At St Edward’s College we continue to strive to create a positive school climate that values and accepts all students. Therefore the Learning Support Department 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. This includes reading intervention programs such as, Multilit, offered to small groups before school.
In Year 7, we are able to target a number of students by offering smaller classes that have teacher assistant support for subjects, such as, English and Mathematics. In addition, students can access online resources, such as, MathsOnline and Education Perfect, designed to independently improve students’ specific academic skills.
Another initiative, provided by the Learning Support team, offers Homework Help in the library before school. Here students may work independently or seek teacher assistance with the completion of homework or more complex research tasks. The Learning Support team specifically run workshops during this time, such as, Multilit, and maths tutoring. Students are also provided with the opportunity to access computers, iPads and a range of other educational technologies. For many boys their academic achievement has improved with the increased confidence and self-esteem gained by this service.
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 external NESA assessments during their Higher School Certificate. It is important to acknowledge the valued support and service that many of our more able students provide in acting as Readers and/or Writers for such common assessments. This program allows the volunteers to add these hours to their Waterford Projects through the service they provide to others.
At St Edward’s College we are fortunate to have four very experienced teacher assistants who contribute to the ongoing individual and collective learning needs of students in the classroom. The learning support staff are very empathetic and considerate to the needs of all students and, under the direction of classroom teachers, our aim is to continually make appropriate adjustments in the classroom to suit the learning and personal needs of students.
Although the Learning Support Department specifically targets students with learning needs that require a range of adjustments, our presence in the College benefits all students, allowing teachers and assistants to work as a team to improve learning outcomes for all. The College relies on the ongoing support of parents and caregivers in this education process by endeavouring to maintain effective home-school links. This is based on mutual respect, recognition of equity of the differing roles of parents and educators and the sharing of relevant information. With this partnership we aim to provide the best learning gains for all students using the resources we have.