Diverse Learning supports the teaching and learning programs of the College by collaborating with teachers and students understanding that there is a diverse range of needs and ability levels within the College.
The Diverse Learning Faculty offers support in the following areas:
- Students with Disability, Special, and Additional Needs
- Literacy and Numeracy
- Gifted and Talented
- English as an Additional Language (EALD)
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
- Strategic Interventions
Students with Disability, Special and Additional Needs
St Edmund’s College works collaboratively with parents and teachers to ensure that the students with educational and social support needs are able to access the curriculum at an instructional level.
Students with a disability are empowered to complete tasks as independently as possible. Our aim is to provide the necessary ‘tools’ to enable the student to complete the task for themselves thus giving an opportunity for confidence building and future risk-taking.
We endeavour to provide appropriate educational programs for students with a disability, which may include but is not limited to, modifying curriculum and teaching strategies, resources and the environment to address the learning needs of individual students
It could be said that our work encourages the student to feel happy with who they are and to focus on their abilities.
St Edmund’s College participates in the National Consistent Collection of Data program. Information is collected on the adjustments provided for the students in class. A Personal Plan is devised that then ensures that a student is receiving reasonable adjustments that allow them to participate on the same basis as other students.
Personnel within the Diverse Learning Faculty….
- are able to monitor the educational progress of students with additional needs, identify and coordinate the support mechanisms required to meet the educational, pastoral care, safety, and health needs and coordinate their planning and review processes.
- involve parent and carers by providing information about programs and actively encourage their participation; and work in partnership with parent and carers and the broader community.
- involve students with their parents and carers in the Personalised Plan (PP) process as students with special needs move through their schooling
- provide where necessary Program Review Meetings with students’ parents and carers.
- provide staff with access to professional learning in their fields of expertise and ensure staff are familiar with, understand and address their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act
Literacy and Numeracy
Literacy and Numeracy support is offered through a program called The Macquarie Literacy Program (MacqLit). It is a small group reading intervention program designed for students who have particular difficulties in word recognition/decoding and reading fluency. MacqLit is primarily implemented in Junior School, with further Literacy and Numeracy intervention provided to students in High School and Senior School through differentiation in the classroom.
What is the focus?
MacqLit includes instruction in the five pillars of reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension, with the main focus on learning and applying the alphabetic code. Accurate and fluent word recognition is taught along with reading practice in sentence and story reading. Reinforced Reading, a component of MacqLit, ensures that the students are given sufficient opportunity to practice their reading in connected text. The primary focus of MacqLit is teaching students the alphabetic code so that they can access grade-appropriate text.
Is this support suitable for dyslexic students and students with a diagnosed disability?
Yes, MacqLit would be suitable for a majority of students. MacqLit adopts a non-categorical approach to reading instruction. There are many reasons why a student may fail to learn to read. Research has shown that the approach to effective reading intervention is the same regardless of the ‘label’ or cause of the difficulty, i.e., systematic and explicit instruction in phonics with multiple opportunities for reading practice using real books. Most students will make good progress with such instruction. If students have a problem with accessing print, MacqLit will be suitable whether they have been formally identified with dyslexia or not. Students who are behind in their reading need good instruction based on scientific research, irrespective of their label.
For those students who are slow to respond, or who are resistant to effective teaching, more sustained and intensive, targeted teaching in phonics for longer in a one-to-one context will be required. See Response to Intervention.
Gifted and Talented
Gifted and Talented Education has often been the cause of much debate. What does a gifted child look like and how are they to be supported? Does a continuum of service work best, or an extraction program? How do we identify gifted learners in a consistent and equitable manner? What is the end goal?
At St Edmund’s College, we work through a three-pronged process of identification that includes parent feedback, teacher feedback, and external cognitive assessment.
Identification is three-pronged and can be instigated by any of the relevant stakeholders. In order to be identified as Gifted or Talented, a student must complete the CogAT test (or other Psychologist administered IQ testing) that demonstrates the child as at least one standard deviation above the norm for their age group. This test is administered at the school and can be requested by a teacher, parent or carer, or a student. In addition, the student’s parents or carers and their teachers will complete checklists that give a broader understanding of the student’s individual needs.
