The Victorian government has mandated the implementation of the Victorian Curriculum in all schools. Frankston SDS has audited its curriculum and developed an FSDS Curriculum, in line with the Victorian Curriculum (See Appendix 1: The Victorian Curriculum).
The FSDS curriculum is taken from the Victorian Curriculum (VC), the FSDS I Can Be Safe Program (ICBS) and the FSDS Pathways Program for senior students.
- To maximise student outcomes through a differentiated and targeted curriculum framework that provides a continuum of learning for all students.
The curriculum will focus on students’ individual learning needs and provide them with a broad and balanced curriculum that encourages maximum independence.
- The school will have an active Curriculum Committee:
- The committee will oversee curriculum development and implementation across the school
- Achievement will be measured and reported against:
- students’ progress along the VC continuum
- students’ individual learning targets for: communication, independence and social competencies (See Appendix 3: Assessment and Reporting).
- A variety of stimulating activities will be provided at each student’s ability level to engage and challenge students to achieve their potential.
- Teachers will be provided with a professional development in order to ensure the highest level of competency in implementing the curriculum.
- Teachers will have access to four planning days per year in order to work with members of their Professional Learning Teams to develop Unit Planners for curriculum subject areas.
- This policy will be reviewed as part of the school’s three-year review cycle.
This policy was last ratified by School Council in… August 2017
The Victorian Curriculum
The VC comprises Towards Foundation Levels A-D for students with additional needs, and Levels F-10 for any students working in the mainstream school range. Students at Frankston SDS access the Victorian Curriculum in the areas of English, Maths, Science, The Arts, Health & PE and Integrated Studies (History and Geography). Classroom teaching and learning programs are differentiated and targeted to the level of every student’s individual learning readiness. Below is an explanation of what the levels mean for students as they progress through their schooling at Frankston SDS.
Beginning to explore
At level A, students need high levels of co-active support and focused attention from the teacher to help them initiate and refine their responses. Students demonstrate some awareness and recognition of familiar people and activities.
Students working at level B rely less on high levels of co-active support and more on verbal prompts and gestures to facilitate their learning. They begin to explore their world independently and engage in simple cause-and-effect activities. Students are able to focus on structured learning activities for short periods of time.
Students at this level are less dependent on co-active support and respond more consistently to prompts and simple clear instructions from the teacher. They are displaying the first signs of independence and becoming more peer-focused. Students participate in structured learning activities with others and they begin to use pictures, photos and objects to communicate personal interests and experiences.
With teacher support, students participate cooperatively in group learning activities. They express their feelings, needs and choices in increasingly appropriate ways and combine and sequence key words and images to communicate personal interests and to recount significant experiences. They display emerging understanding of social rules and expectations and are beginning to reflect on their own behaviour.
Building the Foundations
With teacher support, students engage with a highly-structured teaching and learning program with increasing independence. At Frankston SDS, curriculum learning areas are taught with the focus on the skills needed to build capacity to function as independently as possible in the community.
For students who can access the curriculum content beyond level F-2, the focus is on building on the foundations to access the community more broadly, with additional opportunities for independence, critical thinking and decision-making.
Exploring Pathways 16+
In their final years of schooling students begin to focus on areas of specialisation related to the skills needed for their intended pathways beyond school. At Frankston SDS the senior students engage with the Pathways program, specifically designed to assist students and families with the transition to post-school placement: functional literacy; functional numeracy; independence in travel, daily living skills, recreation/leisure and work skills
The Victorian Curriculum
Scope of the FSDS Curriculum Individual Learning Plans (ILP): Every student has an ILP, with goals in the areas of Communication, Social Competencies and Independence. These goals are developed in conjunction with parents/carers at the end of term 2 and taught across all areas of the daily teaching and learning program.
The communication program aims to enable students to communicate their needs and to participate in appropriate social communication with friends, family members and the local community. It is based on the VC English Curriculum and includes both non-verbal and verbal communication modes.
The social competencies program aims to develop students’ interpersonal skills, enabling them to build social relationships and empathy for others, manage conflict, work as a team-member and understand the conventions of social behaviour. It includes the Frankston SDS School-Wide Positive Behaviour program, based on the Personal and Social Capability of the VC.
The independence program aims to develop students’ personal skills, enabling them to care for themselves. It includes aspects of daily living such as health, personal hygiene, dressing, food preparation and eating as well as safety and independence in the community. It incorporates the award-winning Frankston SDS I Can Be Safe program and the VC Health Program
The Victorian Curriculum: The VC is a developmental continuum of knowledge and skills that are required by all students for life-long learning, social development and active and informed citizenship. It is the foundation of the school’s teaching and learning programs.
