Ian Jackson

Date of Submission



Australian schools are under increasing pressure to successfully provide for students with disabilities. The impact of the inclusion movement over the past twenty years has empowered more parents to enrol children with special education needs in regular schools. The proclamation by the Australian government of the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and the Disability Standards for Education (2005) has made schools accountable for their provision for students with disabilities. Principals and their school communities are therefore seeking guidance in developing effective teaching and learning strategies for these students. This study surveyed teachers, parents, students and principals in four western Sydney Catholic secondary schools identified as leaders in special education about factors the positively provided for their students with disabilities. Principal behaviour, principal engagement and a range of schools conditions were found to be key factors in these schools. Principals who promoted sound pedagogical practices and articulated inclusive school goals and expectations were found to contribute to a school's successful provision for these students. These behaviours represented a sub-set of school leadership practices found in the literature as providing for all students. Principal engagement was identified as a new concept for describing how principals exercised their leadership roles for these students.


School of Educational Leadership

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


514 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Faculty of Education