LEARNING SUPPORT

At Maarif Schools Australia we will refer to “special needs” as a comprehensive term encompassing:

 

1. LEARNING SUPPORT

 

This is support offered to students who have a physical, intellectual, sensory, mental, autistic spectrum disorder related disability or a range of other learning difficulties.

 

2. ENGLISH AS ADDITIONAL LANGUAGE or DIALECT (EAL/D) also known as ENGLISH AS

     A SECOND LANGUAGE (ESL)

 

This support is for students who speak English as a second language and may have difficulty accessing the curriculum due to developing English literacy skills.

 

3. GIFTED AND TALENTED

 

This support is offered to students who need extension beyond classroom activities or age appropriate Stage levels.  It also may relate to students that have a special talent in a specific area.

 

1. LEARNING SUPPORT

 

Maarif Schools Australia acknowledge the value and worth of individuals.  It is the role of all staff along with Learning support team to help to facilitate a holistic learning environment appropriate to the specific needs of individual students in all years.  The area of Special Needs is viewed as a whole-school cross-curricular responsibility.

 

A priority is for all students to experience success in academic, social, personal and interpersonal situations.  The main responsibility for the learning needs of all students is the individual classroom teacher.  Learning support is intended to complement existing classroom programs, as well as targeting individual learning needs.  Learning support staff may be provided to assist the classroom teachers by providing focussed support and direction as required.

 

The inclusion of students with disabilities within the classroom necessitates provision of support services for both students and teachers.  This support is maintained to enable quality teaching and learning to take place accommodating the needs of identified students.

 

The whole staff, together with the assistance of the learning support personnel aims:

 

  • To foster a secure, safe, caring and accepting school environment for all students with additional needs by maintaining a personal model of professionalism.

  • To allow all students every opportunity to gain access to the curriculum and develop the skills necessary for the development of self-concept and self-esteem.

  • To maintain a caring network between the learning support staff, other teachers, and the general school community, assisting students with special educational needs, to develop in social, emotional and academic aspects of their education.

  • To promote an inclusive environment in the classroom that strives for acceptance of uniqueness and differences of each student.

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LEARNING SUPPORT TEAM

 

The Learning Support team may include ESL teachers, counsellor, and teacher’s aides. Some or all of the team compiles diagnostic files for each referred student based on:

  • Consultations with the classroom teachers

  • Teacher observations from the classroom

  • In class observations

  • Parent interviews and feedback

  • Intervention screening

  • Outsourcing to specialists

 

LEARNING SUPPORT TEAM APPROACH

The Learning support staff:

  • Offer support to students and teachers within an inclusive classroom setting.

  • Work collaboratively with teachers, parents and the school community to design and implement appropriate programs.

  • Withdraw students or student groups to allow for the development of literacy or other skills

  • Facilitate special programs of study

  • Assist with advice and preparation of differentiated work tasks / assessments.

  • May assist or provide input into the preparation of Individual Plans (IP) for each student with additional needs in consultation with parents, students and relevant specialists.

  • Liaise with classroom teachers regarding administration of standardised testing for identification and tracking purposes.

  • Correlate and analyse results of individual, small or large group testing.

  • Brief staff so that they develop the skills and knowledge needed to work with students with special needs.

  • May assist to facilitate access to the Special Provisions for assessments in NAPLAN (and when the school grows to include the HSC)

  • Provide support for Special Provisions in school based assessments as applicable

  • Collaborate with the range of other personnel, including external speech-language pathologist, educational psychologists.

  • Consult with personnel from other relevant agencies.

 

IDENTIFYING STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

The process of identification aims to:

 

  • be inclusive and school-wide

  • be culturally fair

  • encourage input from caregivers and students.

 

Students with Special Needs are identified a number of ways, including:
 

  • Enrolment forms ask parents to identify any special needs’ issues that pertain to their child.  This information is passed on to the teacher/s who monitors the child who may also require further assessment.

  • Information gathered as part of formalised assessment is considered by the classroom teachers and the Learning Support team.

  • Formal and informal procedures will be used to assess the needs of the individual student and the level of Learning Support intervention that may be required.

  • Testing may occur regularly in all year levels and may include:

  • CARS and STARS Placement Test

  • ANTS Spelling Test

  • Maths pre test

  • Writing pre test

  • National Literacy and Numeracy Progressions

  • Summative Tests

  • NAPLAN (Years 3, 5, 7 and 9)

  • teacher-constructed tests / curriculum-based assessments

  • teacher observations

  • work samples

 

Teachers who believe that a student may have a learning difficulty / disability refer the student to the learning support staff.

 

The learning support staff may investigate further and consult with the teacher further.  If necessary, and following discussion with the parent, a referral will be given for an appropriate professional for further assessment.

 

If the assessment(s) confirms disability the student may be offered support. The formulation of an Individual Plan is determined by the individual student’s needs with identified disabilities.

