Students with additional needs

Policy and procedures

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The School and community context

Christ Church Grammar School is an open entry school and as a consequence has a diverse range of students with varying abilities. All boys with previously identified additional needs are assessed by the School psychologists/Nurse/PMC Coordinator/LDC Coordinator, as appropriate, at time of application, prior to enrolment and at point of entry to determine the level of support required. This Needs Assessment Summary (NAS) is broad-based and multi-faceted; it is informed by feedback from specialists including medical professionals, psychologists, and allied health professionals. Christ Church works within the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and Disability Standards for Education (2005) guidelines, to provide reasonable adjustments for all students with additional needs and these adjustments would be based on the Needs Assessment Summary.

Preamble

This policy outlines processes and protocols for those students who require reasonable adjustments owing to their additional needs. This specifically relates to boys who require the support through the Peter Moyes Centres (PMC) and the Learning Development Centres (LDC) in both the Preparatory and Senior Schools and relates particularly to those centres and their associated services and resource provision for the relevant students.

Objectives of this policy

  •  To provide a framework that ensures a safe and responsive learning environment for all students across the School
  • To set out criteria for student eligibility for additional resourcing, as explained above
  • To assist staff in developing clear Documented Plans to manage students with special needs
  • To provide a policy framework and procedures to assist staff around decision making and use of de-escalation strategies and restraint for students in school.

Definitions

Disability

The definition of ‘disability’ in the DDA encompasses:

  • physical
  • intellectual
  • psychiatric
  • sensory
  • neurological and aural disorders and
  • medical conditions.

The definition covers both temporary and permanent disability and includes:

  • individuals who have had a disability in the past (such as an episode of psychiatric illness);
  • individuals who may have a disability in the future (for example, where there is a family history of disability); and
  • individuals who are believed to have a disability (for example, if someone is thought to have a medical condition).

Learning Difficulties

For the purpose of this policy the term ‘Learning Difficulties’ is used to describe the learning problems experienced by some students.  Students with learning difficulties may underachieve academically for a wide range of reasons and factors. These may include sensory impairment; severe behavioural, emotional or psychological issues; English as a second language or dialect; high absenteeism; low IQ or a diagnosed learning disability. A learning difficulty may not continue to exist if appropriate instruction and intervention is in place.

Not all students who experience learning difficulties will be eligible for provisions or accommodations under the DDA.

Learning Disabilities

For the purposes of this policy ‘Learning Disabilities’ will be considered a sub-set of the group of students experiencing learning difficulties. A defining feature of a specific learning disability is that the difficulty will continue to exist, despite appropriate instruction and intervention.

Students with learning disabilities will have had their diagnosis confirmed by the School Psychologists as outlined in the DSM-V or ICD-10 working within relevant state and national criteria for eligibility.

Applications and Enrolments

As per the School’s Admissions procedures, this policy is to be made available to all parents and guardians at the time of application. The student and his parents or guardians are also to meet with the Director of Studies/Head of the Preparatory School and School Psychologists. This meeting will need to be repeated where there is a long period between application and commencement date, especially in the case of younger students. The School’s facilities and possible accommodations must be discussed with the Coordinators of the PMC/LDC.

The School Education Act (1999) requires parents and guardians to provide, “details of any condition of the enrolee that may call for special steps to be taken for the benefit or protection of the enrolee or other persons in the school” (16G). This includes specific details, reports and information on any medical issues; psychometric testing; cognitive; mobility; vision/hearing; behaviour management; speech and communication and any current court orders including restraining orders. Failure to disclose such information may jeopardise the applicant’s enrolment at the School. Details of special funding or services, which the applicant may receive from an external agency, should be included with the application.

Background Information

Additional Needs resourcing is allocated to students with diagnosed disabilities, documented in a Special Needs Profile (SNP), who require moderate to significant adjustments to their educational program, formalised in a Documented Plan (DP), that is informed by a Needs Assessment Summary (NAS), Learning Profile or Teaching Strategies Profile.

Verification of diagnosis

 The School Psychologists confirm the student’s disability as outlined in the DSM-V or ICD-10, working within relevant state and national criteria for eligibility. A disability is confirmed from reports from specialists and assessments that confirm disability. Relevant staff members then compile a Special Needs Profile.

