy-resolution1704.html

Problem-solving strategies for parents and teachers. (2021) Raising Children Network (Australia) Limited. Access: https://raisingchildren.net.au/school-age/school-learning/working-with-schools-teachers/problem-solving-for-parents-teachers