 

EVALULATIONS of STUDENTS RECEIVING SUPPORT

 

The Learning Support program is evaluated continuously throughout the year.  Monitoring of individual students may involve a combination of:

 

  • observation

  • formal testing / readministering standardised tests

  • collection and analysis of work samples

  • individual communication with students / parents / teachers

  • anecdotal records

  • formal evaluation of IP’s

 

2. ENGLISH AS AN ADDITIONAL LANGUAGE (EAL)

 

RATIONALE

 

Students requiring EAL support are those whose first language is not English and who require additional support to build English literacy skills.

 

All teachers share the responsibility for language learning at the School.  Language skills are a fundamental component of every Key Learning Area.  The development of a second language is essential to successful learning, access to the curriculum and achievement.

 

Many EAL students need additional support or appropriately differentiated class programs to allow them reach a level of proficiency in the English language that will allow them to access curriculum and participate in teaching and learning activities.  In some cases the school will provide specific lessons for Pre School aged children who have little or no English for a period of around 6 weeks.

 

AIMS

  • Provide equal access to educational opportunities for students with English as their second language.

  • Assist all students to become competent users of listening, speaking, reading and writing in English.

  • Promote and develop self-esteem and confidence in students with a non-English speaking background.

  • Encourage development of students’ ability to function effectively in English across a range of situations.

  • Build on linguistic and cultural identities of students to encourage the development of their self-confidence.

  • Develop ESL programs which are multicultural and cater to the individual needs of students across the various Key Learning Areas.

 

ROLE OF ALL CLASSROOM TEACHERS

Teachers are expected to be involved and proactive with ESL provision by the:

 

  • Management of resources.

  • Provision of information and support for parents of ESL students.

  • Providing individual programs as appropriate to complement the year level program.

  • Prioritising students according to their needs and arrange work with students in groups, as required.

  • Participating in relevant EAL Professional Development

 

EVALUATION OF STUDENT’S EAL SUPPORT

 

The EAL program is evaluated continuously throughout the year.  Monitoring of individual students may involve a combination of:

 

  • observation

  • formal testing / readministering standardised tests – listening / speaking / reading / writing

  • collection and analysis of work samples

  • individual communication with students / parents / teachers

  • anecdotal records

  • testing based on ESL scales

  • curriculum based activities

 

3. GIFTED AND TALENTED EDUCATION

 

Giftedness has been defined as “exceptional competence in one or more domains of ability”, and talent as “exceptional performance in one or more fields of human activity” (Gagne, 1985, p 111).  Giftedness is outstanding potential to achieve, while talent is seen as outstanding performance.

 

RATIONALE

 

Students identified as ‘gifted and talented’ are valued and their special ability or abilities are acknowledged as they are encouraged to pursue new challenges.  The School endeavours to provide appropriate support for gifted students taking into account the social, emotional and educational well-being of the students concerned. At Maarif Schools Australia it is the classroom teacher that is responsible for providing support, enrichment and extension for the ‘gifted and talented’ student.

 

AIMS

 

  • Identify students of exceptional ability so that sound educational planning and practices can take place to support their needs.

  • Provide a learning environment where gifted and talented students are encouraged and supported by teachers who understand their needs and, wherever possible, have had experience in developing programs specific to them.

  • Maintain a school culture that acknowledges and celebrates the many facets of student performance or achievement.

  • Provide a diverse and differentiated curriculum, catering for a wide range of abilities, preferred learning styles.

 

IDENTIFICATION

 

A multi-dimensional approach to identification that includes both subjective and objective means of measurement will be used to reduce the chance of underachieving gifted students being overlooked in the identification process.

 

  • Ensure teachers are familiar with the characteristics of gifted underachievers.

  • Use previous assessments or observations to examine a pattern of achievement.

  • Use of screening tools such as:

 

  • TORCH Test

  • Neale Analysis

  • Slossen Intelligence Test

  • National Literacy and Numeracy Progressions

  • Summative Tests

  • NAPLAN (Years 3, 5, 7 and 9)

  • teacher-constructed tests / curriculum-based assessments

  • teacher observations

  • work samples

 

  • Behaviour checklists completed by parents and teachers.

  • If underachievement is suspected recommend to parents that the child be assessed through an individual intelligence test such as the Stanford Binet or the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC).

 

The process of identification aims to:

 

  • apply school-wide

  • use multiple identification criteria

  • be inclusive & culturally fair

  • recognises degrees & types of giftedness and talent

  • promote differentiation

  • encourage input from caregivers and students.

 

IMPLEMENTATION

  • Teachers support the identification and implementation of support and programs which may include:

    • Extension Programs

    • Acceleration

 

  • Where possible, professional development will be provided for staff in relation to gifted education and differentiation.

 

EVALULATION OF PROGRAMS SUPPORTING GIFTED AND TALENTED STUDENTS

An on-going evaluation of the School’s provision for gifted and talented students will occur through:

 

  • Feedback from parents, teachers and students.

  • Regular meetings of the teacher with all staff.