Special Needs Profile (SNP)

A student is considered eligible/ineligible for Special Needs Resourcing based on the following documentation:

  • Evidence during the application process or documentation from previous schools (for students from interstate or changing schools)
  • Report or letter from specialist confirming diagnosis, psychometric testing, any standardised test scores, adaptive behaviour assessments
  • The documents of students with a sensorineural hearing loss or vision impairment may come from a range of sources – these are to be confirmed by the School Psychologists
  • Students with intellectual impairment, emotional/behavioural disorders (as defined by the DSM-V or ICD-10 criteria) are to have the diagnosis confirmed and approved by the School Psychologists
  • Students with specific disabilities eg physical, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), specific learning disorders will have diagnosis confirmed by the School Psychologists

Not all students who have a SNP are eligible for special needs resourcing. The resourcing is allocated according to individual student needs.

Student placement criteria for the PMC/LDC/Mainstream

The placement of students is determined by the School Psychologists, with the support of associated staff and consideration of parental input, all guided by what is in the best interests of the child. The PMC caters predominantly for boys with significant disabilities in regard to intellect, physical health and/or mental health, whereas the LDC supports students with a learning disability. The placement of students with additional needs (mainstream/LDC/PMC) is made by the Head of the Senior School, and the Head of the Preparatory School following due consultation with staff including the Studies Office (Prep or Senior), School Psychologists, PMC and LDC Coordinators (Prep or Senior) and with measured regard of parent and student input, where possible.

Allocation of human and physical resources across the School (PP – Year 12) is determined on the basis of the Needs Assessment Summary (NAS) at the time, as informed by regular testing and evidence. Decisions as to whether students are placed in the PMC or LDC and their access to mainstream classes are based on the outcome of their SNP and availability of resources.

Boys entering the School receive support from the PMC, the LDC or the mainstream as follows:

PMC

  • A student will receive PMC support when he is unable to access mainstream curriculum based on physical, behavioural, intellectual and/or social-emotional needs. Some students are placed in the PMC when being in a mainstream class is likely to cause unjustifiable hardship to them, and/or compromises their own or the learning of other students. Where students are assessed as benefiting from and having the ability to cope with and develop subject-specific skills, they will be considered for inclusion in mainstream classes. Within the Prep PMC, boys follow a DP where the primary focus is on the development of their numeracy, literacy, social-emotional skills, fine and gross motor skills and life skills. Within the Senior PMC, boys follow a DP where the primary focus is on the development of their numeracy, literacy, social-emotional, vocational and life skills. When boys access classes outside of the PMC they may be given support as required. The appropriate PMC staff members liaise and collaborate with teachers to differentiate the programs for the boys who are placed in the PMC.
  • Planning for the ongoing educational pathway of boys in the Preparatory School PMC needs to be initiated in Year 4, with consideration of the boy’s needs in relation to the accommodations available within the more complex structures of the Senior School.

Needs Assessment Summary (NAS)

As a condition of the application process, a potential student who is being considered for the PMC is required to undergo a NAS. Following this initial assessment, regular reviews need to be conducted prior to enrolment to assess the child’s progress. Once the child is enrolled at the School, an observation at the student’s current educational facility may be conducted. A NAS will be conducted again towards the end of Pre-Primary, or as necessary, by the relevant PMC Coordinator, in conjunction with the School Psychologist/s, and will include a meeting with parents, student and a review of recent reports. The NAS evaluates and provides an explicit summary of a student’s needs across a number of domains:

  • curriculum
  • behaviour and compliance
  • social skills
  • communication (receptive/expressive)
  • active engagement
  • participation
  • self-care (eating, hygiene)
  • motor skills
  • mobility
  • safety

This summary then informs decisions about the level of support required for the student to access and participate effectively in the School’s programs.

Documented Plan (DP)

 The NAS is used to inform the DP, which outlines specific learning targets and objectives that the student will be working towards achieving throughout the year. The DP is reviewed at least twice a year, with input from teachers, parents and students. Reference is made in the Documented Plan to the Individual Behaviour Management Plan and the Wellbeing Treatment/Action Plan, both of which are also updated regularly. Parents are required to sign off on these documents.

