Parent Info Book
BELVOIR SPECIAL SCHOOL
‘Together We Can’
Principal: Jamie Gay
Assistant Principal: Ebony Mitchell
54 Gayview Drive, Wodonga 3690
Ph: 02 60598987
Email: [email protected]
The Belvoir Special School Story
Prior to 1983, Belvoir operated from the Murray Valley Centre in Pearce Street, Wodonga and was a Day Training Centre administered by the Victorian Government Health Department. Belvoir moved to 4 Bowman Court in November 1983, it became a Victorian Education Department School and has operated under education department guidelines ever since. In 1996, with a student enrolment of 12 students, Belvoir Special Developmental School became a dual mode school and catered for students with mild, moderate and severe intellectual disabilities.
In 2013, Belvoir celebrated its 30th anniversary at 4 Bowman Court, Wodonga.
As our range of eligible students has broadened, our enrolment grew and so did our reputation due to rapid growth, a purpose built school as designed and built at 54 Gayview Drive, and we have been here since the Winter of 2014.
We are extremely proud of the work that we do to educate students with an intellectual disability. We have a professional and committed staff group who strive to create learning environments to suit each of our individual students’ needs. Programs are tailored to focus on student interests and strengths as well as addressing areas of concern.
Staff work in close contact with parents to both set and monitor individual student goals and their implementation and we try to work with families to provide the very best education possible for their children.
Our wonderful new facility has enabled us to increase the range of programs that we offer to students and further work both on this site and in the creation of linkages with other schools in Wodonga will allow these offerings to continue to grow.
Belvoir Special School caters for a diverse range of students from a large geographic area. We have students who travel for 90 minutes on a bus to get to us from Corryong and Mt. Beauty as well as students from Chiltern, Barnawartha, Yackandandah, Tallangatta and the wider Wodonga area. Students who reside in Albury or other NSW towns are now also able to apply to come to the school.
Belvoir Special School provides to the community of Wodonga and surrounding districts, a specialized educational service for school age students, aged five to eighteen, with intellectual and/or multiple disabilities. Students must meet statewide criteria to be enrolled and early intervention specialists, educational psychologists or medical personnel may refer their placement. Enrolment is subject to acceptance by the Department of Education and Training, North East Victoria Region, in accordance with the School and Region’s enrolment policy.
The school is a purpose built facility designed to be safe and stimulating for the students. Our school seeks to promote in all its students a positive attitude towards learning. It further seeks to provide a foundation in skills, knowledge, attitudes and values that will allow students to achieve their optimum level of independence.
In 2018, we expect to commence with an enrolment of 190+ students. The majority of these students will be enrolled full-time; a small percentage will be dual enrolled and some students will participate in a transition program at a mainstream local primary or secondary school. This will be determined by the individual needs of each student and in what setting these needs are best met. Students will be grouped in small home groups with each class staffed by a teacher and teacher-aide. All students will have an individualized learning plan catering for their specific needs.
Procedure for Enrolment
- PARENT ENQUIRY
Parent contacts the school and speaks to the Principal or Assistant Principal to ascertain whether their child meets the criteria for attending Belvoir Special School.
That is:- To be enrolled at Belvoir, a child must have an intellectual disability that has been diagnosed by a psychologist and have been accepted onto the ‘Program for Students with Disability – Intellectual Disability Category’. PSD-ID
Questions that may be asked include:-
· Has anybody ever told you that your child has an intellectual disability or a global developmental delay?
· Do you have reports given to you by speech therapists, physiotherapists, O.T or paediatrician?
· Has your child been involved with Early Intervention Programs?
· Have you been told that your child has a Global Developmental Delay?
Once it is ascertained that your child is likely to meet the enrolment criteria, a school visit will be organised so that you and your child can meet the Principal/Assistant Principal and have a tour of the school.
- SCHOOL VISIT / MEET WITH PRINCIPAL/ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL
Organise a time to meet with the Principal or Assistant Principal and have a tour of the school and discussion of your child’s needs to see if Belvoir would be the best school learning environment for your child. Please bring along any copies of speech, OT, physio, paediatric, vision, hearing and educational assessments that you may have.
- IF YOUR CHILD IS ALREADY ON THE PSD-ID PROGRAM IN VICTORIA and currently being funded and supported your child may be enrolled and commence at Belvoir immediately. For some children, a transition period before full enrolment may be recommended.
- IF YOUR CHILD IS ON A SIMILAR PROGRAM IN ANOTHER STATE OR PRIVATE SCHOOL SYSTEM the following documents will be required:-
· WISC-IV or WPPSI-III Assessment Report confirming an Intellectual Disability diagnosis.
