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Lauren Bland S00182206 EDFD221

Dear Mr McDonald,

I am writing to you in regards to your recent suggestion I

should seek alternative arrangements for my daughter, Molly

Blands education. I chose your school as I believed it was the best

fit for my daughter and would allow her to grow and reach her full

potential. As you are already aware, Molly has Dyslexia, causing her

to struggle with reading and spelling, in particular single word

reading (Australia Dyslexia Association, 2014). Connected to her

learning needs, Molly also suffers from low self-esteem, especially in

social environments when she tends to compare herself to others.

Though I understand that Molly will need learning support, she is so

much more than the additional learning needs she displays. Molly is

quite a social child; she enjoys working in groups, getting involved in

hands-on activities and has a high social intelligence, causing her to

be extremely considerate of others and their feelings. Molly also has

a very creative mind; hence, academically she enjoys subjects such

as art, music and writing. Molly comes from a stable, loving family,

and we are committed to supporting Molly and her school in anyway

we can so that Molly can reach her full potential. I ask that you

please consider her many strengths first, rather than her learning

needs, as it does not define her or what she is capable of achieving.

In relation to your suggestion of alternative arrangements for

Molly, I would like to bring to your attention to some of the

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principles of inclusion. Inclusion in education is the integration of all

students, no matter their diversity, into regular mainstream schools.

This links to the principle of normalization; the idea that people are

entitled to live as normal as possible a lifestyle in their community

(Foreman & Arthur-Kelly, 2014, p. 10). In regards to education, this

principle states that all students should be able to choose to attend

their local school. The principles of social justice and human rights

state that individuals with a disability want to/and should be viewed

as the person first before their disability, and decisions should not

be solely based on their disability (Foreman & Arthur-Kelly, 2014).

This principle is further emphasized in the Disability Standards for

Education 2005, where it states that students with additional needs

must be treated the same as all other students, particularly in the

area of enrolment. I would like you to think as to whether you have

adhered to this when considering Mollys education at your school.

Being a catholic school I expect a more inclusive attitude towards

diversity considering it aligns with the catholic values. According to

the Catholic Education Melbourne enrolment policy (2009), catholic

schools must strive to include all students regardless of their

background or needs and are expected to accommodate for any

addition needs. Given this information, I am confused and struggling

to understand why my daughter would be suggested alternative

arrangements instead of being welcomed with open arms as

another unique individual to join the school community.

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Lauren Bland S00182206 EDFD221

I would also like to remind you of the current legislation in

Australia that protects the rights of all students. The Disability

Discrimination Act, 1992 (DDA) states that it is against the law to

discriminate against a person on the grounds of their disability. As

further highlighted in the Convention on the Rights of the Child

(UNICEF, 2014), it is Mollys basic right to attend school and to be

treated equally. I believe that by attending a mainstream school,

Molly will be able to learn not just through the support of the

teachers but also her peers; and exclusion will inevitably have a

negative effect on her already low self-esteem. Allowing Molly to

attend your school will not only have benefits for Molly, but also will

benefit the school community in helping to change discriminatory

attitudes, develop a welcoming, inclusive community and enhance

the idea that human differences are in fact normal (UNESCO, 1994).

A school should be able to cater for the various different

learning needs, abilities and styles of their students. Demonstrating

flexibility and accessibility in the way learning is provided is

practicing educational inclusion (Foreman & Arthur-Kelly, 2014).

Gardener (1993) emphasizes the idea of multiple intelligences and

how students have strengths in a range of different areas in the

curriculum. Molly may struggle with some of her literacy aspects,

however she is a very capable student in other areas of the

curriculum and should be given the opportunity to demonstrate this.

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Lauren Bland S00182206 EDFD221

According to the Australian Dyslexia Association (2014), research

has indicated that we should be wary of assuming language or

cognitive processing difficulties are deficits. Some of the differences

dyslexic individuals display can lead to advantages and additional

strengths due to using different kinds of thinking and different paths

to learning (ADA, 2014). Furthermore, Yale University states that

generally dyslexics have an average or above average intelligence

(cited via Child Development Institute, 2015). Regardless of this

information, academic success and capability should not be based

primarily on someones ability to do the core subjects of literacy and

mathematics. All students are capable of learning, learn differently

and are good at different things, and schools need to cater for this

and encourage success in a large variety of subjects (Cassidy,

2004).