DPs provide explicit teaching instructions for skill development. LDC/PMC staff members liaise and collaborate with mainstream classroom teachers to outline the skills for development. The DP specifies the target skills for development, the resources required to promote skill development, and assessment criteria. The DPs are developed at the end of each semester by the parent/s, Director of Studies/Head of Preparatory School, School Psychologists, and Coordinators PMC/LDC as appropriate, at which time goals and objectives for the particular student are agreed.

LDC

Learning Profiles (LP) and Teaching Strategy Profiles (TSP)

 The coordinators of the LDC (Prep and Senior) have responsibility for preparing, in consultation with the School Psychologists:

  • Teaching Strategies Profile detailing appropriate strategies for students with particular learning difficulties
  • Learning Profiles, including special provisions for assessments and examinations, for students with a diagnosed learning disability

These confidential profiles are uploaded onto the School database to allow all teachers and relevant tutors and Head of House (senior) access.

Additional support is provided to students in the Prep and Senior LDC;

Prep

  • A student is offered support from the Prep LDC when he can engage with mainstream age-appropriate curriculum in a Prep School class of approximately 25 students, with assistance. The appropriate staff of the LDC will liaise and collaborate with teachers to differentiate the programs within their respective classes for the boys who are designated LDC and/or who are following an LP or TSP.

Senior

  • A student is offered support from the Senior LDC if he has a diagnosed learning disability and his literacy or numeracy is significantly below same age peers (2-4 years). Specific support programs can be accessed in place of some core subject areas. The differentiation of these programs is overseen by the Heads of Department of the individual learning areas.

Mainstream

Prep

  • A student is categorised as mainstream if he can engage with mainstream age-appropriate curriculum in a Preparatory School class of approximately 25 students.

Senior

  • A student is categorised as mainstream if he can engage with mainstream age-appropriate curriculum in a Preparatory School class of approximately 25 students. Students with learning difficulties may also access Support classes in the core subject areas in Years 7-10. In these classes students will cover a modified West Australian Curriculum.

Teacher support

 Individual class teachers within the School receive professional support and direction with regard to differentiation associated with PMC/LDC students via the appropriate Learning Needs staff (PMC/LDC).

Co-curricular activities, sport, interschool competitions, camps and excursions

The Christ Church student will be given the necessary support to participate in all programs offered by the school. There may be occasions where a student is unable to access particular programs with their peers, despite reasonable adjustments being made, by nature of their specific disability, whether it be medical, psychological, developmental or physical. The Head of House (Senior School)/Head of the Preparatory School, in consultation with the relevant specialist staff and parents, will arrange for an alternative or modified program to be provided for the student. The only time the School will reserve the right to recommend a student not to participate in any non-academic program offered by the school, is if the student’s participation is likely to breach a duty of care, placing himself or others at risk and there is substantial evidence to support that including the student will cause them, and/or other students, and/or other students, unjustifiable hardship and/or significantly compromise the learning opportunities of other students.

When students require Education Assistant support to engage with voluntary activities offered by the School then the cost of that assistant is borne directly by the parent.

Procedures to ensure safety for staff, students and the community

As outlined in the School’s Guidelines for Managing Student Behaviour, Christ Church Grammar School owes a duty of care to the school community to take reasonable care to protect members of that community against risks or injury, which are reasonably foreseeable. This duty extends to taking reasonable care to prevent a student from injuring himself or injuring others or damaging property. In order to meet this duty, school staff may be required to consider not including a student for a particular program. Reasonable adjustments will be made for students with special needs to ensure that they are able to work within the guidelines. In some instances, where the risk of serious injury to others is imminent, and de-escalation interventions have been unsuccessful, staff may be required to physically restrain students

De-escalation procedures

When a child or young person is unable to self-regulate their emotions and behaviour and becomes a risk to themselves or others, de-escalation is required. De-escalation refers to a series of interventions that can significantly reduce risk. Each student’s Behaviour Management Plan details the specific de-escalation strategies that have been identified as helping the boy to settle and be calm.

Restraint Procedures

PART training will be provided on a regular basis to coordinators, teachers, Educational Assistants and other key staff. The PART (Predict, Assess and Respond To aggressive/challenging behaviours) course is delivered by AISWA-accredited inclusive education consultants and trains staff to manage difficult situations with heightened or aggressive students, whilst maintaining duty of care.

