Philosophy

Presbyterian Ladies’ College is a school for a diverse and exceptional education that is innovative, vibrant, challenging and fosters personal excellence and independence. The school community actively seeks to create fluid and unhampered avenues to learning and participation. This policy is driven by the philosophy of inclusion. This means that students with special educational needs will be included in mainstream education, provided with differentiated curriculum, consistently reviewed individual education plans (IEP’s) and scaffolding (as required) that supports their access to learning and achievement of their personal potential.

Purpose

To outline identification and management practices, and provisions within a mainstream setting in response to students with diverse learning needs, be that gifted and talented, twice exceptional or students with learning difficulties.

Rationale

  • To comply with the School Curriculum and Standards Authority
  • To comply with IB Standards and Practices and Mission Statement (for PYP and Diploma)
  • To comply with the 1992 Disability and Discrimination Act and the 2005 Disability Standards for Education To provide meaningful and equitable access to the Australian Curriculum

Identification of students

We recognise the need for early identification and that new contexts or developmental changes may alter the expression of different abilities at various times.

Teachers assist in the identification process via the monitoring of student progress and the analysis of student outcomes in both formative and summative assessment(s). Data is collected from a range of sources to create a profile of each student to identify diverse learning needs and appropriate strategies to respond to those needs. These needs are monitored over time and responses may be adjusted. Psychometric and/or other developmental assessments and/or Allied Health assessments may be recommended for provision of supplementary information if required.

Data sources may include:

  • Standardised assessments e.g. AAS, AGAT, NAPLAN, PAT etc.
  • Pre-assessment.
  • Formative and summative assessments.
  • Formal and informal assessments.
  • Off-level assessments.
  • IOWA Acceleration Scale.
  • Information provided by parents from previous schools and external professionals.
  • Specific assessments not named as these will change over time and according to need.

The learning of students with diverse learning needs is enhanced by regular collaboration with families, community and the School, and other allied professionals.

Identification is an ongoing process.

General Practices

1. Presbyterian Ladies’ College is committed to developing a positive classroom environment conducive to supporting the learning of all students whereby students are appropriately challenged by their learning, expectations of them are high but realistic, and where students belong to the community and feel cared for, trusted, understood, valued and safe.

2. Inclusive practices seek to provide equitable access to the curriculum for all learners. While these practices may vary between the Junior and Senior Schools they are complimentary and continuous.

3. The School seeks to actively partner with parents of students identified with diverse learning needs.

4. The Co-ordinators of Gifted and Talented and Learning Support and staff of the Learning Enrichment Centres (LEC) collect and analyse information from various sources to develop a student profile. This information is shared with parents and relevant staff in accordance with the Privacy Policy.

5. Teachers have the first level of responsibility and are required to follow the principles and practices of teaching and learning at Presbyterian Ladies’ College. This includes:

a. differentiating the teaching and learning within their classroom. Differentiation is accepted as a method of continuing review and adaptation of goals, teaching and learning methods within a classroom to suit the needs of students.

b. working and planning collaboratively through co-teaching and team teaching, establishing interdisciplinary connections and collegiate discussion.

c. catering for all students through the use of ILT, flexible grouping, contextual learning, conceptual and inquiry based learning and timely, appropriate feedback. Homework should be negotiated individually where students have special educational needs and be appropriate to the students’ abilities.

d. teachers as professionals engaging in ongoing professional development and accessing specialists when needed.

6. Information about individual student’s learning needs and teaching strategies are made available on the school database Teacher’s Assistant (TA). Teachers are required to follow protocol with regard to documentation on TA.

7. LEC staff, together with School Psychologists and Learning Co-ordinators, monitor and evaluate student progress providing amendments and accommodations to teachers as required on an ongoing basis. This includes a handover process involving the School Psychologists, Heads of School, the Year Co-ordinators, the Co-ordinators of LEC and other relevant LEC staff.

8. School practices are consistent with the School Curriculum and Standards Authority requirements for Special Provisions and the IB Diploma requirements for Candidates with Special Assessment Needs.

9. Presbyterian Ladies’ College is committed to personalised pathways for students with special educational needs. These will be developed in collaboration with the LEC staff, class teacher/s, students and parents. This may include external agencies where appropriate. Examples of personalised options may include:

a. Individual Education Plans (IEP’s). These are prepared for students who are identified by the Co-ordinators of Special Needs or Gifted and Talented as having significant learning needs and requiring significant adaptations and provisions based on their individual profile. IEP’s will be reviewed in consultation with all relevant stakeholders in an ongoing manner.

b. Students identified as requiring extensive support in literacy and/or numeracy may be recommended to attend specific targeted programmes during time otherwise allocated to LOTE. This will be at the discretion of the Co- ordinator of Learning Support and with approval from the Director of Learning and the parents.

c. Students in Years 11 and 12 are counselled into appropriate subject selection by the Careers Counsellor and supported by the School Psychologist, in consultation with subject teachers. Those students previously identified with specific disabilities are offered extra support.

d. Acceleration options within subjects or across year levels.

