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Teaching and learning

School leadership with an unrelenting focus on improvement

School leadership is about ensuring that the central and key purpose of the school is about learning. An agenda of continual improvement and high expectations forms the basis of coaching conversations with teachers. School performance is monitored against an agreed set of targets aligned to Mackay District Special School’s AIP, and is reviewed by the leadership team of Principal, Deputy Principal, Head of Curriculum and Phase/Toolkit Leaders.

Teachers are encouraged to plan together sharing ideas and information around student achievement data, best practice and trying new approaches. The school enables planning and moderation days for this to occur.

Teaching & Learning Walks allow teachers to share best practice. They open up their classrooms and at staff meetings create presentations focusing on the School Improvement Agenda.

An inclusive approach to curriculum planning incorporates the belief that all students can learn and progress. This is done by:

  • Identifying key concepts from the 'AC:Managing Student with Diversity Curriculum Plan' document
  • Incorporating Learning Areas and General Capabilities across all phases of leaning
  • Identifying relevant knowledge, skills and behaviours
  • Setting goals and developing Individual Curriculum Plans (ICPs).

Targeted teaching focused on the achievement of every child

The ICP process provides structures for ensuring students with disabilities are engaged in the AC curriculum. The ICP records curriculum decisions, learning expectations, teaching strategies, evidence and parent endorsement. If students change schools, all information in endorsed plans is available to their new school to print, copy and review.

Refer to ICP pamphlet.

Providing for students' individual priority needs

The place of therapy compliments the learning and quality of life for many of our students who have individual priority therapeutic and paramedical needs. Provision and planning for these needs is a legitimate and essential element of our curriculum. This may be delivered by therapists, paramedical, specialist and school staff through the Integrated Service Delivery Model.

Literacy and numeracy

Literacy and Numeracy is embedded in the overall school Curriculum Plan. The plan is viewed as integral to our school practice on a day-to-day basis. Toolkit 2 operationalises the 4 year plan.

The school's common shared understandings for literacy and numeracy are based on the following concepts:

  • Literacy and numeracy skills are developed and reflected in the original, spontaneous and supported, &/or augmented, communication practices of individuals
  • Literacy and numeracy programs are designed to develop and extend the unique, individual needs of our students across settings, contexts, people and environments
  • Students are taught effective, functional literacy and numeracy skills to enable them to be productive, happy and contributing members of their local community in both school and post school settings using 4 Blocks and YuMi maths frameworks.
  • Literacy & numeracy skills in particular must be taught using relevant, functional activities with practice in the real world.

Protective behaviours

Mackay District Special School community identified the importance of providing within our curriculum a structured protective behaviours program, teaching about personal safety, human relationships, sexuality and friendships. Family Planning Programs form the basis for content of these activities.

Effective teaching

Planning for students with disabilities needs to be explicit with respect to how the required concepts, knowledge and skills will be appropriately introduced and built upon with increasing sophistication. This will ensure that students will develop and be able to demonstrate the breadth and depth of their level of knowledge and understanding of the intended curriculum.

MDSS Pedagogy Framework identifies effective teaching practices. Explicit Instruction is an aspect of this.