Wherever possible the use of restraint will be avoided. The use of physical restraint as a behaviour management technique will be utilised only with extreme caution as a last resort in emergency situations, after de-escalation techniques have been unsuccessful.

In the event that physical restraint is required to protect the safety of students and staff, the prescribed procedure must be followed to ensure the proper use of restraint to prevent or minimise any harm to the student as a result of the use of restraint.

When restraint is likely to be initiated

The use of physical restraint will be most suitably initiated, only by PART-trained staff, in the following circumstances:

  • The student’s behaviour poses an imminent threat to cause serious physical harm to another student and/or member of staff

Christ Church Grammar School’s duty of care towards its staff and students means that staff have an obligation to take positive action in situations where a student’s behaviour threatens the safety of other persons. The level of intervention will range from verbally directing the student(s) to stop, through to physical restraint of one or more of the students involved. If physical restraint is considered necessary, staff must not put themselves at risk of injury. Where a student could cause injury to others, an evacuation plan may be instituted.

  • The student’s behaviour may lead to self-harm or injury

Christ Church Grammar School’s duty of care towards its students means that staff are compelled to act in situations where a student’s actions may cause the student harm or injury. It may be the case that a student’s actions occur as a result of both voluntary and involuntary behaviour. Where a student could incur injury by leaving school premises in a heightened state, a lockdown may be instituted.

  • Personalised behavioural modification plans have been unsuccessful

Christ Church Grammar School’s duty of care towards its students and staff means that all possible actions will be taken to ensure that an appropriate modification plan is developed for either voluntary or involuntary behaviours that are likely to cause serious injury to the school community. In the event that the behaviour modification plan or de-escalation plan is unsuccessful, due to unforeseeable reasons, then physical restraint will be initiated where a threat to others is imminent or if there is a threat to the student himself.

Any instance of the use of physical restraint will require documentation and notification to parents. The student’s behaviour management plan and program will be reviewed and alterations made to address the student’s needs and behaviours.

A Critical Incident Form must be lodged with the Department of Education Services (DES) where such intervention is prolonged and significant.

If, after all reasonable adjustments have been made in regard to the behaviour of a student, his behaviour cannot be managed safely and effectively and is causing continual disruption to teaching and learning, his enrolment may be terminated.

Procedures after restraint

  • A Critical Incident Form will be completed.
  • The student will be given guidance in regard to his behaviour, for instance through a social story
  • Parents will be informed and invited to a meeting to review the incident. If the student has been suspended, a re- entry meeting and risk reduction plan will be instituted.
  • The Coordinator will de-brief with staff members and the Director of Studies/Head of the Preparatory School.

Procedures

 1.    Before enrolment

This policy is to be made available to all parents.

The boy and his parents are also to meet with the Director of Studies/Head of Preparatory School, School Psychologists, and Coordinators PMC/LDC as appropriate. This meeting will need to be repeated where there is a long lead-in time between enrolment and commencement date, especially in the case of younger boys. The suitability of the School’s facilities and accommodations will be discussed, to establish that enrolment at CCGS is not likely to result in unjustifiable hardship.

Previous school reports are to be directed to the Director of Psychological and Counselling Services.

2.    Before commencement

The Director of Psychological and Counselling Services creates a Needs Assessment Summary after meeting with the parents and student.

The Needs Assessment Summary is directed to the relevant coordinator who develops the Documented Plan, with input from the parents and student, where appropriate. (The Documented Plan may include Curriculum Differentiation Plan, Behaviour Management Plan, Wellbeing Treatment Action Plan etc.)

3.    After commencement

Coordinators work with mainstream teachers to implement Documented Plan.

Coordinators conduct regular assessments and review Documented Plans with parents, teachers and student at the beginning of each semester (or more often if required).

Coordinators advise Director of Studies in regard to boy’s needs as required for the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students (NCCD) process.

The student’s enrolment status at the School is reviewed towards the end of each year.

Associated policies and guidelines:

Admissions Policy

Guidelines for Managing Student Behaviour

Reporting and Assessment Policy

Curriculum Policy

Disability Action Plan