Sydney Catholic Schools promotes an inclusive approach to student learning. We recognise that students learn differently and often require learning opportunities tailored to individual differences with high expectations for learning growth.
All Sydney Catholic Schools provide reasonable adjustments and targeted interventions to support students with disability and additional learning needs.
Our teachers work in close collaboration with students, parents/carers and specialist staff to develop personalised plans. These plans are focused on specific educational goals related to areas such as curriculum, communication and social skills.
All Sydney Catholic schools engage in the annual Nationally Consistent Collection of Data for School Students with Disability. This process is vital in ensuring that identified students have the right support for their particular disability or additional learning needs.
Sydney Catholic Schools also boasts a variety of specific learning support services and programs that offer targeted intervention for students, including:
- Complex Communication Support Program
For students who have complex communication needs and may benefit from a range of alternative communication technologies.
- The Arrowsmith Program
For students with a variety of learning difficulties, such as dyslexia and visual, auditory and working memory disorders.
- Reading Recovery Program
For students in Year 1 who fall into the lowest 20 percent of literacy learners within their cohort.
- Eileen O’Connor Catholic College
A Kindergarten to Year 12 school for students with moderate intellectual disability and complex developmental needs.
- Specialist Support Classes
Students with intellectual disabilities and complex needs may benefit from a highly personalised program, smaller class size and the additional support provided in a Specialist Support Class located within a mainstream school setting. Specialist Support Classes are located at Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School, Hoxton Park and Good Samaritan Catholic College, Hoxton Park.
- The Post School Pathways Program
Assisting senior secondary schools with complex support needs in preparation for future training and employment opportunities.
- Expert on-site consultation
Experts from Sydney Catholic Schools’ Diverse Learning team provide advice and resourcing to assist and support schools in the planning and delivery of adjustments for learners who have developmental disorders, sensory disability, physical disability and speech, language and communication disorders.
ONGOING TRAINING FOR OUR TEACHERS & PARENTS
Sydney Catholic Schools recognises the importance of ongoing training for our teachers and school leaders. Across the system, we ensure a shared understanding of the guiding principles of inclusive practices and specific educational requirements for students with disability, including Nationally Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD) processes.
Our ongoing professional learning supports teachers to identify key characteristics of diverse learners and effectively respond to these needs in development of student potential.
In order to enhance the capabilities of our teachers and Learning Support Officers, Sydney Catholic Schools has made available a suite of online training courses. These courses are accredited by the teacher accreditation authorities across Australia, and contribute to our teachers’ progression through the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.
SERVICE AREAS TO SCHOOLS
At Sydney Catholic Schools, we have various expert teams who work with our classroom teachers to enhance their ability to achieve learning outcomes for students. These teams specialise in a number of key areas that cover the full range of learners’ diverse needs, ensuring an inclusive approach to learning for all.
Reading Recovery is the preferred early literacy intervention strategy in Sydney Catholic Schools and is underpinned by contemporary, peer-reviewed research.
It is a short-term literacy intervention that fosters literacy acquisition for Year 1 students who are identified as the lowest achievers in literacy within their class cohort.
Reading Recovery accelerates literacy development ensuring students become independent readers and writers, and is delivered by a specially-trained teacher who has received intensive year-long professional learning.
The Reading Recovery teacher works daily one-on-one with students for 30 minutes, for a maximum of 20 weeks.
For the five years to 2021, 5509 Year One students have received the intervention and over 91 per cent of these students have reached the reading and writing average of their peers.
The intervention also identifies approximately seven per cent of students as needing further highly specialised support. These students then receive adjustments to their learning that target their specific needs.
THE ARROWSMITH PROGRAM
The Arrowsmith Program is designed for Year 3 to 12 students of average to above average ability who are experiencing difficulty with reading, writing, mathematics, comprehension, non-verbal learning and attention, but without a diagnosed intellectual, emotional, mental or behavioural disorder or a brain injury.
Students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) would not typically be enrolled in the program. However, in some cases, the program has enabled individuals with high functioning ASD to address their cognitive learning needs.
The bespoke program, which is available to Sydney Catholic School students on a fee-for-service basis, is based on the application of neuroscientific research, demonstrating that it is possible to address learning difficulties by identifying and strengthening weak cognitive capacities.
The Arrowsmith Program addresses the root causes of learning difficulties through students engaging in tailored cognitive exercises aimed at enabling students to become effective, confident and self-directed learners for life.
The Arrowsmith Questionnaire can help identify your child’s cognitive abilities and challenges and their suitability for the program.