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Vocational education

Individual learning areas as identified in the SET Plan and our curriculum are complimented by a range of specialist programs designed to expose students to skills training learning opportunities. These programs not only add value to the traditional curriculum but also help ensure that our students are as prepared for life after school as they can possibly be.

These programs have been recognized with numerous educational, environmental and community awards culminating in winning Education Queensland’s highest accolade a State Showcase Award for Excellence in Senior Schooling. Aspley Special School’s innovative “Cans to Coffee” initiative has enabled all students at our school to access ongoing skills training by developing a suite of training programs and providing them on the school campus. This school-based approach has removed many of the complexities associated with traditional off-campus training and work experience and maximised transition outcomes for students.


Kingfisher Centre

Recycling at ASS began in 1983 with can crushing as a work experience option - raising $25 for the year. Since that time, ‘can crushing’ has been transformed into the world’s largest (by volume of product recycled) school-based recycling program processing over 650 tonnes of recyclables, generating over $35,000 and provided skills training opportunities for many students with a disability.

Most students at ASS engages in recycling-related skills training at some point during their schooling career, participating in activities including eWaste processing, can crushing, glass sorting, cardboard packing, lid removal, stamp recovery, tree planting and mulching. All students regardless of their disability are involved.

Students are expected to operate within a work-like environment and complete designated tasks, follow expectations, work within set procedures and adhere to WH&S standards. Students develop and practice valuable life and employment-related skills including staying on task, adhering to quality control measures, exhibiting safe behaviours and displaying acceptable work ethics. These skills can subsequently be refined and transferred to a range of work and supported work environments.


Hospitality courses

Hospitality skills training at ASS culminate in selected students operating the Frothee Coffee Shoppee for between sixty and one hundred customers most Fridays. To represent our school in this sought after program, students must first develop a suite of skills through engaging in a range of school-based hospitality and life skills programs.

Most students at ASS participate in an individualised living skills program each week. This program exposes students to the kitchen environment as well as introducing them to simple cooking and snack making skills, health and hygiene practices and general kitchen procedures. On consolidation of these skills, students are eventually introduced to higher level skills and a hospitality work ethic through their involvement in the Coffee Shop Cooking program. Scones, slices, pikelets and quiche are produced by students in this program for subsequent sale in the Frothee Coffee Shoppee.

These life skills and cooking programs are complemented by students operating all aspects of the school tuckshop (one day a week) and participating in a 10 week basic cookery course (based on units of competency from the hospitality training package) that trains students in commercial kitchen operations. All students are provided with the opportunity to further refine social and etiquette-related skills developed in these hospitality programs through regular visits as customers to the Frothee Coffee Shoppee.

In addition, our traditional hospitality programs is complimented by the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden (SAKG) program. This program sees students involved in the development and construction of the garden, in addition to providing students  opportunities to propagate, plant, harvest and eat fresh fruit and vegetables – from garden to plate.




Specialist programs

Our school’s learning areas are complimented by a range of specialist programs designed to expose students to skills training learning opportunities. These programs not only add value to the traditional curriculum but also help ensure that our students are as prepared for life after school as they can possibly be.

Work experience

The Work Experience or Community Recreation program is a well-established and successful part of the curriculum at Aspley Special School. It contributes to the students’ lifelong learning by assisting in their transition from school to the broader community.


Manual Arts

Manual Arts incorporates the safe use of tools and equipment to create both small and large projects in and outside the workshop. Students are taught skills in the use of tools and how to choose the best tool for the job. They are also instructed in the use of various machines and portable power tools and how to use them safely along with appropriate safety equipment and clothing.
Projects range from small individual jobs such as coat hangers, boomerangs, boxes, tea trays, plant stands, to larger group projects like outdoor furniture, garden seats or landscaping areas. 


Alternative programs

Communication is often a primary need amongst some students and our staff are supported to help these students progress their ability to use their nominated communication systems or devices. Whilst still engaging with the relevant learning areas of their section of the school, these students may also engage in additional community-based activities such as Horse-riding for the Disabled and Sail ability to help them transfer their acquired skills from the school to the community setting.


The school has an extensive range of computers, laptops and ipads with all classes networked to a server. A very comprehensive range of software, adaptive technologies and voice output devices are available. Technology is well used in this school and is an invaluable resource in supporting learning and skill development for our students. Please discuss the relevance of this aspect of the curriculum with your child’s teacher at the earliest opportunity.