The Diverse Learning Department seeks to cater for the differing needs of all learners at the College and supports teachers in their work with students. The Touchstone of Inclusive Community is at the core of College values and ensures every student is seen, acknowledged, and supported. Through various provisions, enrichments, and differentiation each student experiences a liberating and just academic environment.
In addition to the data gathered from external Academic Assessment, parents are asked to provide the College with relevant documentation from paediatricians/specialists or their current school. This will ensure students are placed in the most appropriate class and assigned suitable support and enrichment opportunities.
Specialist Diverse Learning Teachers (DLTs) and Learning Support Officers (LSOs) assist students with diverse learning needs across all key learning areas, enabling students to access the curriculum and achieve to the best of their ability. This support can be delivered through team-teaching or in-class assistance or alternatively, where appropriate, students are supported one-on-one or in small groups away from the classroom. One such example is the Macquarie Literacy (MacqLit) intervention program where students work with staff who are trained in the program which supports the development of key components for effective reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. The team works closely with students, their families, and external clinicians, together with the Curriculum, Pastoral, and Counselling teams to identify and support students with additional needs. Effective communication ensures that students are grouped appropriately and through ongoing collaboration, differentiated teaching strategies are embedded across all faculties to ensure all learners achieve success in a supportive and inclusive environment.
All students with identified learning needs have a personal learning plan, developed in collaboration with the student and his parents/caregivers. These plans are made available to class teachers and include relevant strategies and accommodations in support of quality teaching for each student.
Students identified as needing learning enrichment are those who perform, or have the potential to perform, in one or more domains at a level significantly beyond children of the same age, culture or circumstances. Identification is a key element in the provision of learning enrichment. This takes place through several methods including:
- educational attainment testing (Academic Assessment Services)
- NAPLAN analysis
- external and internal testing/ assessment,
- teacher and parent nominations.
Provisions for talent development are made through:
- integrated differentiated programs
- independent study programs
- curriculum compacting
- subject acceleration and
- class ability grouping
Students in Stage 3 Mathematics are grouped according to their ability and potential to ensure that learning opportunities are differentiated and appropriate for each student. These groups are reviewed regularly, and changes are made where necessary. In Stages 5 and 6 Mathematics is offered to selected students in a compacted delivery, providing access to levels of extension sooner.
Opportunities external to the classroom include events such as the ICAS Assessments, Maths Olympiad, Ethics Olympiad, Australian Science Olympiads the Future Problem Solving Competition – International (FPSPI), academic gala days, the NSW da Vinci Decathlon, the study of Philosophy as an elective in Stage 5, participation in the NSW Philosothon and more.
Enrichment opportunities in the Primary School consist of extension groups for boys in Years 5 and 6. These groups are fluid and are selected from a combination of standardised tests, school-based tests, and teacher recommendations. Examples of our current enrichment groups include:
- Gleeson Group (critical and creative thinking)
- Writing extension groups
- Mathematics ability based classes
- In-class enrichment from Diverse Learning staff
In the Senior School, the targeted grouping of students across curriculum areas is a crucial component of developing a quality learning environment to best support student academic progress. This grouping occurs across the key learning areas of English, Mathematics, Religion, Science, History, Geography and Personal Development, Health and Physical Education. Furthermore, the Mathematics Faculty offers invitational acceleration opportunities for Gifted and High Potential Students from Year 9 onwards.
The Learning Enrichment Team in the Senior School further supports identified students by developing learner profiles that are constructed in consultation with the individual, parents and teachers. Additionally, the Learning Enrichment Team data tracks standardised tests as well as academic reporting to ensure that gifted and high potential students are progressing steadily throughout their respective subjects.
Examples of the internal and external enrichment opportunities can be seen below: