Learner Diversity

Learner Diversity

A unique Sydney Catholic Schools support structure is in place to optimise learning for all students. High-quality inclusive education is provided for students with diverse learning profiles relating to: giftedness, speech, language, communication, vision, hearing, literacy acquisition and post-school pathways. Central and regional office diverse learning teams work with our classroom teachers to enhance their capacity to maximise learning outcomes for students. Specialists in these teams collaborate widely to consolidate an inclusive approach to learning. Each school also has dedicated learning support staff.

Sydney Catholic schools provide reasonable adjustments to assist and support students with disability to successfully engage in learning. All Sydney Catholic schools engage in the annual Nationally Consistent Collection for School Students with Disability. Students with moderate intellectual disabilities and complex developmental needs may benefit from the educational program at Eileen O’Connor Catholic College Lewisham.

 

Exclusive to Sydney Catholic schools, the Newman Selective Gifted Education Program provides a clear educational pathway, underpinned by contemporary research, for identified gifted and talented students from Kindergarten to Year 12. Responding to the pace, depth and curriculum complexity required by gifted learners, students take part in a rigorous program with like-minded peers for a significant amount of time each week.

This not only assists with their academic growth but also their social and emotional wellbeing. To sustain a high-quality educational program, teachers undergo training in identifying gifted students and developing curriculum differentiation strategies. All ‘Newman Selective schools’ undergo a comprehensive accreditation process every three to four years.

St Michael’s is an accredited Newman Selective Gifted Education Program school.

The Newman program at St Michael’s, caters for students who have been identified as potentially gifted. The program offers students academic rigour, creative and critical thinking experiences and enrichment opportunities within a Catholic educational environment. Teaching staff are accredited in gifted education to cater for the needs of these students.

Each year the school hosts a Newman Symposium to showcase and celebrate the students enrichment projects across all learning.

Reading Recovery is a short-term preventative early literacy intervention that provides extra help to Year 1 students who are identified as the lowest achievers in literacy. It helps students catch up to the average reading and writing level of their class and become independent readers and writers. Reading Recovery is delivered by a specially trained teacher.

Kindergarten screening

Prior to entry into Kindergarten, students and their families attend an interview with the principal and the Learning Support teacher. All students enrolled for Kindergarten in the following year attend a Kindergarten orientation, where teachers observe and record relevant information regarding diverse learning needs.

The Literacy and Numeracy support occurs across all classes from Kindergarten to Year 6 and is designed to cater effectively for the diverse learning needs of all our students.The emphasis of the program is on supporting the individual learning needs of the students. The support varies from withdrawal in some cases for specific lessons, differentiated programs and small group work.

The importance of early intervention to meet the learning needs of students is recognised as a key factor in successful literacy acquisition. Combined with assistance from the Literacy coordinator and Leadership team, the following procedures and programs will be implemented to achieve effective literacy teaching and learning.

  • Bridges is an individualised reading program for students with low level reading skills in Years 12. Children remain on the program for approximately 1012 weeks. 
  • Minilit and Multilit are intervention resources for children in Kindergarten to Year 6, who require reading and spelling assistance. 

Through expert support and resources from Sydney Catholic Schools, we collaborate and deliver personalised plans for students who have cognitive or developmental disorders, a sensory disability, autism, physical disability, and speech, language and communication disorders. These plans focus on specific educational goals and adjustments related to areas such as curriculum, communication and social skills. Individual Learning Plans are developed by the classroom teacher and the Learning Support teacher in collaboration with parents, for students who need specific/specialised support in the area of literacy.

English as an Additional Language /Dialect learners will be supported using the K6 English Syllabus and the ESL scales. Additionally, all students are exposed to an explicit teaching of the language structures and features of texts that is in line with the Sydney Catholic Schools position paper

Students learning English for the first time are supported by dedicated staff within our school, staff from the Sydney Catholic Schools’ regional and central offices, and programs for newly arrived students.

We are committed to working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and their families to ensure students obtain a high-quality education as a platform for achieving their full potential.

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