“The greatest barrier facing people with a disability is not their actual disability but confronting the negative attitudes, overcoming outdated stereotypes and challenging the limitations placed on them by others. What they lack is not ability but OPPORTUNITY” – quote from ‘Shut Out’ (National Disability Strategy Consultation Report)
The Access Centre offers a wide range of services for students with a disability (SWD) and students that have been identified as having Learning Difficulties (LD). The Access Centre has been developed to meet the needs of students with additional needs in line with Education Queensland’s policies and focuses on Inclusive Education in order for students with additional needs to access the curriculum on the same basis as other students.
There are 3 models of support available to students with additional needs. The best model of support is selected in collaboration with the students, their parents and the Head of Special Education (HOSES) or Support Teacher Literacy and Numeracy (STLaN). It is possible to have a mix of the 3 support models so we can maximise students’ abilities. Many classes operate within the mainstream environment but there are a number of classes specifically taught within the Special Education Program for students who wish to participate.
Students who are participating in Programs of Excellence are still able to receive support from the Access Centre, an individualised timetable is constructed to develop their talents but also provide support where needed.
Support Model 1 : Special Education Program (SEP)
Students and their parents choose this option when there is a need for One to One support and the students are identified as having significant gaps in their learning. Often students need support with their social/emotional development alongside their academic development. Some students find it extremely difficult to participate in large sized mainstream classes and might prefer smaller classes. This is completely their own choice.
Special Education Classes are taught by specialist teachers who have qualifications in the area of Special Education. Classes are kept small to ensure individualised support and close monitoring. Classes operate for 3 core subjects : English, Maths, Studies of Society and Environment (SOSE) across year 7, 8, 9 and 10. Students have the option to choose SEP classes for one, two or all of these subjects. This is to maximise their abilities and strengths!
Year 11 and 12 students are offered SEP classes for English and Math only.
Students within this support model are offered an adjusted program in Science within the mainstream education and are generally supported within their other mainstream subjects by support staff (teacher aides).
All students are case managed by the SEP staff consisting of the HOSES and a team of teachers. Individual Education Plans and Individual Curriculum Plans are established for every student with a verified disability.
Support Model 2 : Adjusted Curriculum
Students and their parents choose this option when students are identified as having gaps in their learning and struggle with the pace and content of a mainstream curriculum. There is no direct need for One to One support but there is a need for a scaffolded or adjusted curriculum with a focus on explicit teaching. In essence this means that within English, Maths, SOSE and Science, the mainstream curriculum ideas are followed but are heavily scaled back in order for students to understand the content and fill the gaps they have in their learning. More time is given to complete assessment tasks, task sheets are broken down in dot points so students know where to start, visuals are provided and the amount of verbal instruction is scaled back so students don’t feel overwhelmed. Classes are offered across Year 7, 8 and 9. Our goal is to improve students’ self-belief so they can achieve to the best of their ability.
Classes are capped at 15 and are taught by dedicated teachers with an active interest in educating students with learning difficulties. Classes operate in exactly the same manner as all other mainstream classes and are timetabled across the school (there is no dedicated building where these classes take place). Once again, it is up to the students and their parents to make the choice whether they would like to be a part of these classes.
The STLaN teachers provide support and feedback to both teachers and parents and are always available to discuss your student.
Support Model 3 : Mainstream Education with support
Students and their parents choose this option when they feel confident they can cope with a mainstream curriculum. Mainstream teachers will make adjustments and/or modifications to cater for the students’ individual needs. If necessary, teacher aide support or extra support from the Access Centre can be provided depending on funding received.
All our teachers at Benowa have been trained in providing a differentiated curriculum.
Transition Program – Senior School
The Access Centre strongly focuses on continued career development for all of our students. This is achieved by accessing all the support services at Benowa State High School including Guidance Officers, Heads of Social Justice, the careers centre and outside agencies. This is part of our integral program to successfully transition all students from school to further education or work. Access to school based apprenticeships, traineeships and work experience is available to all students.