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 2020 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 2020 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.
How to read the Annual Report
What has changed for the 2020 Annual Report?
The appearance of the Performance Summary has been updated to more clearly represent information and to assist interpretation and comparison of individual school’s data with state averages.
School performance data
The Victorian community's experience of COVID-19, including remote and flexible learning, had a significant impact on normal school operations. This impacted the conduct of assessments and surveys. Readers should be aware of this when interpreting the Performance Summary.
For example, in 2020 school-based surveys ran under changed circumstances. Absence data may have been influenced by local processes and procedures adopted in response to remote and flexible learning.
Schools should keep this in mind when using this data for planning and evaluation purposes.
What does the ‘About Our School’ section refer to?
The About Our School section provides a brief background on the school, an outline of the school’s performance over the year and future directions.
The ‘School Context’ describes the school’s vision, values and purpose. Details include the school’s geographic location, size and structure, social characteristics, enrolment characteristics and special programs.
The ‘Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO)’ section includes the improvement initiatives the school has selected and the progress they have made towards achieving them.
What does the ‘Performance Summary’ section of this report refer to?
The Performance Summary includes the following:
- School Profile
- student enrolment information
- the school’s ‘Student Family Occupation and Education’ category
- a summary of parent responses in the Parent Opinion Survey, shown against the statewide average for Specialist schools
- school staff responses in the area of School Climate in the School Staff Survey, shown against the statewide average for Specialist schools
- English and Mathematics for Teacher Judgements against the curriculum
- English and Mathematics for Teacher Judgements against the curriculum
- Student attendance and engagement at school, including:
- how many exiting students go on to further studies or full-time work
Results are displayed for the latest year and the average of the last four years (where available).
What does ‘NDP’ or ‘NDA’ mean?
‘NDP’ refers to no data being published for privacy reasons or where there are insufficient underlying data. For example, very low numbers of participants or characteristics that may lead to identification will result in an ‘NDP’ label. For the 2020 Student Attitudes to School survey, specifically, the similar school group averages are replaced by ‘NDP’ where less than 50% of schools in a given similar school group did not participate in the 2020 survey.
‘NDA’ refers to no data being available. Some schools have no data for particular measures due to low enrolments. There may be no students enrolled in some year levels, so school comparisons are not possible.
Note that new schools only have the latest year of data and no comparative data from previous years. The Department also recognises unique circumstances in Specialist, Select Entry, English Language, Community Schools and schools that changed school type recently, where school-to-school comparisons are not appropriate.
What is the ‘Towards Foundation Level Victorian Curriculum’?
The Victorian Curriculum is assessed through teacher judgements of student achievement based on classroom learning.
The ‘Towards Foundation Level Victorian Curriculum’ is integrated directly into the curriculum and is referred to as ‘Levels A to D’.
‘Levels A to D’ may be used for students with a disability or students who may have additional learning needs
‘Levels A to D’ are not associated with any set age or year level that links chronological age to cognitive progress (i.e. there is no age expected standard of achievement for ‘Levels A to D’).
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 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, three speech therapists, a social worker, 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. 3.4 qualified outdoor education teachers and 4.6 education support staff are employed at the school. Blackwood is located 80 kms north west of Melbourne.
In November FSDS was informed it would be receiving $12,663,000 in the 2020 Victorian budget. This funding will transform the school.. This project will commence at the beginning of 2021.
Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO)
In the last week of term one in Victoria in 2020 FSDS received the news that all schools in Victoria would be transitioning to remote online learning in term two. For Frankston SDS like most schools this was a huge change to our practice. We had just under three weeks to devise a strategy that would best cater for the learning needs of our students.
2020 became a year of adaptation and change. Our key focus quickly changed to delivering a remote and flexible learning program that would engage students with moderate and severe intellectual disabilities. This in its self would be a considerable challenge.
Curriculum days and Professional Learning Community (PLC) meetings now focussed on delivering classes remotely. We realised that our practice needed to change however our intention remained to address individual learning plans and whole school goals outlined in our Annual Implementation Plan.
In the last week of term it was announced by the Premier, Daniel Andrews, that all Victorian schools would transition to Remote and Flexible learning for term two 2020. This would be a huge change to all schools but particularly for a special developmental school that traditionally relied on offering students intensive interaction to support them to achieve in their learning.
The challenge for Frankston SDS would be to devise an online program that catered to the diverse needs of our students. Our objective was to design a teaching and learning program that was engaging for our students, challeenged them acedemically and covered all areas of the curriculum. Term planners had already been devised for second term, our challenge would be to deliver the content in the planners in an online format.These planners addressed all areas of the curriculum. After extensive consultation with the school community it was decided the focus of our remote and flexible learning program would remain the same as it had been when teaching face to face. The following areas were prioritised English, maths, science, history, PE, art, dance, social competencies as well as our own protective behaviours program, ‘I Can Be Safe’ which focuses on developing independence by teaching our students to do things for themselves. Teachers were assigned a curriculum area that they would plan for..