  • Seeking input from internal and external specialists.

 

INDIVIDUAL LEARNING PLANS

Individual Planning is a process whereby issues pertaining to a student’s ability to access and participate in the educational and other opportunities provided by the School are identified and adjustments to facilitate greater access and participation are determined.

 

It is a legislated process under the Disability Standards for Education 2005 and involves consideration of the following:

  • student’s disability / learning needs

  • information provided by / on behalf of the student

  • views of student or associate

  • effect of the adjustment on the students

  • ability to achieve learning outcomes

  • ability to participate in courses or programs

  • independence

  • effect of the implementation of the adjustment on the school, staff and other students

 

The planning process through collaboration identifies the issues, adjustments and actions that are necessary for the student to access the curriculum and participate in all aspects of School life. Thorough knowledge of the strengths, interests and areas of need is paramount to the identification of reasonable adjustments and appropriate strategies.

 

Examples of areas that may be included in the individual plan are:

  • curriculum access and participation

  • physical access/ mobility

  • social development

  • safety and wellbeing

  • communication

  • attendance

  • School/class routines, structures and expectations

  • transition planning at key educational points

  • professional development for staff

  • applications for funding

  • transportation to, from and across the school day

  • specialist teachers and casual teachers

  • morning/afternoon/recess and/or lunchtime routines/activity options

  • assembly/church/sport

  • out of routine activities

  • sudden change to routine

  • emergency evacuation procedures

  • health care planning (Further information is provided below)

  • behaviour support plans (Further information is provided below)

  • communication/coordination: day to day issues, significant issues, follow-up and review.

 

HEALTH CARE PLANS

A health care plan formalises the support requirements for students with complex health issues and/or conditions. Examples include students with chronic asthma, mobility issues, diabetes, mental health care needs, epilepsy or anaphylaxis.

 

A health care plan will consider:

  • details of the student's specific health care needs

  • be developed in conjunction with medical professionals and families

  • describe agreed actions to meet the identified needs

  • include all relevant information

  • an emergency care/response plan

  • an emergency evacuation plan

  • a statement of the agreed responsibilities

  • a procedure for the administration of medication

  • a schedule for the administration of health care procedures

  • authorisation and contact details for the medical practitioner

  • training requirements and details

  • include emergency phone numbers for ambulance, parent and an emergency contact.

 

The School will exercise caution with regard to the sensitive information used in the development of health care plans. Student privacy and confidentiality is a primary consideration.

 

BEHAVIOUR SUPPORT PLANS

A behaviour support plan uses the observations and data obtained with regard to an identified behaviour to inform the focus of a concrete plan of action for supporting desirable change in student behaviour.

 

A behaviour support plan should:

  • Specify the student's behavioural needs

  • Identify possible triggers / antecedents for the behaviour

  • Include clear, measurable and objective descriptions

  • Focus on the desired, replacement behaviours and the teaching of new skills

  • Include a process to be undertaken when the safety of the student or others is at risk (incident management plan)

  • Establish logical consequences for challenging behaviours

  • Continue to be evaluated and revised regularly

 

DISABILITY PROVISIONS

In accordance with The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education (2005), Maarif Schools Australia  assumes responsibility to enable a student with a disability to access and respond to an examination. In light of the school’s anticipated growth through to Year 12 this document is written to acknowledge that NESA may approve disability provisions for the Higher School Certificate examinations and hence give practical support to a student who has a permanent or temporary disability that would, in a normal examination situation, prevent him or her from:

• reading the examination questions; and/or

• communicating his or her responses.

 

Regardless of the nature of the disability, the provisions granted will be solely determined by the implications for the student’s functioning in an examination situation. Disability provisions will be determined on an individual basis and will be informed by consultation with relevant parties and the Disability discrimination Act. Provisions may include:

· Braille papers

· Large print papers

· Use of a writer

· Use of a reader

· Extension of test time

· Rest breaks

· Establishment of a special test centre

· Small group supervision, individual supervision

· Permission to take medication or

 · other provisions as judged appropriate.

 

It should be noted that any provisions the school provides may not necessarily be provided by NESA. The school, in consultation with the students, parents/caregivers, the School Counsellor and documentation provided by medical practitioners can provide the provisions mentioned above. There is no guarantee that the NESA will approve a provision.

 

Our school in consultation with the student and parents/caregivers will submit an application for disability examination provisions which is available as an online application via Schools Online. From there NESA will make the decision to provide provisions. NESA will notify the School of its decisions.

 

If NESA declines an application the School can appeal on behalf of the student within 14 days of receiving the NESA decision. Illness and misadventure provisions will cover situations where a student has a condition that manifests itself during an examination session.

 

At the NAPLAN level, Disability Provisions may be accessed by a student for all or part of the tests and should reflect the type of support the student typically accesses in the classroom. Parents/caregiver must be consulted with regard to disability provisions and sign a consent form prior to the test. Some provisions must be applied for and approved prior to the NAPLAN test week.