· A letter from the Principal of your child’s current school, confirming that your child has received additional learning support
· Therapy or medical reports pertaining to your child’s needs. Eg. Early Intervention, Speech, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Autism, Audiology, Opthamology and/or paediatric reports.
- EDUCATIONAL NEEDS QUESTIONNAIRE (ENQ) Once all reports have been compiled, an ENQ is conducted at Belvoir where parents discuss their child’s specific learning and development needs. Goals and strategies are determined and this ENQ document is included with the application for your child to be on the PSD (Program for Students with Disabilities)-Intellectual Disability category.
- If accepted onto the PSD program, your child may be enrolled at Belvoir.
Purpose and Core Beliefs at Belvoir
At Belvoir Special School, we believe that ‘Together we can have Fun and Learn.’ This belief is the basis of all we do. We do this by: –
- Operating within Department of Education and Early Childhood guidelines for the statewide school system.
- Providing a happy, stimulating, caring and secure environment for the whole school community.
- Respecting and protecting our students’ rights by treating everyone with courtesy and dignity.
- Promoting on-going communication between parents and staff, encouraging regular parent involvement and support.
- Providing individual programs for students which are developed from The Victorian Curriculum, VELS or VCAL curriculum, in consultation with parents and Student Support Group members.
- Promoting an innovative and progressive school environment, which keeps abreast of current educational philosophy and practice.
- Providing a school community environment that offers support, understanding and information for parents, families and caregivers.
- Providing access to information on available support services and future options for families and their child.
- Utilizing all appropriate support services, including speech therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, behavioral intervention and specific disability support.
- Adherence to Belvoir’s Strategic Plan which was reviewed last year and will be developed by the whole school community in 2016. This is our school’s guiding document for the next three years.
IMPORTANT DATES AND SPECIAL EVENTS FOR 2018
Term 1 Monday, January 29th Staff resume
Tuesday, January 30th All students resume
Friday, March 29th Term 1 ends.
* Foundation Students (Preps) do not attend on Wednesdays during February.
Term 2 Monday, April 16th – Friday, June 29th
Term 3 Monday, July 16th – Friday, September 21st
Term 4 Monday, October 8th – Tuesday, December 20th
Term 1 Monday 29th January
Term 2 None
Term 3 July 27th
Term 4 Monday, November 19th
Friday, December 21st
Special Days – To dress up and have fun!
We love to do that.
TBA – Keep your eyes on the newsletter and Facebook page
House Colours Day
Pajama Angel Day
Mother’s Day Morning Tea
Father’s Day Breakfast
La De Dah Day – Melbourne Cup
Education Support Staff Day
School hours are from 9 am to 3pm each day. We aim to have school buses arrive and depart from Belvoir as close to these times as possible. Students who walk, ride their bike or come by car with parents should not arrive earlier than 8.45am. Staff have meeting and preparation commitments prior to 8.45am.
All students are expected to wear Belvoir school uniform each day unless notified in the school newsletter or communication diary that it is a casual or special dress-up day.
Junior and Middle year students uniform
Navy shorts (knee length or just above)
Navy track pants in Term 2 and 3 and cooler weather.
Burgundy polo shirt with collar.
Burgundy windcheater or button front fleecy jacket available from uniform shop.
Broad-brimmed navy sunhat for Term 1 and 4.
Black leather school shoes or supportive pair of runners. Sandals with an enclosed heel and toe may be worn in hot weather.
A checked dress for girls, with bike shorts beneath, which is the same across the school.
Navy shorts (knee length or just above knee)
Girls may select to wear a knee length navy skirt if preferred.
Navy track pants or trousers in Term 2 and 3 and cooler weather.
Navy polo VCAL shirt with collar. (Orders are taken at school.)
Navy VCAL jumper. (Orders are taken at school.)
Broad-brimmed navy sunhat for Term 1 and 4.
Black leather school shoes, fully enclosed sandals (summer only) or supportive pair of runners and socks.
A checked dress for girls, with bike shorts beneath, which is the same across the school
Belvoir School uniform can be purchased at either Brunella Uniform Shop, Crystal Court, South Street, Wodonga or Beleza Pty Ltd, 94 High Street, Wodonga. Or alternatively, navy shorts/pants and burgundy polo shirt and jumper could be purchased elsewhere and shirt and jumper taken to Brunella to have logo ironed on for a cost of around $5 per logo.