At Frankston SDS we had been successfully broadcasting our own television program ME-TV for nearly seven years. The MeTV program delivers teaching and learning programs to our students in a way that allows us to incorporate key teaching and learning strategies such as video self-modelling and the use of augmentative alternative communication. The style of delivery can be compared to Sesame Street for many of our emerging learners and Behind the News or The Curiosity Show for our middle and senior cohort. We use a highly predictable format and regular characters such as ‘ Professor Whykickamoocow’ (science) to deliver learning in all curriculum areas. Our students loved ME-TV and all the characters in it. We decided this might be an engaging vehicle to deliver our online learning program.
We also needed to consider accessibility when deciding how we might implement an online program. It did not matter how good the teaching and learning program was if our families did not have the skills to access it. Me-TV had been broadcasted to our families for years via the Flexibuzz platform. Flexibuzz was also used for online communication between families and our staff. Most of our families were competent accessing Flexibuzz. We did not feel it appropriate to be trying to introduce a new online platform to our families in this fluid and anxious environment. The decision was made to use this platform to deliver our remote learning program. The school provided each student with their own personal device to use. In the rare instances that families did not have access to the internet school provided students with a USB each week. The USB contained the previous week’s lessons.
While Flexibuzz was decided as the online platform to use when communicating with families we were not sure if this was the optimal choice to use with our staff. After consultation with our staff Microsoft Teams was chosen as the platform that would best meet our needs. Teams facilitated communication on a number of levels including: Whole School Level – Staff meeting were conducted on Teams. Up to seventy people individually logged into these sessions from remote locations. Small Group Meetings – Department Meetings and PLCs took place using Teams. Information was shared by downloading files into the folders. One to One Correspondence - Individual Conversations took place using the call function or text messages were sent using Chat. A highlight of this time was the facilitation of Professional Practice Days using the Teams platform. Staff reported these days to be most productive. Unit planners, created in all curriculum areas, were completed using this platform.
Using Teams staff worked in small groups of 2 to 3 colleagues to plan and deliver their learning area online. There were 2 versions of each curriculum area, allowing for differentiation across the school: Victorian Curriculum, Levels A – C and then D+. A weekly timetable was developed and the day’s learning was made available to the school community first thing each morning. Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) systems were embedded throughout to support learning. Additionally a hard copy pack of resources supporting each episode was sent home to families each week to support their learning. Students were expected to pause Me-TV@Home at the completion of each segment and complete the accompanying activity in their resource pack.
After our first week of ME-Tv@Home and once we were convinced our school community was using it successfully, Webex online conferences were introduced each day by classroom teachers. The focus of these conferences was to review learning from ME-Tv@Home and to promote communication. The conferences were highly structured and predictable. AAC was used to facilitate and reinforce communication where required.
During the transition to remote and flexible learning we were able to continue to deliver on some of our AIP actions relating to literacy. Work on developing modified assessment tools continued through the remote learning phase. All ME-TV@Home lessons incorporated the High Impact Engagement Strategies (HIES) we had been working on in first term. The HIES form the cornerstone for the way in which we structure lessons and explicitly teach our students. Professional learning was offered to teachers in relation to writing, reading and viewing and the online platform offered teachers an excellent opportunity to observe each other's Jolly Phonics practice.
Frankston SDS is a school catering for the educational needs of students with moderate and profound intellectual disabilities. We have a high student-staff ratio and lower class sizes to offer intensive support to our students. For this reason I believe there is no substitution for face to face learning. We were however very proud of the program that we offered our school community. Data from a survey conducted with our families revealed that they were very satisfied with our online program. On return to face to face teaching in term four a number of the new skills learned in remote learning were used to further refine our practice and to provide for students whose chronic health conditions prevented them from returning to school. Virtual whole school assemblies and staff meetings are some examples of this practice.
Student Support Group meetings were also conducted using the Webex platform. Teachers and families had used Webex for classroom conferences during remote learning and were now proficient in its use. Data taken from these meetings revealed attendance rates higher than usual.