10. Students may be considered for acceleration based on their student profile.

a. The Co-ordinator of Gifted and Talented and the Director of Learning and/or the Head of Junior School will meet with the parents to outline and discuss the impact of acceleration before implementation.

b. In the case of year acceleration, a student is placed full-time in a higher year level than is typical (given the student’s age), for the purpose of providing access to appropriately challenging learning opportunities.

c. When a current student is identified as requiring acceleration, the Co-ordinator of Gifted and Talented will forward a recommendation, together with supporting documentation, to the Deputy Principal for approval.

d. Students may be considered for individual and or specific subject acceleration. Typically they will remain with peers in the same academic year for most of the school day, but study one or more subjects at a higher academic year level. However, subject acceleration can also occur on a differentiated programme where the student works on higher academic year level instruction in their regular classroom.

e. Students may be considered for curriculum compacting. In this case, an identified student is encouraged to compact the curriculum content within a particular learning area whilst remaining in their regular classroom. Further extension opportunities are then provided.

11. Alternative options are also available to cater for individual students’ strengths, areas for growth, interests and unique needs. These may include:

a. Competitions and Clubs e.g. Tournament of Minds, da Vinci Decathlon of Thinking b. Co-curricular options e.g. Pipe Band, School Musical, Rowing, Alliance Français

b. Mentoring e.g. developing passions beyond classroom curriculum

c. Alternative curriculum and pathways e.g. external courses, on-line courses

d. Visiting specialists e.g. Artist in Residence

e. Flexible timetabling and class placement e.g. Elite Sports Programme, Instrumental Music Programme

Definitions

Specific learning issues, language and communication disorders:

  • Significant issues in reading, writing, spelling or manipulating numbers associated with issues in processing symbolic language (for example, problems interpreting music notation, dyslexia, dyscalculia.
  • Speech and language issues characterized by communication problems (for example, aphasia, dysphasia, articulation problems).

Social, emotional and behavioural issues:

  • Includes: attention deficit disorder (ADD)/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autistic spectrum disorders; withdrawn, depressive or suicidal attitudes; obsessive preoccupation with eating habits; school phobia; substance abuse; disruptive antisocial and uncooperative behaviour; and anger, frustration and violence.

Physical and sensory conditions:

  • Physical disabilities include a wide range of conditions that are not always immediately obvious, but affect mobility.

Sensory issues:

  • Hearing-embraces an extensive range of hearing loss from mild to profound and can present communication difficulties; visual-includes difficulties with either the structure or function of the eye, affecting vision.

Medical conditions:

  • The most common being: congenital heart disease, epilepsy, diabetes, asthma, cystic fibrosis, haemophilia, sickle cell anaemia, renal failure, eczema, rheumatoid disorders, allergies, leukemia, and other cancers.

Mental health issues:

  • A wide range of conditions that can affect a person’s state of mind, ranging from psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia and manic depression to eating disorders, anxieties and emotional stress caused by circumstances in a candidate’s life.

Gifted and Talented

  • Giftedness designates the possession and use of outstanding natural abilities, called aptitudes, in at least one ability domain, to a degree that places an individual at least among the top 10% of age peers.
  • Talent designates the outstanding mastery of systematically developed abilities, called competencies (knowledge and skills), in at least one field of human activity to a degree that places an individual at least among the top 10% of age peers who are or have been active in that field.
  • Twice Exceptional: A student who is gifted and also has an additional exceptionality such as any of the above definitions.

Inclusion

  • Inclusive education involves embracing human diversity and welcoming all children and adults as equal members of an educational community. It requires putting inclusive values into action to ensure all children and adults belong, participate and flourish. (Children with Disability Australia, October 2013)

References

Learning diversity in the IB Programs

Special education needs within IB programs

Teaching students with particular special educational and learning needs (IB) DP Candidates with Special Assessment Needs

Dyslexia-SPELD Foundation website

Meeting student learning diversity in the classroom

IESAT

Australian Curriculum Framework

Privacy Act (1988)

Principles and Practices of Teaching and Learning at Presbyterian Ladies’ College Reconciliation Action Plan

IB Diploma – From Principles to Practise

Related Policies

Drugs – Illicit (Student Use Of)