Catholic schools, in their endeavours to support all students to flourish, intervene as early as possible to meet the individual needs and abilities of each student.
‘Catholic schools are committed to fostering inclusive practices which respond to learning diversity so that all students are actively engaged in learning and experience success.’
Horizons of Hope: Learning Diversity in a Catholic School, 2017.
What is Learning Diversity?
Diversity encompasses all learners across cultural, academic, social emotional and physical attributes noting these are not mutually exclusive. ‘Learning diversity’ refers to the infinite variety of life experiences and attributes a child brings to their formal learning at school. Educators seek to meet the needs of all learners, so that every student experiences success. While all educators have this goal, Catholic educators see each student as a sacred creation – ‘made in the image of God’ (Genesis 1:27). It is the understanding that all students should be fully active members of their school community and that all professionals in a school share responsibility for their learning.
Learning diversity in Catholic schools is enacted through an inclusive pedagogy and a commitment to uphold the rights of all to be:
actively engaged in education.
Catholic schools in their endeavours to support all students to flourish, intervene as early as possible to meet the individual needs and abilities of each student.
All students regardless of race, age or gender, by virtue of their dignity as human persons, have a right to an education that is suited to their particular needs and adapted to their ability. (Pope Paul VI 1965).
*Horizons of Hope: Foundation Statement:
Learning Diversity in a Catholic School
How does St Patrick's embrace Learning Diversity?
St Patrick's Primary School have a Learning Diversity Leader, Natalie Rees, who oversees the school's learning diversity program. The program involves the full spectrum of a child's time at the school, from assistance in transitioning to school, assisting with referrals for assessments, additional classroom support, regular parent meetings, learning intervention programs, personalised learning plans, NDIS support, additional support during recess and lunchtimes, providing break out space from the classroom, speech therapy, occupational therapy and psychological help, through to transitioning into secondary school.
The school maintains detailed, continuous records of a student and their progress, and through those records can obtain additional funding which is utilised to provide this school-wide program. This includes additional support resources, additional classroom support through Learning Support Officers (teacher's aides) and specific programs.
In addition, the school is one of few that have a dedicated support space, known as the Engine Room. The Engine Room provides a break out space for students to leave the classroom, regulate themselves through sensory or physical activities, and then rejoin the classroom ready to engage in the learning.
The school also engages a speech therapist and occupational therapist on a part time basis to assist students in these areas. The school also has a part time psychologist that works with students that require additional support.