Furthermore, the National Safe Schools Framework (2005)

outlines the importance that all Australian schools are safe,

supportive and respectful teaching and learning communities. The

framework asserts that schools are to encourage the active

participation of all school community members in developing and

maintaining a safe school community where diversity is

valued(Department of Education and Training, 2016). I just want to

remind you that diversity does not just mean cultural diversity; it

includes gender, religion, race, ethnicity, sexuality and disability

(Foreman & Arthur-Kelly, 2014). The framework also highlights the

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importance of schools developing partnerships with families. Todd

(2007) and the Victorian Department of Education and Early

Childhood Development (2010) further emphasises this idea,

affirming that partnerships with parents is an essential for childrens

learning and that schools and families need to work collaboratively.

As stated previously, I am more than willing to work together with

the school throughout Mollys educational journey.

It is important to recognise that the intention of school is to

not just to academically educate but to also provide students with

opportunities to build character. According to the National

Framework for Values Education (2016), schools are asked to give all

students a fair go and offer care and compassion. This is to be

demonstrated by treating all people fairly and caring for self and

others. Another value included in the framework is understanding,

tolerance and inclusion, which calls for acceptance and the inclusion

of diversity (NFVEA, 2005). I really hope that you consider these

values in regards to Mollys educational future at the school.

In conclusion, I really hope that you reflect upon the

information I have provided for you in this letter and reconsider your

suggestion to seek alternative arrangements. All I want is for Molly

not to be defined by her additional learning needs, and to be

accepted and supported for the beautiful, intelligent, caring girl that

she is. Overall, I believe that Molly will be a great asset to the school

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and that the school community would benefit from knowing her, just

as much as she will benefit from knowing them.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you,

Lauren Bland

References:

Australian Dyslexia Association. (2014). What is Dyslexia. Retrieved

16 March 2017, from http://dyslexiaassociation.org.au/how-is-

dyslexia-evaluate

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Child Development Institute. (2015). Improving Reading for Children

and Teens. Retrieved from

https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/learning/dyslexia/improving_readi

ng/#.WMtEwDcVfzI

Disability Discrimination Act 1992. (1992). Legislation.gov.au.

Retrieved 16 March 2017,

from https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2015C00252

Department of Education and Training. (2016). Student Wellbeing

Hub- National Safe Schools Framework. Retrieved 17 March 2017,

from

https://www.studentwellbeinghub.edu.au

Department of Education, Science and Training. (2016). National

framework for values in Australian schools. Retrieved from

https://www.education.gov.au/national-safe-schools-framework-0

Department of Education and Training. (2005). Disability Standards

for Education. Retrieved from

https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/disability_stand

ards_for_education_2005_plus_guidance_notes.pdf

Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. (2010).

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Department of Education and Early Childhood Development Annual

Report 2009-2010. Retrieved from

http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/about/department/2009

10deecdannualreport.pdf

Enrolment for Schools: Policy 2.4. (2009). Catholic Education

Melbourne.

Retrieved 23 March 2016, from http://www.cem.edu.au/publications-

and-policies/policy/policy-2.4-Enrolment-for-Schools/

Foreman, P., & Arthur-Kelly, M. (Eds.)(2014). Inclusion in Action (4th

ed.). South Melbourne, Australia: Cengage Learning.

Gardner, H. (1993). Multiple intelligences. New York, NY: Basic

Books.

Simon Cassidy (2004) Learning Styles: An overview of theories,

models, and measures, Educational Psychology, 24:4, 419-444, DOI:

10.1080/0144341042000228834

The Convention on the Rights Of the Child: Guiding principles:

general requirements for all rights. (2014) (1st ed.). Retrieved from

http://www.unicef.org/crc/files/Guiding_Principles.pdf

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Todd, L., (2007). Partnerships for Inclusive Education : A Critical

Approach to Collaborative

Working. Retrieved from http://www.eblib.com

UNESCO. (1994). The Salamanca Statement and Framework for

Action on Special Needs Education. Paris: United Nations. Retrieved

from https://leocontent.acu.edu.au/file/e15c9dc6-4eb2-542b-dbf1-

2af04d69cb60/1/Salamanca%20statement.pdf