More inclusive education system on the horizon

Minister of Education Dave Hancock

By Staff

Alberta students with special education needs will soon find a more inclusive education system. The province announced Friday it will begin providing improved learning and teaching resources, more professional development for teachers and educational assistants, and begin developing a regional service delivery model to support all students.

The initiatives are the province’s response to 12 recommendations contained in the Setting the Direction Framework put forth by Alberta Education.

“The work ahead marks an incredible shift in the way we educate all of our children,” said Minister of Education Dave Hancock. “An educational culture that values the unique gifts of each and every child, and a new approach to service delivery will enable us to better integrate and tailor supports to the needs of our children and youth, so that every student can achieve success.”

The Setting the Direction Framework identifies three priority areas: curriculum, capacity and collaboration, and recommends a vision of an inclusive education system that repositions special education within the broader education system.

The government sees an inclusive education system providing a values-based approach to accepting collective responsibility and achieving accountability for all students, including those with special and diverse needs.

Seven thousand Albertans were consulted by the Setting the Direction Steering Committee during three phases of public consultation. The province reports that during those consultations both stakeholders and the public expressed high expectations for significant change in how supports and services are provided to children and youth with special and/or complex needs.

“Throughout the Setting the Direction process, there was a phenomenal breadth and depth of citizen engagement,” Hancock said.
Alberta Education, along with Health and Wellness and Children and Youth Services, will work to reduce duplication of services across the three ministries.

The province plans to work with stakeholders and service providers over the next few years as Setting the Direction is implemented.

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