Department of Education Learners First
Department of Education - Learners First
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Educational Programs

Our Commitment and Values

Our Commitment:

We educate and empower learners in environments conductive to learning


Our Values:

Aspiration – we have a strong commitment to the pursuit of excellence for our learners, people, programs and resources

Respect – Our learners are supported to be safe and caring learners. Staff interact with integrity, commitment and accountability.  We presume competence in all learners.

Courage – we have a culture that accepts challenges and embraces opportunities. Learners have the right to challenging and engaging learning opportunities.

Growth – We empower learners by providing positive, productive and supported learning experiences that encourage lifelong learning.

Class Groups - Differentiation

Education is the fundamental goal of Southern Support School. Our highly trained Teachers, Teacher Assistants, Specialist Teaching Staff, Support Staff and Staff Leadership Team are all committed to providing the highest quality educational and life outcomes to our students.  We prioritise educationally differentiated student achievement via

  • Teachers adopt age appropriate curriculum to plan, assess and report. Guided by best practice curricula -
    • Being, Belonging, Becoming (K)
    • Australian & Victorian Curriculum (P-10)
  • Victorian Curriculum for students with disabilities used to assist with differentiation.
  • Core subjects – English, Mathematics, Science, Health & PE, Arts (music, drama, visual arts)
    • TASC (11-12)
  • Core subjects – Basic Communication, Basic Numeracy, Prepare for Life, Sport and Recreation, Science and Environment
  • Literacy/communication strategy AAC POLICY
    • Augmented and Alternative Communication (AAC) embedded in practice guided by Communication Bill of Rights
    • Balanced Literacy approach updated from 4 Blocks Model (Reading with comprehension, self-selected reading, working with words, writing)   
  • Our staff are proficient in multiple AAC devices and programs. As a school in 2017 we adopted the PODD system school wide (with various student individual
  • Team teaching approach. High staff/student ratio.  Teacher manages the learning of the students as well as the support staff assisting.
  • Lesson delivery method is individualised to the needs of the student. This can include the use of AAC speech apps, Switches, Eye Gaze, Alternative Pencils and educational adjustments.
  • Each student has an individualised Literacy and Numeracy plan developed with a teaching team.
  • Lessons are consistently differentiated or individualised in regards to learning goals, length, content, assessment, method of delivery, place of delivery. The goals can be individual, small group or class based.
  • Sensory and emotional regulation of the student is highly prioritised. Effective learning cannot commence until the student is the calm/alert state
  • Student timetables alternate non-preferred tasks with preferred tasks (first/then or first, next, then, etc) to increase length of engagement.

Literacy Strategy

Southern Support School is committed to providing students with differentiated programming to meet their individual needs. We have a dedicated Literacy Coach on staff who informs and implements current best practice in collaboration with our teaching staff. Our school adopts the Balanced Literacy Approach to teaching literacy based on information outlined in ‘Research-Based Practices for Creating Access to the General Curriculum in Reading and Literacy for Students with Significant Disabilities’ Erickson, Hanser, Hatch and Sanders (2009).

Students at Southern Support School range from emergent to conventional literacy learners. Students operating at emergent levels are developing skills which will support the learning of their literacy.  Conventional learners are continuing to further develop skills in the areas of spelling, reading, comprehension and writing.  All emergent and conventional literacy programming embed students’ individual Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems (ACC).  


Our Classrooms

All class groups have a qualified professional teacher and at least two highly trained teacher assistants. Each Classroom has

  • A fully equipped kitchen area
  • An art and play wet area
  • A flexible seating communal area for teaching
  • A separate quiet individual learning area
  • Additional fenced outdoor space that students can access for regulation during school times
  • Indoor ceiling mounted swings for regulation
  • An Interactive Whiteboard, multiple student use desktops with accessible software, multiple AAC speech generating devices, a class group iPad (in addition to student devices)
  • Specialised disability accessible bathrooms (including hoists, tables and showers)

Our Staff

In addition to Classroom Teachers and Teacher Assistants we have a number of Teachers who teach specific programs such as Swimming, Physical Education, Art, Music, Drama, Work Skills and Kitchen Garden Program. We also pay for the services of a Music Therapist and an Artist-in- Residence to work individually or in small groups with students.

Visual Arts

We currently have an Artist in Residence program operating one day per week. Class teachers can negotiate involvement in this program for individual students or their class group.

Drama Program

The Drama program is delivered by a specialist teacher. Each class receives a 45min drama session each week. Drama is an effective way to motivate children to engage in learning.  By physically acting out stories and scenarios, children develop a deeper understanding of real life and imagined concepts and experiences.  They also have opportunities to engage in shared experiences which encourage teamwork, turn taking and a sense of humour!  Drama programs focus on developing the student’s communication skills, and uses microphones and communication devices to achieve the most positive results.  Props, masks, puppets and costumes are introduced to provide the students with inspiration in creating character. 

Music Program

The Music program is delivered by a specialist teacher. Our music program engages students in activities that reinforce other areas of learning in our school curriculum.  Our focus is on musical skills but using music as a vehicle to facilitate learning in a range of areas.  Music sessions involve:

  • Imitation of others, both physical and oral
  • Percussion using body and instruments
  • Large physical movement; stimulating proprioceptive awareness
  • Jumping, hopping, crawling, stomping, clapping, shaking etc.
  • Respiration
  • Fun, enjoyment and participation
  • Musicality involving singing and vocalisation moving, playing instruments
  • Personal growth, involving gross motor and fine motor co -ordination, self-confidence, development of verbal and non-verbal communication, listening skills, memory and space perception, body awareness;
  • Interpersonal growth; involving development of self-concept, social skills, sharing, turn-taking and mutual respect;
  • Relaxation and reducing anxiety and hyperactivity;
  • Whole brain learning; crossing the midline of the body to increase attention span;
  • Opportunity for creativity and role play; and
  • An opportunity to provide sensory experiences.

Our music sessions aim to be highly motivating and fun and everyone can participate.

We also engage the services of a Music Therapist one day per week.