STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS
The rationale, aim, objectives, outcomes and content of the NSW Syllabus documents have been designed to accommodate teaching approaches that support the learning needs of all students. In the NSW K-10 Syllabus documents, the stage statements and the continuum of learning can help teachers identify the starting point for instruction for every student, including those with special education needs.
Collaborative curriculum planning will determine the most appropriate curriculum options for students with special education needs in keeping with their learning needs, strengths, goals and interests.
Most students with special education needs will participate fully in learning experiences based on the regular syllabus outcomes and content. Students may require additional support or adjustments to teaching, learning and assessment activities
Adjustments are measures or actions taken in relation to teaching, learning and assessment that enable a student to access syllabus outcomes and content. These adjustments may involve:
- classroom organisation
- appropriate materials and resources to support teaching and learning activities
- the amount of content to be covered in a lesson or unit or the time allocated to complete work
- consideration of students' individual communication strategies, including verbal and non-verbal communication systems
- additional demonstration of key concepts and skills by the teacher, the teacher's aide or a peer
- a range of appropriate learning activities with structured opportunities for guided and independent practice and effective feedback
- group work, peer or volunteer tutoring, and other individual assistance.
KINDERGARTEN – YEAR 6
In Kindergarten to Year 6, it is important for all students to have the opportunity to participate fully in and progress through the curriculum. As they move through the developmental stages of learning, students demonstrate individual strengths and establish preferred ways of learning.
There are several curriculum options for students with special education needs in K–6. Students may:
- engage with selected outcomes and content appropriate to their learning needs
- engage with syllabus outcomes and content with adjustments
- engage with outcomes from an earlier stage, using age-appropriate content.
All decisions regarding curriculum options for students with special education needs should be made through the collaborative curriculum planning process to ensure that syllabus outcomes and content reflect the learning needs and priorities of individual students.
In addition, the NSW K–6 curriculum provides for students with special education needs through:
inclusive syllabus outcomes and content accessible by the full range of students
- additional advice and programming support for teachers on how to assist students to access the outcomes of the syllabus
- specific support documents for students with special education needs as part of the overall syllabus package.
GIFTED AND TALENTED STUDENTS
Gifted students have specific learning needs that may require adjustments to the pace, level and content of the curriculum. Differentiated educational opportunities will assist in meeting the needs of gifted students.
Generally, gifted students demonstrate the following characteristics:
- the capacity to learn at faster rates
- the capacity to find and solve problems
- the capacity to make connections and manipulate abstract ideas.
There are different kinds and levels of giftedness. Gifted and talented students may also possess learning disabilities that should be addressed when planning appropriate teaching, learning and assessment activities.
Curriculum strategies for gifted and talented students may include:
- differentiation: modifying the pace, level and content of teaching, learning and assessment activities
- acceleration: promoting a student to a level of study beyond their age group
- curriculum compacting: assessing a student's current level of learning and addressing aspects of the curriculum that have not yet been mastered.
School decisions about appropriate strategies are generally collaborative and involve teachers, parents and students with reference to documents and advice available from the Board of Studies and education sectors.
Gifted and talented students may also benefit from individual planning to determine the curriculum options, as well as teaching, learning and assessment strategies, most suited to their needs and abilities.
Students learning English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D)
Many students in Australian schools are learning English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D).* EAL/D learners are students whose first language is a language other than Standard Australian English and who require additional support to assist them in developing English language proficiency.
EAL/D students come from diverse backgrounds and may include:
- overseas and Australian-born children whose first language is a language other than English
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students whose first language is an indigenous language, including traditional languages
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students whose first language is Aboriginal English, including creoles and related varieties.
EAL/D learners enter Australian schools at different ages and stages of schooling and at different stages of English language learning. They have diverse talents and capabilities and a range of prior learning experiences and levels of literacy in their first language and in English. EAL/D students represent a significant and growing percentage of learners in NSW schools. For some, school is the only place they use English.
EAL/D learners are simultaneously learning a new language and the knowledge, skills and understanding of the Mathematics syllabus through that new language. They require additional time and support, along with informed teaching that explicitly addresses their language needs, and assessments that take into account their developing language proficiency.
* EAL/D is the term adopted by all Australian schools as part of the national education reform agenda of developing a K–12 Australian curriculum. The term English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D) may be used interchangeably with the following terms: English as a second language (ESL), English language learners (ELL), English as an additional language (EAL) and English as an additional dialect (EAD).