At Kennington Primary School in Bendigo, students with hearing impairments learn in regular classes with support from teachers of the deaf. Like other students, they are embraced.
The Bendigo Deaf Facility is based at the school. An Auslan LOTE program across the school also encourages all students to learn Australian Sign Language.
Principal Travis Eddy says the facility is a great example of the school’s inclusiveness, but certainly not the only one. Mr Eddy says the school also has students with physical disability, learning difficulties, ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Where needed, he and his team prepare individual plans involving physical, emotional or learning support. “We do our best to ensure that every child gets what they need,” he says. “I’d like to think that all government schools are like that.”
With 650 students, including seven children who are deaf, Kennington Primary also has an extensive Wellbeing Program. Mr Eddy says all students benefit from this approach and learn important lessons about difference.
“When people choose to come to Kennington, we welcome them, support the family and support the needs of their children, so they can reach their full potential,” he says.
What is an inclusive school?
Schools that are inclusive welcome children of all abilities and ensure that their facilities are suitable. By law, all Australian schools must make a reasonable effort to include students with disability. For example, it may involve modified toilets, drinking fountains, desks and outdoor tables, captions for visual material, tailored teaching, a modified curriculum and access to other supports.