The study of English is central to the learning and development of students. Through English, students learn to listen, read, view, speak, write, create and reflect. They can express their emotions and opinions, form ideas, convey information and socialise with others.
The Mathematics Program aims to develop functional, useful mathematical skills for daily life and work. It is organised into three strands: Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry and Statistics and Probability.
The science program aims to develop students’ curiosity and understanding about the world in which they live. It encourages students to ask questions, explore answers, solve problems and look at the evidence to draw conclusions. Students undertake science investigations through class activities, excursions and incursions.
Integrated studies are based on the History and Geography domains of the VC. Students develop an understanding of the world around them and their place in it. They have the opportunity to learn about their environment through opportunities such as camp and community access visits
Health & PE
Health & Physical Education supports students to participate in, and understand the importance of exercise, healthy eating and the social benefits of working and playing alongside others. Healthy activity enhances students’ physical and mental well-being and provides opportunities to participate in lifelong leisure skills, build relationships with others and become part of a team
The Visual Arts program enables students to develop their creative and expressive capacities. Through engaging in the Visual Arts, students are challenged to communicate with and appreciate the creations of others, and to develop their own art skills and knowledge.
The Performing Arts program is taught at classroom, department and whole-school level, through drama and music and dance activities at assemblies, the annual SDS Music Festival and the triennial FSDS School Concert.
The I Can Be Safe program aims to develop students’ ability to keep themselves safe by explicitly teaching behaviours that develop their independence in personal care, their understanding of emotions and the knowledge of what is acceptable and not acceptable in their interactions with others.
ICT is incorporated into the curriculum to reinforce and practise concepts learned in the daily teaching and learning program. It is an essential vehicle for developing skills across all curriculum areas.
Assessment and Reporting
Assessment and Reporting identifies how well a student has learnt specified content and explains to the student, parent/carer and teacher where a student is on a learning continuum at the end of a specified period of learning. FSDS reports twice yearly, as mandated by the Victorian Government.
The purposes of assessment:
- to ascertain each student’s strengths, weaknesses, knowledge, and skills prior to implementing a learning program (diagnostic)
- to identify progress and adjust teaching (formative)
- to make judgments about student achievement in order to make decisions about future learning and report to parents/carers (summative)
Assessments at FSDS are evidence-based and include:
- Abilities Based Learning and Education Support (ABLES) is a formal online assessment undertaken twice yearly. It assists teachers in placing students on the developmental continuum of learning, assessing and reporting student learning, monitoring student progress and providing accurate intervention advice.
- FSDS Checklists are based on the Achievement Criteria of the Victorian Curriculum. They support teachers to make judgements about a student’s place on the developmental continuum and the level of support needed to meet those criteria. Use of these checklists is ongoing.
- Formal and anecdotal observations of students are used to assess students’ level of engagement, the level of prompting required to complete tasks, the accuracy of their responses and whether a skill has been generalised to other settings/situations. Teachers use videos, photographs and visual observations. They are assisted by teacher assistants to support the accuracy of their assessments.
Other forms of assessment include:
- Formal assessments: English and Maths online (Victorian Department of Education and Training), Hear Builder, Razz Kids
- Work Samples
- Self-created checklists
Reporting to parents/carers
The purposes of reporting:
- to identify the areas of strength and areas for improvement for each student
- to identify where and what kinds of interventions are necessary to support student learning
- to provide each student and parent/carer with access to accurate information about the student’s performance
- to plan for future learning
The current reporting requirements are based on the Education Funding Agreement with the Commonwealth government and require that schools report student achievement to parents/carers twice a year using a five-point scale or equivalent. FSDS reports are sent home at the end of terms 2 and 4.
Progress along the developmental continuum of the VC is reported, as mandated by the Department of Education and Training (see Appendix 1):
Your student is currently working within the following Victorian Curriculum Level:
English Speaking and Listening: x
Reading and Viewing: x
Each student is assessed using a five point scale. This details how students are working within their Victorian curriculum level.
Therapists are required to write reports for a variety of purposes:
- Where a student has participated in a class therapy program
- Where a therapist is required to write a report for funding/support purposes eg, Program for Students with a Disability, attendance at a school camp or program, purchasing specialised therapy equipment (as required)
All reports are saved on the school’s Sentral data base and in each student’s individual file.