Department program

Inclusive education for students with disabilities

We're delivering an inclusive education agenda to give schools extra resources, support and guidance.

The aim is to create safe and inclusive school environments for students with disabilities and additional needs.

The initiatives focus on developing the knowledge and skills of school staff, and giving schools clearer guidance and specialist support to better respond to the needs of students with disabilities.

What Victorian students have to say about inclusive education

What inclusion means to me? 

Inclusion - full responses

00:08 Voiceover: We’re here today to talk about inclusive education for students with disabilities across all areas of schools. In particular, we’re here to hear from students themselves about what inclusive education means to them.

00:23 Student 1: Inclusion is important because people with different disabilities and different conditions have different skills, different perspectives that need to be heard.

00:32 Student 2: In education, we want every student to succeed in their own way and to the best of their ability.

00:37 Student 3: Inclusion is important because we need to value everyone as an equal.

00:41 Student 4: It’s important to understand people have different cultures and diversities.

00:46 Student 5: Well for me, it means that everyone gets to be involved, there is more fun with activities and everyone feels included, and everyone embraces everyone’s diversity.

00:56 Student 6: Everyone has the right to be included.

00:59 Student 7: To create an environment for the best of each other, (1;02 student ) eg. sports and debate teams

1:05 Student 8: Inclusion is a really good way to support, not just at school, but at home and in the community

1:13 Student 9: It gives everyone a chance to achieve their goals, (1:16 student 10) to have more opportunities in many other things such as getting a job and living independently.

1:23 Student 11: Inclusion is important to me because everyone belongs in a part of a whole.

1:28 Student 12: It also means that you get to make new friends, and get to know each other.

1:33 Student 13: It allows students, who have an amalgamation of different abilities, to prosper in their own way.

1:39 Student 14: Because everybody deserves to belong, no matter if you’re disabled, autistic or just normal.

1:46 Student 15: And we want to play to every individuals strengths.

Download the What inclusion means to me poster (pdf - 3 (pdf - 3.28mb)

The activities in the inclusive education agenda are a response to recommendations from the review of the program for students with disabilities.

The review investigated how schools can provide the best learning for children and young people with disabilities.

The review provided recommendations on:

  • the current program for students with disabilities' ability to meet the needs and maximise the learning of all children and young people with disabilities in Victorian government schools.
  • the future capacity of the government school system to meet the specific needs of students with autism spectrum disorder and dyslexia.
  • the feasibility of shifting to a strength-based, functional needs assessment approach for students with disabilities. This is consistent with the directions of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
  • the efficacy of the current year 6–7 program — its purpose, timing, requirements and influence on students' transition from primary to secondary school, and recommendations of alternative models.
  • the program's capacity to support the Victorian Government's commitment to excellence in inclusive education, including an assessment of accountabilities.
  • advice on operationalising the recommendations of the review, including transition implications.

Review report and response

To read the review report and the Government's response, see:


The review was informed by a number of resources, including:

  • academic research
  • Australian Government reports
  • material from disability organisations.

The research provides an ongoing evidence base that may assist with implementing the Government's response to the review.

The literature used in the review represents the views of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Department or the State of Victoria.


Consultations were run with more than 100 participants representing 24 organisations, facilitated by Dr Graeme Innes, the former Australian Disability Discrimination Commissioner.

170 submissions were received from the public and there were 1400 respondents to an online survey to determine the attitudes of key stakeholder groups towards potential policy options.