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Students Direct Inclusive School Development in an Australian Secondary School: An Example of Student Empowerment

  • Suzanne Carrington (a1) and Kris Holm (a1)


This paper reports on processes employed at a secondary state high school in Australia, where students directed inclusive school development. The procedures used in the study were developed from the Index for Inclusion and included a student forum; a student presentation to parents, principal and teachers and a focus group interview with members of the school community. These procedures were designed to empower students to participate in school review and planning and evaluate the procedures developed from the Index for Inclusion. Samples of interview data from the school principal, staff, parents and the students illustrate a growing understanding of what inclusive education means for members of this school community. The research extends understandings of inclusive education in schools, from a focus on students with disabilities to a much broader philosophy that influences school culture, policy and practice for the diversity of students at the school. Discussion about feeling part of a ‘family’ in the school community and the description of the procedures linked to actions for change, provide evidence of a developing inclusive school culture that will inform educators interested in inclusive school development.


Corresponding author

Dr. Suzanne Carhngton. School of Learning and Professional Studies, Faculty of Education, Queensland University of Technology, Victoria Park Road, Kelvin Grove 4059 Queensland Australia. Email:


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Australasian Journal of Special and Inclusive Education
  • ISSN: 1030-0112
  • EISSN: 1833-6914
  • URL: /core/journals/australasian-journal-of-special-and-inclusive-education
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