School Name: Frankston Special Developmental School (5143)
All teachers at the school meet the registration requirements of the Victorian Institute of Teaching (www.vit.vic.edu.au).
The school meets prescribed minimum standards for registration as regulated by the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) in accordance with the Education and Training Reform (ETR) Act 2006. This includes schools granted an exemption by the VRQA until 31 December 2019 from the minimum standards for student enrolment numbers and/or curriculum framework for school language program.
The school is compliant with the Child Safe Standards prescribed in Ministerial Order No. 870 – Child Safe Standards, Managing Risk of Child Abuse in School.
The 2019 Annual Report to the school community:
- has been tabled and endorsed at a meeting of the school council
- will be publicly shared with the school community.
About Our School
Frankston Special Developmental School (FSDS) is located in Karingal in the outer southern suburbs of Melbourne. The school has well equipped facilities for the students including: nineteen classrooms, a gymnasium, two multi-purpose areas, a home crafts room, art and craft room and extensive play equipment. FSDS was allocated $815,000 in the 2018 Victorian budget. This funding has been used to construct two new classrooms on the western side of the gymnasium. This project was completed at the end of 2019.
FSDS provides a specialised and challenging curriculum for 125 school aged students with moderate and severe intellectual disabilities. The school challenges students to do their best in a supportive and engaging environment.
The following values are seen as being central to the life of the school and how all members in the school community should conduct themselves: Sharing, Caring, Respect and Individuality. The school vision statement 'Learning for life' is the focus of all programs conducted at Frankston SDS.
The school’s Individualised Learning Programs (ILP) aim to develop social competencies, communication and personal independence. They are implemented and monitored by a team of dedicated staff which includes teachers, teacher assistants, four speech therapists, a social worker, two occupational therapists, a chaplain and a physiotherapist.
Measurable goals are devised and progress is monitored throughout the year in all areas to ensure improved outcomes for students.
The school also provides an Early Education Program for students aged between 3.8 and 4.8 years who exhibit significant global developmental delay. The Early Education Program operates out of the East Karingal Kindergarten. It is an inclusive program; our staff and students working together with their mainstream colleagues and peers.
The Blackwood Special Schools’ Outdoor Education Centre (BSSOEC) is a registered campus of FSDS. Blackwood OEC provides outdoor education programs to students with disabilities across the state. Two qualified outdoor education teachers are employed at the school. Blackwood is located 80 kms north west of Melbourne.
Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO)
FSDS chose Excellence in teaching and learning; Curriculum planning and assessment as its FISO objective. In 2019 professional learning sessions focussed on developing the capacity of staff to effectively incorporate the new FSDS curriculum into their practice. The FSDS curriculum, rolled out to staff in 2016, is a document we have adapted from the Victorian Curriculum to cater for the educational needs of our students.
Curriculum days and Professional Learning Community (PLC) meetings aimed to teach staff how to use the curriculum document to improve and differentiate teaching and refine assessment.
Teachers at FSDS are using the curriculum to construct detailed unit planners for each subject. The next step moving forward will be to develop a pedagogy to support our specialised curriculum and assessment framework.
We understand for this objective to be successful our teaching staff must be proficient users of ABLES and the assessment checklists located in the FSDS curriculum. They must also be able to competently develop unit planners from the FSDS curriculum and use them effectively in their practice.
Once our teachers have confidence to use the curriculum to effectively plan and assess our students we will move on to developing a whole school model of instructional practice. In 2019 we continued use the Jolly Phonics program as a whole school approach to teaching reading and writing. Teaching and learning coaches and the 'Leading literacy team' have worked hard to support our teachers to develop their skills in this area.
In 2019 the FSDS School Improvement Team (SIT) prioritised the development of targeted teaching strategies to improve the learning outcomes for all students in the areas of communication and social competencies. The SIT team sought to develop teacher’s knowledge and capacity to embed the use of consistent planning documents, to implement High Impact Teaching Strategies (HITS) and to develop instructional models in communication and social competencies.
The outcome of this work in relation to student achievement has been most encouraging. All unit planners contain essential elements (non-negotiables) that are consistent across the school. The inclusion of essential elements in unit planners has not only supported teachers with their planning, the message conveyed to our students is clear, consistent and predictable. A phonics based approach is now applied to all literacy classes at FSDS. Literacy blocks have been mandated in all classes across the school and each classroom now has a set of book boxes.
The focus of our Professional Learning Communities (PLC) at the beginning of the year was to broadly introduce the ten High Impact Teaching Strategies (HITS) to our teaching staff. After the introduction, teachers were asked to prioritise two HITS to further investigate. Structuring Lessons and Explicit Teaching were the strategies chosen. Later in the year the focus was to unpack these strategies in our PLC meetings. Examples of best practice was filmed across classrooms and presented to staff. Structuring lessons and explicit teaching were incorporated in to all unit planners.
