Learning Support

St Joseph’s has a well-developed Learning Support Team which addresses the academic, social, behavioural and emotional needs of students, supporting them to participate meaningfully in all aspects of school life with as much independence as possible.

St Joseph’s Learning Support Team fosters an inclusive model for the provision of services to students with additional needs. Underpinning our Learning Support Policy is the philosophy of inclusion as defined by UNESCO:

“Education is not simply about making schools available for those who are already able to access them. It is about being proactive in identifying the barriers and obstacles learners encounter in attempting to access opportunities for quality education, as well as in removing those barriers and obstacles that lead to exclusion.”  (UNESCO, 2012)

The Learning Support Team helps the school meet the needs of all students by providing in-class support, professional development and collaboration with teachers to differentiate and adjust curriculum, instruction, access to and participation in strategies to suit the range of needs and abilities of students in the classroom and school environment. 

The Learning Support Policy at St Joseph’s reflects the Salamanca Statement (adopted by UNESCO in 1994 and embraced by the Catholic Schools Office) as its framework for action in developing inclusive school communities.

“The fundamental principle of the inclusive school is that all children should learn together, wherever possible, regardless of any difficulties or differences they may have. Inclusive schools must recognise and respond to the diverse learning needs of their students, accommodating both the different styles and rates of learning and ensuring quality education to all through appropriate curricula, organisational arrangements, teaching strategies, resource use and partnerships with their communities. There should be a continuum of support and services to match the continuum of Learning Support encountered in every school.”

The support that a student receives is primarily based on the level of adjustments provided to enable access to participation in learning and school events. Students’ needs are identified through the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD) as requiring the following levels of adjustment:

  • Quality Differentiated Teaching
  • Supplementary
  • Substantial

The adjustments being made must be based on a disability as defined under the Disability Discrimination Act (1998), which may be diagnosed or imputed.

Staffing

Staffing within the Learning Support Centre is dependent upon the needs of the students identified through the NCCD. This allocation includes the following staff members with roles that include, but are not limited to:

Learning Support Coordinator

  • Leads the Learning Support faculty
  • Case management of students
  • Documentation management
  • Facilitates Personalised Planning Meetings with families and students
  • Communicates Personalised Planning Goals and adjustments to students’ teachers
  • Supports the enrolment and transitioning of new students with additional needs
  • Assists teachers to differentiate learning and assessment and to adjust, including Life Skills subjects
  • Collaborates and liaises with school counsellors and Year Coordinators to support the well-being of students
  • Facilitates standardised assessment and progress monitoring of students’ literacy and numeracy to inform interventions and programming

Learning Support Teachers

  • Provides supervision and intervention within the Learning Support Centre, including programs based on the needs of the students
  • Case management of students
  • Team teaches in mainstream classes
  • Assists class teachers with teaching students who access curriculum through Life Skills subjects
  • Academic support groups
  • Provides adjustments to teaching and learning strategies and activities

Learning Support Assistants

  • Supports teachers to provide access to learning experiences for individuals and small groups of students in the classroom
  • Assists students with various school activities such as sport and excursions
  • Assists students with individualised programs
  • Assists students to develop organisational skills

EAL/D Teacher (not determined by NCCD)

  • Works with individual and small groups of students from non-English speaking backgrounds to develop language skills for social and academic participation through in-class, withdrawal and lunch programs
  • Liaises with families
  • Advocates for students
  • Collaborates with teachers

Location

The Learning Support Centre was established in 2019 and is located in B007.

B007 is a suite of rooms designed to cater for large and small groups and flexible delivery of curriculum and interventions. The room also has a mixture of furnishings to suit the needs of the activities. A kitchen provides opportunities for delivery of Life Skills, social and personal care activities. An accessible bathroom is located adjacent to B007.

The Learning Support Centre is used for case management meetings involving the Learning Support staff and classroom teachers, as well as individual student assessments, disability provisions, academic support and intervention programs. These spaces allow for versatility in the ways in which we can help our students.

The Learning Support Centre fosters connectedness, catering for students’ social needs by being open to students who need a quiet and friendly setting away from the playground, sensory breaks or who like to play board games, cards or just chat with other students and Learning Support staff.

© 2019 St Joseph's High School, Aberdeen