State Schools Relief
Any student who is attending a Victorian Government School is eligible for State Schools’ Relief support and schools can send an application when they believe there is a need to support a family facing difficulties in providing the appropriate uniform and footwear for school.
Currently there are 2 uniform packages being offered to Foundation students (a winter uniform package) and Year 7 students (a summer uniform package). For more information on details of these packages, please visit https://www.ssr.net.au/
Families must be recipients of CSEF to be eligible for this assistance.
There are deadlines for applications for the Yr 7 (end of Term 1) and Foundation (end of Term 3) Uniform Packages.
Bus transport is provided for the majority of our students in either our Belvoir bus or a Dyson’s bus. Each bus is staffed by a bus driver and a bus chaperone.
The ultimate transport goal for a growing proportion of our students is that they can independently travel to school. This skill will ease the transition to work and adult education placements when they leave Belvoir. Some students walk or ride their bikes to school. Some travel by public transport.
An application must be made for your child to be eligible for bus transport and this form can be found in your enrolment pack. You will be notified if your child is eligible for transport and be given details of bus pick-up and drop-off times and what bus your child will be on. As we have many children using this service, it is not possible to vary times. However, we do aim to have our students at school by 9am and depart at 3pm.
Bus Safety: Our bus chaperone will work with parents, staff and the students to ensure that your child travels safely on the bus. All children must wear a seat-belt, remain seated and refrain from eating on the bus. The chaperone will ensure that your child receives their closer supervision if assistance, extra attention, social stories, a special object or book to hold is needed.
On rare occasions, when a student is unwell, particularly anxious or disruptive and their safety and that of others is compromised, the Principal may ask the parents to transport their child for a short period of time until a revised safety plan is put into place.
Use of buses during the School Day
Community Access is an important part of your child’s weekly program and all groups participate in at least one community outing per week. In most instances, the students are transported on the buses owned by the school. At the beginning of each term, your child’s teacher will send a term timetable Community Access notification and permission slip home which will clearly outline excursion destination and dates. We ask that you read this notification and if you are happy with your child to be involved in those excursions, sign and return to school. If you have any concerns, please contact your child’s teacher by phone, person or indicate in diary.
Communication diaries are sent to and from home with each student on a daily basis. These need to be checked when your child arrives home and teachers will check them each morning at school. These diaries are a very important source of communication between home and school and may include things such as: achievements, sleep and eating behaviours, changes to routines, travel arrangements, health issues, minor concerns etc. Parents are encouraged to use these diaries to write those things down which are important to your child, especially if they may not be able to communicate with their teacher. Teachers will use the diaries to let families know of the special things and achievements that happen during the day. It does not have to be written in everyday but it is important to always check the diary and send it to school each day.
A weekly school newsletter is sent home on Thursdays with the eldest child in each family. This contains information about forthcoming events and meetings, general school news, celebrations of successes and achievements and any news relating to school administration and curriculum.
SchoolStream App for smart phones
Download the SchoolStream App. For Android and iPhones. We send the newsletter each week and will send any alerts and events through this app.
The Facebook Page
The Belvoir Special School – Parents and Friends site is kept up to date and moderated by members of the leadership team. Students must have signed permission to be included in any form of content on the site. If you have had a change of circumstances and your preference for your child is not to be included on the page, please contact Andrea at the front desk so that your preference can be altered. Social media permission forms are included in the school enrollment pack.
Some classes issue class newsletters to keep parents informed of happenings in their classrooms and to celebrate the successes and achievements of their students. Some teachers also make use of communication folders in which students take home pertinent notes, class work and other information.
Student Support Group Meetings (SSGs)
Student Support Group Meetings (SSGs) are held four times a year; usually one in each term. At the first meeting, the SSG sets goals and programs for the student for the year and assists in the formulation of an individual learning plan. In subsequent meetings the group will reset, revise or set new learning goals for the remainder of the year.
The composition of the Support Group is the following: The student, parent(s) or carer and classroom teacher. The principal or delegate, teacher-aide, specialist staff, therapists and a family advocate may also be invited to attend.
Parents, teacher or principal may request an additional SSG meeting at any time if there are issues or concerns that need immediate action.
If an emergency arises at school or teachers simply want to inform students of an extra special achievement their child made, they may contact you by phone. It is important that parents list an emergency contact on the enrolment form in case of an emergency. Please notify the school if phone numbers change. Parents are also invited to contact the school by phone to make an appointment or to pass on important information to their child’s teacher. If the teacher is unavailable, the office staff will pass the message onto the relevant staff at the first opportunity.
