Here at EdSpace we follow the Victorian Curriculum as our learning pathway. 

I am who I am 

As parents and educators we need to remember that we do not change who our students are. Their particular issues are lifelong. What we can do is minimise the impact of their difficulties by supporting them to learn. This is very important. The difference between a talented amateur and an Olympic medallist is good coaching and training. All of our students have the capacity to learn, achieve and succeed. This is why it is important to focus on strengths rather than difficulties. We also need to be aware that our students have developmental delays, which mean that they may achieve their goals later in life than others.

Learning to Learn

As a rule, sitting in a classroom listening or reading is less effective for learning (especially for our students) than other strategies that engage all of the senses. Experiential learning and Applied learning means learning in a particular environment while engaged in an activity. It allows access to experiences that the students would otherwise not have. It uses the skills developed in the classroom setting to put the learning into context in real life.

To learn best, our students need very small groups, with lots of visual instruction and structure, consistent support, but the flexibility to deal with problems when they arise. 

Our students have short recess times at school, as this is the time of day when most problems occur in mainstream schools (because of lack of structure). This compensates for the fact that our students don’t do homework. They cover more work at school, and there is little evidence that homework makes much difference in this context. Having said that, some of our students choose to do homework voluntarily!

Many of our students need scaffolding in areas to help them learn. This means using tools to help them deal with areas that they find difficult, so that they can concentrate on the important things that they need to learn. This can be as simple as tools like a spell checker, dictionary or calculator, or more complex tools that help with generating ideas or decision-making.

Vocational education and training

EdSpace offers a highly structured environment with an emphasis on appropriate use of Information Technology (IT) for delivery of programs. Individual education plans are devised through team assessment with a focus on student strengths. EdSpace is registered to provide the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL), a hands-on option for years 10 to 12.

On successful completion of VCAL students receive a certificate and a statement of results that details the area of study completed. Vocational education and training (VET) programs provide a pathway for students’ interests and credits towards VCAL.

Mental Health and social skills

Mental health support is available when needed firstly through the Principal Maggie Fanning, who in addition to being a qualified teacher is a Registered Nurse with a Graduate Certificate qualification in Family Child and Adolescent Health. Brian Winter, a Registered Mental Health Nurse is working throughout the school day with students and is available fortnightly for family support meetings.

More complex health needs are met through ready access to a GP, Dr David Rodgers, and then referral to a range of support services if needed, which in the past has included private psychologists, NECAMHS (North East Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service), paediatricians, paediatric psychiatrist and the GP based mental health nurse. Maggie and David as Rodgers Medical Services will be registering as a provider with the NDIA.

Managing Problems

Difficult behaviours and challenges will always occur, and not infrequently students arrive at EdSpace with the experience of punishments in the past, which haven’t necessarily changed things. EdSpace uses the model of ABC (Antecedent, Behaviour, Consequence), which looks at the underlying causes of problem behaviours and attempts to deal with it at that level.

Good communication between school and family is the key to sorting out issues. When a problem does occur at school, there is a meeting between the student or students concerned (the whole group if appropriate) and the teacher, and the event is worked through (a mediation process). Often there are misunderstandings of social interactions as a significant part of the problem. Specific tools, such as social stories, and social autopsies are used to work through the causes, and consequences of behaviours, and are very helpful. There is good evidence that a focus on positive behaviours is much more effective in the long run than punishment.

 

Our Curriculum Policy