What is the School Inclusion Parent Network (SIPN)?
SIPN is a Network of All Means All and part of its effort to foster connections and collaborations within specific stakeholder groups or communities to support the achievement of shared objectives.
SIPN operates at 2 levels:
- as a national Network; and
- at more local level, through self-sustaining local parent support groups (SIPN Local Groups).
SIPN is led by a National Convenor who guides the focus of the Network, facilitates the provision of quality information and resources, encourages constructive engagement and provides valuable insights to the Board of All Means All to assist in informing its work.
SIPN began as a grass-roots initiative by families committed to building welcoming and inclusive school communities and supporting each other to navigate the school years, ensure that children gain access to the general education classroom, receive the appropriate supports and stay on the path to an inclusive future.
For many parents, staying on an inclusive path can feel daunting and feel isolating. Stress may be compounded by trying to understand a school environment that may be struggling to include their child. Some parents say that they just don’t know what “inclusion” of their child should look like – but they don’t feel like their child is being “included” – that things could be better. The result is often years of constant challenges, disappointment and frustration – at the emotional expense of everyone, and especially the child.
By becoming a member of SIPN’s national Network you can be part of our inclusive education community, connect with other families for mutual support and join us in promoting inclusive education for ALL!
Benefits of joining SIPN
SIPN members may access the following benefits:
- being part of a regular forum for peer support, which may help to reduce feelings of isolation for parents encountering challenges in the course of their child’s schooling;
- gaining more structured access to information, experiences and insights into school inclusion and best practices as well as policy, programs and developments relating to inclusive education;
- connecting with parents who are more experienced in the schooling journey, to mentor and support less experienced parents;
- participating in membership events, activities and advisory groups and having voice on our social media forums, consultations and feedback, to inform the work and direction of All Means All.
Setting up you own SIPN Local Group
In addition to membership to the SIPN national Network, some members may wish to establish SIPN Local Groups, at their local school, in a specified area or even State wide.
A SIPN Local Group is really just a local school or local community based way of bringing families together to support each other through their journey to help their child to access an inclusive education experience.
A Local Group can be invaluable by providing additional opportunities for face-to-face contact, for social get-togethers (e.g. a monthly coffee catch up) or group workshops and skills training sessions (e.g. IEP) and presentations (including for the broader school and parental community). Where a local group operates at school level, it may also provide the school with a two-way parental communication channel on broader matters relating to the inclusion of students with disability and diverse needs.
How a SIPN Local Group is established and how it works will depend upon what families in that group think will work best. A good starting point is just organising a regular coffee meeting or a wine and cheese night and staying in contact on a closed Facebook Group. Your school can help the group reach out to interested parents (e.g. through the school newsletter or e-mail database).
Over time for continuity of the group, a more structured approach (e.g. establishing a committee to oversee the group’s activities and any budget) may be better as the children of the organising parents graduate from school.
You can contact us to find out if there is a SIPN Local Group at your child’s school or in your geographical area – but if there isn’t, we would be happy to assist you in starting one.