The Learning and Support Team (LST) consists of a diverse range of expertise, this includes: the Head Teacher-Teaching and Learning, Head Teacher-Welfare, Learning and Support Teachers, English as Another Language or Dialect Teachers, Transition Teacher, School Counsellor, Student Learning Support Officers, Careers Advisor, Teacher Librarian and Key Learning Area Specific - Support Teachers.
The LST meet on a weekly basis to discuss the focus areas in which additional support is required for identified students. A range of support measures are considered, and after consultation with key stakeholders, the most appropriate modes of intervention are mapped and implemented. Regular evaluations of the learning strategies take place to ensure that all educational needs are being catered to. This includes conducting review meetings to discuss student progress in achieving outcomes and providing access to a broader range of curriculum learning experiences, specialist teaching staff and agency/community services.
To ensure learner diversity needs are addressed LST members undertake a broad range of DET and external professional training activities to develop the means to recognise and respond to various student learning abilities. These include participation in quarterly network meetings and completion of on-line training modules relevant to the Every School Every Student and PLASST initiatives. As a result LST members are better equipped to make all necessary adjustments that could reasonably be made in the organisation of lessons or staff; or in the teaching or support provided to students, or support to teachers. This is supplemented by the development of the Learning and Support Scope and Sequence that maps and reviews individualised learning ensuring identified interventions are regularly monitored and adjustments made as required. Thus, the LST has the expertise to accurately examine individual student's progress towards the goals identified in Individual Learning Plans and assess and amend the appropriateness of the outcomes students are expected to achieve.
As part of the process of tailoring the learning of students with identified needs, the LST also consults the students themselves, their parents or carers, and health professionals where relevant, ensuring their recommendations are implemented wherever possible and evaluated. For students with diagnosed mild to severe disabilities, one-on-one in-class and extra-curricular activity support is provided, including small withdrawal focus groups, ensuring increased participation for students of varied abilities.
To ensure highly engaged learning opportunities for targeted students the LST works in collaboration with mainstream teachers to develop/modify programs, assessments, and teaching resources. This includes close analysis of NAPLAN data to develop more explicit numeracy and literacy demands. This collaborative approach towards planning of team teaching and development of tailored resources and strategies allows for all relevant data to be comprehensively explored and adequate strategies that cater to students' abilities, personal histories and educational circumstances are developed.
The LST is also focused on assisting mainstream teachers in differentiating the regular curriculum, targeting gifted and talented learners, reviewing interventions that impact the transitional stages of the student learner from beginner to skilled, and extending the knowledge and thinking capacity of those identified as having a talent in a specific key learning area. The LST has been involved in working with their mainstream colleagues to build their capacity about how to differentiate teaching and learning. This collaborative approach has also been effective in evaluating assessment tasks and their respective criteria to ensure that every kind of learner is being challenged. Other differentiation strategies have ranged from modification of classroom-based-teaching with planned team teaching practices that target the broader scope of learner, to the focused small group interventions and more intensive one-on-one teaching of higher order skills.
Finally, the LST regularly evaluates its practice. This involves engaging students, parents and teachers in professional dialogue about the current performance of the Support interactions and interventions. Such reflective action helps identify initiatives that improve student performance and provides the faculty with advice on its future direction.