Engaging students in their learning can often be a challenge with students with disabilities. At school a suite of different strategies are used to engage our students. These include modifying the classroom environment, sensory equipment, music, dress ups, etc. Perhaps our greatest challenge would be devising a teaching and learning program from a remote location that still managed to keep our students engaged. As previosly mentioned Frankston SDS had been broadcasting a weekly school-based television program for almost 7 years. MeTV contained characters the students were familiar with. Each episode was designed to be fast paced, colourful and musical. Seeing themselves on a screen has always been a powerful motivator for our students. An effort was made to search the archives to provide footage in each episode of every student in the school. All filming was set in the school grounds which again was a familiar and safe environment for our students..It was decided daily episodes in this format would be the best way to engage our students in remote learning.
Each week a pack of resources supporting each episode was sent home to families. Students were expected to pause ME-TV @ Home at the completion of each segment and complete the accompanying activity in their resource pack. We chose the gradual release instructional model – ‘I do, We do, You do’ to deliver this program. Two new one hour episodes were screened each day to our students each day. Additional to our ME-Tv@Home lessons, Webex online conferences were scheduled each day by classroom teachers. The focus of these conferences was to review learning from ME-Tv@Home and to promote communication. The conferences were highly structured and predictable. Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) was used to facilitate and reinforce communication where required.
Our focus was to provide a program that differentiated learning, catering for the needs of as many learners as possible. A decision was made to run two hour long episodes each day: one for students working in the curriculum levels of A – C, the other for students D+. When planning for remote learning we identified that most of our students would require support from their families to effectively complete the prescribed lessons. ME-TV@Home offered families the flexibility to learn at a time that suited them. It could be paused at any time until families were ready to resume learning.
At Frankston SDS the initial focus was on supporting families with sufficient resources for them to be able to effectively access learning from home. ME-TV had been broadcasted to our families for a number of years via the Flexibuzz platform. Most of our families were competent accessing Flexibuzz so the decision was made to use this platform to deliver our remote learning program. The school provided each student with their own personal device to use. In the rare instances that families did not have access to the internet school provided students with a USB each week. The USB contained the previous week’s lessons.
Once we were informed that we would be transitioning to remote learning the leadership team at Frankston SDS got together to discuss how we would communicate with each other. Microsoft Teams was chosen as the platform that would best meet our needs. Welfare meetings were held weekly using the Microsoft Teams Platform. At these meetings students and staff members who might require extra support were identified and strategies were devised on how this support could be delivered in an online world. Members of the Welfare team and Leadership were assigned responsibility to support vulnerable members of the school community. Regular messaging was sent out by the principal providing updates on the pandemic and its impact on our school.
We were particularly concerned about the health and well-being of our families during the lockdown period. Special episodes of ME-TV@Home were made for Parents and Carers. In these episodes families were taught strategies that they could use when they were feeling stressed or anxious. Teachers were asked to check in on families during the daily Webex conference. Vulnerable families were identified and these names were passed onto the welfare team. Each Tuesday morning of the lockdown families were invited to participate in an online ‘Coffee Group’. This was an informal catch up that used to run at school facilitated by our welfare coordinator. Families enjoyed the opportunity to come together and share their experiences of this most bizarre time in our lives. In addition to student-focused learning, a series of parent information sessions were created and delivered to families. These were created in recognition of the difficulties that families potentially face assisting their children to access learning from home.
Despite our best efforts to support families we recognised that some of our families were not coping with the responsibility of supporting their child through this transition. The challenging behaviours displayed by some of our students made it particularly difficult for families to support them with their learning. For many families school was the one safe place they felt they could leave their child while they caught up with the many other responsibilities they needed to attend to. In the case of families who were experiencing extreme stress the school made provision to supervise these students onsite a number of times each week. By the end of the second phase of remote learning the school was supporting up to 15 students per week whose families were experiencing extreme stress. We are most grateful to our committed staff who risked their own health and wellbeing to support these students and their families.
On return to face to face teaching the school continued to run the virtual ‘Coffee Group’ mornings each Tuesday with success. The numbers attending these sessions were actually higher than they were in term one.
Financial performance and position
In addition to student-focused learning, a series of parent information sessions were created and delivered to families. These were created in recognition of the difficulties that families potentially face assisting their children to access learning from home.
Financial performance and position commentary
At the 31/12/2020, the total funds Available $819,317.11 include as follows:-
Frankston Special Developmental School (SDS) $581,071.48
Blackwood Outdoor Education Centre $187,605.45 (campus of Frankston SDS)
Peninsula Principal's Conference $50,640.18
Frankston SDS (Frankston Campus) has a bank balance at the end of 2020 of $819,317. This represents 11% of the total Student Resource Package. This money will be targeted for educational programs in 2021 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. In 2020 the conference was postponed because of COVID 19, it was decided that all money would be held over to fund the 2021 conference.. At the end of 2020 we are holding funds totalling $50,640 for the conference. This money will be used to fund the conference scheduled to be held in March 2021.
$187,605 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 $298,000. 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.