In 2019 we have continued to use Pupil free curriculum days and Professional Learning Communities (PLC) to address these areas. Consistent approaches to teaching literacy include: documented weekly programs for literacy with a focus by term, evidence of student learning and sharing this within their departments and PLC's, communication term by term planners and classroom libraries in every room.
Considerable professional learning has been undertaken to extend each teacher’s knowledge of learning and teaching. A priority at FSDS is to increase the capacity of our staff members to become better classroom practitioners. In 2019 teachers continued to deliver customised, targeted and engaging learning programs to our students using the FSDS Victorian curriculum.
The addition of a Learning Specialist to our team has supported our two full-time Teaching and Learning Coaches (TLC) to deliver these programs. Once teachers have completed assessments and their unit planners, the task of the teaching and learning coaches and learning specialist is to work with the teachers to implement the planners into their classroom practice. In 2019 teachers used their four Professional Practice days to specifically plan for teaching and learning with guided support from our coaching team. Teachers worked in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) generally consisting of three to five teachers who taught students of similar age and ability. The purpose of these days, chaired by the teaching and learning coaches, was to collaboratively review assessment data and construct unit planners. It was in these planning days that selected students across PLCs were grouped together for certain subjects to further strengthen teacher capacity to offer a differentiated teaching and learning program. Teachers were surveyed and reported that the unit planners have improved their practice: they feel better organised, the role clarity of support staff is more explicit, resources are more accessible and there is greater collaboration in planning.
Frankston SDS continued to drive a Community of Practice in 2019 with ten other specialist schools to develop assessment tools for use with students with intellectual disabilities. Three assessment tools have now been developed based on the Diagnostic Assessment Tool for English (DATE). At present the DATE tools assess students working at the foundation level and above. The new assessment tools that we have created will assess the learning of students operating at levels A to D of the Victorian Curriculum. The three tools developed have been trialled and administered by the participating specialist schools and their feedback has been used to further refine the tools. Participating schools took part in a two day workshop in term three. These days were used to formulate a plan to begin work on the remaining six tools.
Establishing a positive, safe and stimulating environment for learning continued to be a priority at Frankston SDS in 2019. Our students learn best when they are actively engaged in their learning. The leadership team believe that when working with students with intellectual disabilities, the best teaching strategies and instructional models would be ineffective if students were not fully engaged to the best of their abilities. The DET High Impact Engagement Strategies (HIES) were introduced to staff in one of our curriculum days. The highlight of this day was the presentation of a thirty minute video which demonstrated real life examples of HIES being used in classroom practice at FSDS to engae students.
The 2019 school concert was a great example of using an engaging vehicle to deliver learning to our students. Each classroom performance had clear learning intentions for all students. All rehearsals and practice sessions were included in teacher unit planners. Students had individual and differentiated learning goals in areas such as Speaking and Listening and Reading and Viewing aligned to the roles they were performing in the concert. The final result of this is that the students achieved their learning goals for the term at the same time producing an outcome that was fun and engaging not only for them but our whole school community.
Students at Frankston SDS continue to enjoy learning in highly resourced, well maintained learning facilities. A highlight of 2019 included the refurbishment of our junior school classrooms In 2019 we continued to successfully run two middle school classes from Karingal Heights Primary School (KHPS) and our early education program out of the East Karingal Preschool (EKP). The relocation to these two venues has been a huge success. The positive feedback from families, teachers and the students themselves has been quite overwhelming. The KHPS and EKP communities have been incredibly welcoming, hospitable and generous with their resources. The result for students back at FSDS is continued smaller class sizes across the school and the flexibility to provide a more personalised learning program for our students. This situation will only be made better when we begin operating out of our two new classrooms in 2020.
School rules and behavioural expectations continue to be explicitly taught to all students across the school. They have been grouped into three categories: Respect Yourself, Respect Others and Respect the Environment. These expectations are included in the curriculum and are clearly visible across the school. Reward systems such as Dojo points and Dolphin Dollars continue to be used to effectively promote desired behaviours.
FSDS Speech Therapists have continued to provide professional learning opportunities to staff to increase their capacity to use Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices. The use of AAC devices has provided nonverbal students with a greater capacity to communicate their needs. This has allowed greater opportunity for these students to access the curriculum and participate in learning programs.