The School Website
You can find us here:
The new Victorian Curriculum was introduced to the school in 2015 and will replace the Hume Region Special School’s Curriculum that has been in place since 2006. The Victorian Curriculum is a leveled document (A-10), which caters for students with a disability as well as typically developing students in mainstream settings. Levels A- 10 are taught throughout the school from Foundation to Year 12 and students are matched to the curriculum based on their ability level in each of the subject areas. If you
Would like further information, about the Victorian Curriculum, please click on this link. http://victoriancurriculum.vcaa.vic.edu.au
Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning Curriculum (VCAL)
Many of our Senior students select to study VCAL Foundation Level in their final three years of schooling. VCAL covers the following units of study: Literacy and Numeracy, Industry specific skills, Work related skills and Personal Development. Some students combine their VCAL studies with a traineeship program, which may increase employment opportunities. For further information follow this link: http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Pages/vcal/index.aspx
SPECIALIST TEACHING PROGRAMS
At Belvoir, we are fortunate to have three specialist teachers in the areas of:
- Performing Arts (Drama/Music)
- Physical Education.
All students at Belvoir are timetabled for specialist classes and for many; these are favorite times of the week.
Our students benefit enormously from a rich music program and research certainly supports the notion that learning is enhanced through music, Children who can’t speak, may be able to sing. Incredibly, shy students come alive in a performance on stage. Students at Belvoir have the opportunity to enjoy lunchtime and afternoon music sessions and concerts. All students are encouraged to learn a musical instrument and individual and group lessons are available.
African drumming sessions and our rock band ‘The Belvoir Breakers’ provide creative musical outlets for our secondary aged students who like to play with others.
Adult health and fitness starts in childhood. Daily exercise is a lifelong habit. Older students can participate in individualized personal training programs created by our Physical Education Teacher and Allied Medical Team. Our interschool sport program, swimming, athletics carnivals and House Colour Day events, are favorites across all levels of the school and a great day out for families and friends.
Our Science program allows the students to study Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Earth and Space Sciences, according to the Victorian A-10 curriculum. Students learn how to be responsible for living things by taking care of the animals in the science room and contribute to feeding the school community and beautifying the school environment, through the seed-raising program. In 2016 there are plans to further develop our kitchen Garden program.
Art is integrated throughout the school day in and out of the classroom and taught by the classroom teacher.
House Team Guide
Students, Parents and Staff are allocated to school- house teams based on the first letter of their last names.
Surnames Between House Colour House Name
A-D Red Mitta
E-K Green Murray
L-P Blue Keiwa
Q-Z Yellow Hume
At Belvoir, we recognize the importance of working closely together with families and community groups in order to achieve the very best possible outcomes for our students. We have a Family Support Worker who is available to support our families and students in times of need and also to assist families in linking up with Community Disability, Family and Student Support Services.
Finding your way around Belvoir School is easy. A quick look at the trimming around the widows will tell you were you are. Our buildings are called Pods.
Students from 5 – 8 years Grades Foundation (Prep) to 2
Students from 9-12 years Grades 3-6
Students from 13- 15 years Years 7-9
Students from 16- 18 years Years 10-12
Specialist Unit The Allied Medical Team
The School Leadership Team
Family Support Officer
THERAPY PROGRAMS – Allied Medical Team
The majority of our students require specialist intervention in some form, if they are to achieve all their learning goals. At Belvoir we have a Speech Pathologist, Occupational Therapist and part time Physiotherapist from Scope. We are also in receipt of services from the Visiting Teacher Program for students with hearing and vision impairment. The work of the Allied Team includes:
- Working directly with individual or small groups of students
- Building the capacity of classrooms staff to run programs on a daily basis according to the needs of the students.
- Attending Student Support Group meetings to discus program and equipment needs with families, staff and other professionals
- Conducting assessments and Preparing documents for reporting and funding purposes.
Some of our students require medication for conditions such as epilepsy, asthma, attention deficit, hyperactivity and other medical conditions. In order for medications to be administered at school, by school staff, it is a requirement that the prescribing doctor completes a medication form, which is signed and dated. Any changes to medication must also be signed and dated by your child’s doctor or pediatrician on a change of medication form. Forms are included in enrolment pack. Please ask at the school office or your child’s teacher if you require a change of medication form to take with you to your child’s next appointment.
When medication is brought to school it must be in the original container with the child’s name and dosage information on pharmacy label. It is most important that your child’s doctor only, changes dosage and times.
POSITIVE BEHAVIOUR SUPPORT
Belvoir Special School has developed a school wide approach to behaviour management supporting evidence based practices and developing positive relationships. At Belvoir, we aim to develop a safe, thoughtful, courteous, caring and helpful environment where respectful and responsible behaviours are modelled, taught, reinforced and encouraged.
