Harmony in Diversity

At Victor Harbor High School we strive for a culture that truly values individual difference. In the case of the students in the Special Education Sub School (SESS), that means understanding that they learn differently from others and that the teaching and support staff need to Try another way[1] to engage students to the best of their abilities.

Our students are involved in whole school events such as assemblies, sports day, presentation evenings and Student Voice. Access to mainstream classes is negotiated on a case by case basis between a students’ mentor teacher, the mainstream teacher and the family. Considerations may include student interests/skill level, the number of SESS students to access the class and the amount of support that will be required to give the student(s) the best possible chance of succeeding.

Senior students are provided with opportunities to access work experience or placement in environments covering a wide range of individualised support options. The site has positive and strong relationships with service providers in the Fleurieu region. We aim to strengthen our connections with the local community to ensure that our students move on to a post school option that is appropriate for them.

Wellbeing for Learning:

Educators are currently experiencing a revolution in our understanding about the neurology of learning. We understand that our students first and foremost, require a safe environment in which to learn. As VHHS staff develop a shared understanding of Interoception[2] and its positive effect on student learning, we explicitly teach these and other mindfulness techniques that are designed to support students’ ability to self regulate their behaviour and emotions.

The SESS will be undertaking construction of a new Sensory Garden in the near future that will comprise at least two spaces in which students can engage in interoception. The design of the new space allows for maximum opportunity for age appropriate self regulation.

Student mentoring focuses on the development of “soft skills” such as those embodied in our school values: Creativity, Perseverance, Integrity and Respect.

One Child One Plan:

All students in the SESS have a One Plan (formerly the Negotiated Education Plan or NEP) document that is developed in consultation with families and other major stakeholders in the lives of students.

For year 8 students, the One Plan focus is on developing their sense of identity and belonging in their new school environment. From year 9, the focus is shifted to developing the skills that the student will require in order to be successful in his/her post school environment.

Curriculum:

Curriculum is modified to provide optimal learning for individual students. They work toward completing their modified South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE[3]) from the time that they begin at VHHS. Curriculum content may be sourced from AusVELS[4], the Australian Curriculum[5] and/or modified SACE. Alternatively, it may be individually negotiated with a family that a student focus entirely on their transition to post school options and not enrol in SACE. Curriculum sourcing will be specified in the One Plan.

  1. Marc Gold
  2. Emma Goodall 
  3. South Australian Certificate of Education
  4. Australian Curriculum in Victoria
  5. Australian Curriculum

Additional Support Services:

The SESS is working closely with visiting professionals in the school as we learn to operate with private providers who are registered with the fledgling National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). SESS staff communicate with agencies and families to ensure that students receive the support of other agencies as needed. Some of the services (Department of Education and Child Development and NDIS) accessed by students at school include:

  • Speech pathology
  • Occupational therapy
  • Orientation and Mobility
  • Social emotional support
  • Psychology
  • Workplace providers