Twice-exceptionality (a determination of giftedness accompanied by another diagnosis) is common among the Gifted, and all supports offered will encourage the student to achieve at their best level whilst also considering multiple learning and social needs.
Once identified, the student’s level of giftedness is determined by the number of standard deviations above the norm and multiple opportunities may be offered to ensure that learning occurs at a level that best fits the individual. This may include subject acceleration and telescoping, extension within age group classes, extension in co-curricular activities, mentoring and real-world immersion experiences and connections with other Gifted learners around the country. Each child’s learning profile will be different; so the family, Gifted and Talented Coordinator and Director of Teaching and Learning or Junior School Assistant Principal will work together to craft a program that best fits the needs of the child.
Raising gifted children presents with unique and interesting opportunities. We offer parent information courses to help in understanding Giftedness in children and offer support to our parent community.
English as an Additional Language (EALD)
In accordance with the College mission, St Edmund’s College aims to recognise and fully develop the different gifts and each student and to support parents in the development of their children. The College, therefore, aims to:
- cater for students of varying academic ability
- provide a curriculum which meets the needs of each student and enables him to take his place in Australian society
- continue to consolidate the students’ instruction in the four key language areas: listening, speaking, reading and writing
- provide students with language they will use in personal, social, cultural, and academic contexts
- provide support to the students in cross-curricular studies
- teach the use of the library and technological resources
- meet the students’ English language needs as they arise
English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EAL/D) is the study of English by students whose first language is a language or dialect other than English, and who require focused educational support to assist them in attaining proficiency in Standard Australian English. EAL/D was previously referred to as English as a Second Language (ESL).
Learning and communicating in Australian society is dependent on competence in English. Communicative abilities and literacy skills in English enable student access to more choices in key learning areas, more possibilities to contribute to the school culture, and more varied post-school options in the workforce or further education. The College, therefore, has a responsibility to provide a comprehensive EAL/D program to students who require English language teaching.
The following principles are fundamental to second language teaching and learning. All students are:
- treated as individuals with their own needs and interests
- given opportunities to manage their own learning
- given opportunities to participate in the communicative and reflective use of the language in a wide range of activities
- exposed to the language they understand and which is relevant to their own interests and frames of reference
- able to focus on various language forms, skills, strategies and aspects of knowledge that assist language acquisition and learning of concepts
- exposed to socio-cultural information and the direct experience of the culture embedded in the language
- aware of the role and nature of language and of culture
- given appropriate feedback about their progress
Eligibility for an EAL/D learning program will be identified by Junior School teachers and Secondary English staff in consultation with Diverse Learning Faculty staff and parents.
Following identification, staff will collaborate to create an individualized learning plan that caters to your child’s specific needs; academically, socially and emotionally.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
As a school, St Edmund’s is proud of the diversity of our student population and we aim to maximise the teaching and learning opportunities for each boy. Our student population is enriched by the presence of our students with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent. At St Edmund’s College we encourage and inspire academic achievement, social and emotional development and cultural awareness of these students while validating the unique cultural identity of each boy. To quote the Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy:
EREA stands in solidarity with Indigenous peoples of Australia. Through collaborative partnerships they are mutually enriching, EREA will provide an inclusive and welcoming environment and offer a quality and culturally appropriate educational for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.
St Edmund’s College provides students of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent with a quality education that is founded in the values of Edmund Rice, is sensitive to the
At St Edmund’s College we have around 35 students enrolled who are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent. These students range from Years 4-12.
St Edmund’s College has a dedicated position of Indigenous Education Coordinator whose role is to encourage and inspire academic achievement, social and emotional development and cultural awareness of our students of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent. To achieve this our Indigenous Education Coordinator and the College targets the goals of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Policy (AEP). The main goals that are targeted include:
- improving educational access and achievement for Indigenous children and young people
- developing links with Indigenous families and communities to increase their participation in decision making
- developing the knowledge and understanding of staff
- providing opportunities for all Indigenous students to explore their collective and individual cultural links
Through a process of identification, we discover the skill shortfalls within our student body and design specific solutions for skills acquisition. The strategic interventions provided will evolve as needs are identified and skills are acquired.