If a student doesn’t know how to read, we teach.
If a student doesn’t know how to swim, we teach.
If a student doesn’t know how to multiply, we teach.
If a student doesn’t know how to behave, we teach.
The primary focus of the Positive Behaviour Support Program is to have staff directly involved in the teaching of expected behaviours. A range of strategies can be used to support students in their development of Positive behaviours. These strategies can include, but are not limited to:
Non verbal positive support, including positive eye contact, thumbs up etc.
Restorative Practices used to highlight desired behaviours
Reinforce all attempts towards positive behaviour
Low key reaction
Ignore – Redirect – Reward strategies
Explicit teaching of a new skill to replace the undesirable behaviour
Stop Think Do Program
You Can Do It Social/Emotional skills program
Visual cues – board maker, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
We believe that the most successful way in which to foster positive behaviour in our students is ‘to catch them being good’. A ratio of 6 to 8 positive responses to each negative adult/child interaction is expected.
Students who consistently display positive behaviours within the school will be rewarded and acknowledged in a variety of ways. All classrooms will be expected to maintain a system of rewards that may include:
Student of the week awards
Friendship and encouragement awards
Presentations at assemblies and acknowledgement of success through the newsletter.
Positive reinforcers and motivators for the individual student as per individual learning plan.
TOP TIPS FOR PARENTS
Now that your child is at school, we all look for ways to help your child gain as many independent living skills as possible. Here are just a few tips which may be useful.
Label all belongings clearly
Some children require nothing more than their name written clearly on their bag, lunch box, drink bottle, diary, hat and clothing.
Colour coding or photos may assist some children identify their own belongings. Labels used throughout the house can also promote organisational and early reading.
Select a lunch box that is easy for your child to open.
Avoid sticky cling wrap which is difficult to undo.
During the cooler and wetter months, a leather school shoe is ideal. Runners are permissible. In warm weather, students may wear a leather sandal with a closed in heel and toe. Our students participate in many active programs so a well-fitting shoe that is sturdy and safe is essential.
Tying shoelaces is a difficult skill for some. Your child may gain confidence and independence by having Velcro straps on their shoes so that they can easily do and undo their own shoes. Change over to laced shoes when your child has sufficient fine motor co-ordination to perform the task.
Track pants are ideal for children who are just starting to successfully go to the toilet independently. Easy to pull down and pull up and less accidents are likely.
Sew a cross or their name on the back of jumpers, tops and pants so that your child can easily identify the back.
Some children find it easier to learn to brush their hair by using a flat brush with a Velcro strap to put your hand in instead of a handle. This idea is particularly useful for those children with limited or uncontrolled movement in their preferred hand.
Break the task into teachable parts. For example, start with doing the last part of the brushing process first. Eg. Brushing teeth with brush and water. Then introduce toothpaste, squeezing from tube, removing cap. Eventually your child will be able to do all steps.
This process is called backward chaining and is useful for teaching many new skills.
Practice independence at home
Don’t do for your child what he can do for himself.
Find out from your child’s teacher what they can do at school and encourage it at home. Let your child’s teacher know if there are things at home your child can independently do. Sometimes we are not aware of all the skills your child has. Let’s celebrate them together!
School Council and Parent Groups
School Council meets every Wednesday evening in the third and eighth week of Terms 1, 2 and 3 at 6pm at Belvoir. In Term 4 it meets on the second, sixth and tenth week.
School Council is a vital part of the school community and parents are encouraged to consider nominating for positions as they become available.
The current membership is: –
One community member
Interested members of School Council are invited to be part of the Finance Committee.
If you are not able to attend school council, you may be interested in joining one of the following committees:
Buildings and Grounds
In the past, we have had difficulty maintaining an active fundraising committee and if you have particular skills in this area we would love to hear from you.
Parents have been extremely supportive when school working bees have been held and we look forward to this continuing. It is vital that we keep our grounds well maintained and safe and as Belvoir continues to grow, the tasks continue to grow. Families usually find these social, worthwhile occasions and an opportunity to get to know each other and staff in a less formal setting.
Information sessions, parent morning teas, lunches are held throughout the school year. Parents will be notified via the school newsletter.
We always need committed volunteers to assist with programs such as swimming, community access, cooking, craft, walking programs, horse-riding and literacy and numeracy programs in Junior rooms. Volunteers must have a current ‘Working with Children Check ’ card.
Please contact the staff in the front office, if you have any questions not answered in this booklet.