At St Margaret Mary's Primary, we devote significant time to building relationships and supporting others.
Our students are encouraged to be welcoming and invitational, while respect and dignity are the basis of all our interactions. The strong sense of community promotes a sense of belonging and identity for parents, teachers and especially the children. We work to create an environment of genuine care and concern for one another.
We offer a number of support programs to assist students.
English as a Second Language (ESL)
The St Margaret Mary's school community is very culturally diverse. Therefore, we have a number of students whose first or 'home' language is not English.
At St Margaret Mary's we believe it is important to cater for the learning needs of all students. As a result, we have two ESL teachers who work to support the learning of those students who are learning English as a second language.
The ESL teachers work collaboratively with the classroom teachers in order to develop programs and learning experiences that will help our ESL students develop their language skills. The ESL teachers take small groups of language learners and work with them in their own classrooms so they are not isolated from the rest of their peers or from a familiar environment.
Some strategies we use to cater for the needs of our ESL students are:
- modifying/simplifying classroom programs and learning experiences to suit the level that the students are working within
- providing the students with numerous opportunities to practise using their oral language skills
- supporting the students with reading and writing by modelling different literacy skills and guiding the students when practising these skills independently
- using picture cues to help develop understanding
- fostering a safe and secure learning environment for all students.
At St Margaret Mary's Primary School, we firmly believe that every student has a right to an education irrespective of a disability of any form, and can participate in the school environment if provided access to the best available resources and support. The Special Education department at the school, therefore, implements appropriate programs to support the specific learning, physical, social and emotional needs of students.
If the class teacher or parents are concerned about a student's learning progress, the following procedures are followed:
- The student is referred to the Special Education department of the school.
- The Special Education teachers administer standardised literacy and numeracy tests to assess the student's literacy and numeric abilities, when compared with the scores of other similar aged students who have done the same test.
- These results are then presented and explained to the parents and class teacher.
- A joint decision is made regarding referral for further testing to be administered by the School’s Guidance Officer who is a registered educational psychologist at the Catholic Education Office. Parents need to give their written consent for such assessments to be carried out.
- After the assessment is administered, the results of the assessment are explained to the parents and the school.
- An Individual Education Planning (IEP) meeting is then organised by the school so that the student, parents, class teacher, Special Education teacher and other external agencies working with the student, can collaboratively make decisions regarding the support and facilities needed to support the student's specific needs.
- This IEP is then implemented with periodic review meetings, to monitor the student’s progress. A copy of the IEP is given to all those dealing with the student.