Learning Support at Cerdon College encompasses a wide range of support strategies for students with special needs.
The focus is on supporting students in the classroom to enhance their learning opportunities. Our inclusive approach to support means working with teachers, parents and other professionals to facilitate development of a student’s academic program at the appropriate level. We also strive to further encourage interpersonal communication and independent learning skills for each student.
The Learning Support program reflects the following Diocesan principles:
- recognition of the importance and dignity of individual children
- recognition that pluralism and diversity within a school have the potential to enrich the educational opportunities available to all
- recognition that, in order to be faithful to Gospel values, the school endeavours to provide for those of its children who happen to have a disability. ‘In living out the values of Christ, our school celebrates the uniqueness of each person within a diverse community. We are committed to providing each student with a learning environment which is comprehensive, inclusive and challenging’ (Cerdon College Vision Statement).
In conjunction with class teachers, we assist students in the classroom by explaining tasks and providing individual support. Significant time is invested in meeting with teachers to impart information about students, plan programs and provide strategies to help students achieve their best in each subject.
Any student at Cerdon College can access additional assistance with homework or assessment tasks at lunchtime. The student makes an appointment with the Learning Support Team and appropriate help is provided.
Assistance with Assessments
Assessment tasks come in many forms: reports, essays, multimedia presentations, tests, speeches, etc. Part of the role of the Learning Support Team is to provide students with extra support to help guide them through the successful completion of the assessment. The task may be reworded or broken down into manageable tasks to allow the student to progress through the assessment and complete it on time.
Extending Mathematical Understanding (EMU) Intervention Program
The EMU program is a researched-based intervention program adopted by Parramatta CEO, which is available at Cerdon College. It has been shown to improve students’ learning and confidence with mathematics. Students who have been identified as being at risk in their numeracy learning are chosen to participate in the program. A specialist teacher works with groups of only three students at a time. Activities used target the groups’ needs and focus on counting, place value, addition and subtraction, and multiplication and division.
The Learning Support Team at Cerdon College are all trained in the use of standardised assessment tests. These school-based tests can be useful to help identify areas of strength/weakness for an individual student. Carrying out these assessments allows for best-practice interventions and strategies to support the student to achieve the best outcomes possible. Further referral is also available from psychologists and speech pathologists employed by the Catholic Education Office.
Students with special needs may require extra support during exams to allow them every opportunity to achieve their best results without being disadvantaged by any learning difficulties they may have. Applications are submitted to the NSW Educational Standards Authority (NESA) to request provisions such as extra time, separate supervision, readers and writers. Special provisions are available for school assessments and exams, and external Higher School Certificate exams.
Collaboration with the CEO Post School Options Team and Other Agencies
The Catholic Education Office (Parramatta Diocese) offers a range of support services to all schools, including vocational preparation and work readiness courses. These courses are offered to students with additional needs in Years 9-12 and range from 1 day to full week courses. We also liaise with relevant government agencies and specialist employment agencies for students with additional needs.
A small number of students will have the opportunity to participate in work placement on a weekly basis, organised in liaison with the Post School Options Team. Students are supported by workplace trainers in a real work setting.
Life Skills Program of Study
A small number of students undertake a Life Skills program of study in Years 7-12. The program allows for students to work at their own pace, incorporating adjustments to the curriculum, to best suit their learning needs. The NSW Educational Standards Authority (NESA) has included life skills outcomes in all syllabus documents, to allow for an inclusive approach for all students in schools.