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Student services and support programs

Inbuilt Supports:

Staff and Structures for Students

Generally, teachers consult with therapists to design learning experiences to meet specific needs of targeted students.  However, on occasions therapists will work directly with individual students and small groups. These services are provided through a prioritisation process that is negotiated each term with the Principal and centered on meeting the changing needs of individual students and the school as a whole.
Our school has physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists support students in the achievement of specific individual and educational goals.  They work collaboratively with school staff and families to provide input into both individual and group programs.
Therapists use a combination of assessment, consultation and professional development for school staff to support students programs.  Areas addressed include:
·         mobility
·         communication
·         self-care
·         physical fitness
·         mealtime management
·         literacy
·         work skills.
Our school is supported by a Guidance Officer.  The role of the Guidance Officer is diverse in that they undertake a range of cognitive and adaptive behaviour assessments, provide advice to teachers and information to parents.  The Guidance Officer also plays a significant role in assisting students to move to/from our school.


Positive Behaviour Learning

Our school has a Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL) approach to supporting student behaviour and is underpinned by our Responsible Behaviour Plan. This approach further consolidated our focus on positive preventative and appropriate responsive support strategies. Our PBL approach focuses on behaviour in four key areas:
·         whole school systems
·         classroom
·         non-classroom environments
·         individual students.
This approach sees all staff supporting each student’s behaviour by:
·         acknowledging the uniqueness of each student
·         placing significant emphasis on the development of socially appropriate behaviour
·         recognising that students who feel safe, accepted, supported and valued are more likely to reflect these qualities in their own behaviour
·         emphasising the importance of using teaching strategies which incorporate positive preventive actions;
·         recognising that some students need more help than other students to achieve socially appropriate behaviour.

The cornerstone of our positive approach to behaviour support is our Rule of 5.  Rules are required to ensure the safe and harmonious operation of the school.  These rules define the boundaries for appropriate behaviour.  They help students recognise that in any environment there are social expectations and a need to consider the rules when making behaviour choices.
The Rule of 5 provides the reference point for behavioural expectations, recognition and correction. Our rules are talked about constantly on assembly, in the playground and in the classroom. Students are assisted to understand and make meaning of the rules through a series of micro-lessons that are taught in each form class. Posters of the rules are in all areas of the school.
The management of student behaviour relies on the use of teaching strategies which incorporate positive preventative actions and a repertoire of actions to respond to inappropriate behaviour.
A range of proactive actions designed to encourage students to make positive behavioural choices are used in our school, as indicated by our Recognition Triangle. The deliberate use of these strategies assists to establish a learning environment that encourages each student to be as independent as they possible can be in making positive behavioural choices.
Staff are skilled at taking the opportunity to recognise when students follow the Rule of 5 and make choices that work for them and others. We utilise a range of strategies that recognise good choices and encourage students to exhibit age-appropriate and socially acceptable behaviours. These strategies range from those that are free and frequent like the wheel of five or stickers to weekly student awards, major events and prizes. 
On occasions, our students make choices that do not work for them and others. In society there are often negative consequences when one makes a poor decision.  As we are preparing our young people to live in the broader community it is important that they understand negative consequences in the school setting. The Consequence Set we have established clearly articulates the range of negative consequences for undesirable behaviour.  This set was collaboratively developed by staff and parents.
The Consequence Set helps ensure consistent implementation of consequences and empowers staff to determine the appropriate consequence for a given situation.

Consideration of individual circumstances

It is recognized that the students at Aspley Special School have special needs that underlie their enrolment within our school.  This need may be the result of a reduced intellectual capacity, inherent behaviour problems and/or a diagnosable condition such as Autism, Down Syndrome and others.  As such, the Behaviour Support Program within the school must be interpreted with a degree of flexibility and adapted where necessary to suit the needs of the students. 

Teachers have the discretion to make informed decisions with respect to the implementation of the program within their classrooms after consultation with the principal, who ensures that the program is not abandoned. 

For students who have very complex behaviours and for whom the general approaches have not been successful, an Individual Behaviour Support Plan or specific strategies detailed in an SET plan may be developed in consultation with caregivers and other professionals.  Details of such plans are shared with all staff to ensure that these student’s behaviour is supported in a consistent, appropriate manner.