Work experience continues to be a major component of the Pathways curriculum. All of our senior students are now participating in some form of work experience. Volunteers and student placements have been utilised to enable this labour-intensive program to operate. In 2019 the Coffee Club was a highlight of this program. A significant number of our senior students have completed Barista courses and make coffee for our staff two mornings a week. The proceeds from this program was used to subsidise the senior camp to Queensland held towards the end of the year.
Wellbeing continues to be a focus for the FSDS school community. We believe that if our students can become more independent in all aspects of their life they will enjoy a better quality of life.
The appointment of an Occupational Therapist and a Speech Therapist working each day in our Early Education Program was seen as a priority to appropriately prepare our students for the challenges they would face at school. The outcome of these appointments meant that Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices were introduced earlier to students as well as important programs to promote independent living skills such as toileting routine and protocols around eating.
In 2019 professional learning was targeted at improving learning programs for social competencies. This began with an audit of current programs being taught across the school, conducted by the school leadership team. The audit investigated programs currently being used, what they offered our students and how they addressed key aspects of the FSDS social competencies curriculum (Victorian Curriculum Personal and Social Capabilities). A pupil -free curriculum day was then held at the end of term three to introduce non-negotiables (essential elements) required when teaching social development at FSDS. Examples of this included reward charts, quiet corners, fiddle toys, wobble cushions and weighted items. Videos were made of teachers using these strategies to maximise learning in their classrooms.
AAC devices have empowered students with limited communication to have a voice. Three Speech pathologists have been employed across the school to enable opportunities for students to access AAC devices and to provide teaching staff with the appropriate training required to support these students.
Participation in Interschool sporting programs continues to be another means of building happy, healthy and resilient children. All senior school students at FSDS in 2019 were offered the opportunity to participate in sporting competitions against other specialist schools. A range of sports were offered to the students with the focus being on participation not winning. A highlight for many FSDS middle school students was the opportunity to participate in the Friday morning basketball league. This offered another opportunity for students to mix socially and actively with students from other specialist schools.
At Frankston SDS all middle and senior school students are offered the opportunity to attend a school camp. This area of our school program aligns perfectly to our core priorities of developing communication, independence and social competencies. A highlight for our graduating students of 2019 was their school camp to the Gold Coast. Mountain bike riding expeditions and outdoor learning experiences at Blackwood and Garfield North Outdoor Education Centres were other camps enjoyed by our students.
The school welfare team, which includes principal class officers, speech therapists, occupational therapists and welfare officers meet weekly to discuss and review student behaviour, in particular their positive behaviour plans. The welfare team offer support in the form of recommending new therapy-based strategies to assist in mimising behaviours of concern and maximising engagement in learning.
The continued production of Me-TV, a television show written, directed and starring FSDS students has been used to teach and reinforce independence skills. Me-TV is broadcasted across the school weekly on a Friday morning. Staff members report that students eagerly watch each show and are retaining information on important issues.
In 2019 the Blackwood Special Schools Outdoor Education Centre, a registered campus of FSDS, continued to provide engaging and meaningful outdoor education programs for students with disabilities across Victoria. We were buoyed mid-year to receive news that Frankston would be given an additional $447,000 over eighteen months to support operations at Blackwood. This funding was used immediately to appoint staff at Blackwood. The appointment of a part time Assistant Principal and facilities manager, three full time educational support officers and a full time outdoor education teacher will provide greater opportunities state-wide for students with disabilities to participate in outdoor learning and a more sustainable governance structure for Frankston SDS.
Financial performance and position
Financial performance and position commentary
At the 31/12/2019, the total funds Available $530,732 include as follows:-
Frankston Special Developmental School (SDS) $252,347
Blackwood Outdoor Education Centre $238,462 (campus of Frankston SDS)
Peninsula Principal's Conference $39,923
Frankston SDS (Frankston Campus) has a bank balance at the end of 2019 of $252,347. This represents 4% of the total Student Resource Package. This money will be targeted for educational programs in 2020 and to cover any unforeseen expenses that may occur.
In 2019 Frankston SDS accepted resonsibility as the banker school for 2020 Peninsula Principal's Conference. At the end of 2019 we holding funds totalling $39.923 for the conference. This money will be used to fund the conference scheduled to be held in March 2020. $238,462 is money used to operate the Blackwood Outdoor Education Centre. This money is not available for business transactions on the Frankston campus.
The Blackwood Campus continues to operate underfunded. It is reliant on locally raised funds to continue. A review on Blackwood by the department of education and Training was conducted in 2019 and we were fortunate to receive a one off payment of $149,000. We are hopeful the final outcome of this review will lead to better funding for Blackwood and it will be able to deliver outdoor education programs to students with disabilities long into the future without the constant financial hardship it is accustomed to.