Diverse Learning Needs

Our schools assist all students, including students with diverse learning needs.

Teachers continually fine-tune teaching strategies for individual students and through this process may identify students requiring additional supports. Your school will also request information about your child’s specific needs through the enrolment process. Schools will establish a Program Support Group (PSG) when necessary, so that those with knowledge of the child can meet to plan adjustments which may include specific support plans or medical management plans.

Your child may present with difficulties accessing and participating in education. In consultation with parents, the school may access the services of the following consultants and/or allied health professionals in order to better inform the educational programming of your child:

  • psychologists
  • speech pathologists
  • learning consultants: diversity, autism spectrum disorder/behaviour, vision impairment, hearing impairment, physical/chronic health impairment and new arrivals/refugees.

If the school believes your child would benefit from these services, the school will contact you and ask for your approval for the direct involvement of learning diversity staff with your child. You may contact your child’s school for more information.

Specialised therapy in schools

Our schools work in collaboration with specialised organisations in developing educational programs for students with diverse needs and these are personalised to meet the needs of the individual student.

Students who present with physical/chronic health impairment or complex care needs, requiring substantial or extensive adjustments to their educational program, may be eligible to access physiotherapy and/or occupational therapy services through the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd (CECV). Applications for therapy services must provide evidence that the student requires physiotherapy and/or occupational therapy as an integral component of their submitted student program. In a small number of cases, where specialised support is required, speech pathology services may be provided. You may contact your child’s school for more information.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and external providers may be granted access to the school via a provider agreement. Your school will be able to provide you with the forms required for the application process.

Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD)

The federal and state governments provide funding to Victorian Catholic schools to assist with the ongoing costs of education. The Australian Education Act 2013 and subsequent amendments introduced the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD). The NCCD count occurs as part of the school census in August of each year.

Many students who need help at school can be counted in the NCCD, including children with learning problems (e.g. specific learning disability or reading difficulty – sometimes called dyslexia), health problems (e.g. epilepsy or diabetes), physical disabilities (e.g. cerebral palsy), vision/hearing loss and social–emotional problems (e.g. school refusal, selective mutism, autism spectrum disorder or anxiety). You may contact your child’s school for more information.

Specialist settings

The following specialist settings operate in the Archdiocese of Melbourne for primary year levels:

  • MacKillop Specialist School in Caulfield, Maidstone and Whittington
  • St Mary’s College for the Deaf, with campuses in South Morang and Wantirna South
  • St Paul’s College in Balwyn.

For more information, call Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools on 9267 0228.

Gifted and talented students

Catholic schools make provision for high-achieving and gifted students in a variety of ways. The Catholic education office in each diocese offers educational consultancy and access to resources to assist schools in identifying gifted students, assessing their specific needs and making appropriate programming recommendations. You may contact your child’s school for more information.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students

Ongoing educational, pastoral and cultural support is provided to students and their families by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education officers in each diocese.

Funding is available to Catholic schools to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. You may contact your child’s school for more information. Links are established with Indigenous community organisations to enhance the learning experience for your child.

The ‘Opening the Doors Foundation’ is an Aboriginal-led community organisation supporting educational opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students attending Catholic schools. This involves an annual process that provides financial support towards the cost of items such as uniforms, school books, IT equipment and levies to successful applicants. Requests are submitted to the Foundation through an online application process. 

For more information, see www.openingthedoors.org.au or call 03 9443 9070.

English as an Additional Language (EAL) / New arrivals/refugees program

Catholic schools use the English as an Additional Language (EAL) curriculum for planning, assessment and reporting of student progress against the Victorian Curriculum F–10 achievement standards. The EAL curriculum pathways support equity and access to the Victorian Curriculum, and support bilingual and/or multilingual language development for students who are learning with English as an additional language.

Consultancy services and funding are available to schools to meet the needs of newly arrived students requiring support with learning English as an additional language. You may contact your child’s school for more information.