Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education


The recent nationwide implementation of the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD) and its associated links to school resourcing has reinforced the requirement for schools to consult with the parents of students with disability. This has led to an increase in the number of family-school consultations in schools across Australia and an emerging need to interrogate the quality of these discussions in terms of how the agency of all participants is supported.

This study sought to capture the experiences of high school teachers, students with disability and their parents in forming and sustaining collaborations in order to make “reasonable adjustments” to achieve negotiated outcomes. Further, it explored the extent to which students with intellectual disabilities, parents and teachers were able to participate – to exercise agency - within this socially and culturally mediated planning process. To realise this purpose, a qualitative study using multiple case studies was designed. The study drew on data gathered in semi-structured interviews conducted with eight parents, two teachers and five students with disability at three points in time over the course of two collaborative planning cycles. Research was conducted at two Catholic high schools with three collaborative clusters situated in one high school and two in the other. Each collaborative cluster consisted of a student with disability, a parent or parents of that student and the teacher whose responsibility it was to translate agreed reasonable adjustments and supports into a Personalised Plan. In the case of each collaborative cluster, the teacher was the school’s Learning Support Coordinator. Interview sets were scheduled to follow collaborative planning meetings (also known as Personalised Planning meetings) for the five students central to the case studies with an additional interview set programmed at a mid-point between collaborative planning meetings.

FoR codes (2008)

130312 Special Education and Disability



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.