Personalising Learning to enable students to Connect, Succeed and Thrive

The ACEL 2016 Delivering Personalised Learning Summit was held on Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 May at the Sydney Masonic Centre in Sydney. Delegates from all states and territories and New Zealand attended the two-day event.

The Summit provided over 300 delegates with an opportunity to engage with the theme of Connect, Succeed, Thrive. Students whose learning is impacted by a disability must connect with learning, students and staff, and make connections between school and home. Effective connections will lead to successful learners, integrated members of society and contributors. These students will thrive in their learning environments and achieve as successful members of their communities.

The Summit themes were connected throughout all sessions, as delegates were informed by international leaders in research in personalised learning – Professor Christine Walther Thomas (Professor, Special Education and Disability Policy, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA) and Professor Mary Lynn Boscardin (President, Council of Administrators of Special Education, College of Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst USA), as well as national and system leaders in policy development and implementation – Greg Prior (Deputy Secretary, School Operations and Performance, Department of Education NSW), Diane Joseph (Director General, ACT Education and Training Directorate) and Professor Michael Arthur Kelly (SE25 Special Education Centre, The University of Newcastle).

A highlight was an address from Bruce Bonyhady (Chairman, National Disability Insurance Agency) discussing the National Disability Insurance Scheme and how best the agency can partner with schools and educators. The Lived Experience sessions added heart to the Summit, by sharing their personal stories and inspiring teachers and leaders to connect with their students. The Keynotes are highly successful individuals and included Ron McCallum, Fay Jackson, Joshua Taylor, Wayne Schwass and Chris Varney. A common thread through their stories was the importance of teachers and educators who connected with them by listening and caring.

Twenty presenters from four states shared leading practices, policies and research with school leaders to connect back to their schools, supporting the success of their students and the thriving of an inclusive and supportive school culture.

The 2016 Delivering Personalised Learning Summit provided delegates with an opportunity to reflect on leadership, management and practice in schools and other environments where students impacted by a disability are educated. Aasha Murthy, CEO of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders commented “We are delighted at the success of the event. It was great to see the high level of engagement by the audience in the research, practice and lived experience that comes with providing leadership for students impacted by disability. ACEL intend to host this event every year and make it an important part of our events portfolio”.

Delegates connected with each other and the keynotes, sharing their experiences, knowledge and ideas. They departed the Summit inspired, informed and motivated to share their experiences and knowledge in their schools.

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