At St Edward’s College we continue to strive to create a positive school climate that values and accepts all students. The Learning Support Department therefore continues to implement the policy of inclusive education for all by supporting students with special learning needs in the context of their mainstream classroom. In addition to this approach, some special clinics are offered to small groups and individuals targeting particular skills.
In Year 7 we are able to target a number of students with low literacy levels to work independently and online at home using Lexia software. This resource allows boys to work individually, through mastery learning, to advance through five levels to improve their skills.
As a College, we have continued to promote Homework Help before school. This has continued to be well attended by a number of students who avail themselves of this support. For some it is an opportunity to utilise the computers, print off work, use interactive software to improve their literacy skills, gain assistance in completing set tasks or just catch up on homework. For many of these boys their academic achievement has improved as their confidence and self-esteem increases.
Another support provided to eligible students for common assessment tasks is the continuing use of Disability Provisions, previously known as Special Provisions. This ensures that all students have equal access to realising their potential under test conditions. This role is ongoing and particularly important to those students sitting Board of Studies assessments during their Higher School Certificate. It is important to acknowledge the valued support that many of our more able students provide in acting as Readers and /or Writers for these assessments. This program also contributes to our Waterford project of providing service to others.
In 2012 the College was successful in gaining a grant from the state government targeting More Support for Students with Disabilities. In an effort to support a new initiative at Year 7 to improve metacognition, a class set of iPads was purchased. Research has indicated that iPads are particularly suited to students who have a range of learning needs because of their user friendly interface. These have been successfully trialled across three classes at Year 7 and in 2013 it is envisaged that this flexible and portable device will be able to be accessed through the broader learning / teaching community.
At St Edward’s College we are currently fortunate to have three very experienced teacher’s assistants who continue to support the individual and collective needs of students in the classroom the learning support staff are very empathetic to needs of all students and their aim is to continually improve the learning outcomes for all students in the College.
Although the Learning Support Department is set up to specifically target students with particular learning needs our presence in the College benefits all students allowing teachers and aides to work as a team to improve learning outcomes for all. The College relies on the support of parents and caregivers in this education process and consequently we try to maintain effective home-school links based on mutual respect, recognition of equity of differing roles of parents and educators and the sharing of relevant information. With this partnership we aim to provide the best outcomes using the resources we have.