Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Lismore embrace the growth of all students as lifelong learners who are actively engaged with passionate curiosity and wonder of this world. Each child is unique and learns in a variety of ways and at different rates. As a system of schools, our commitment is to respect and honour the diversity of each individual as a fundamental principle of learning and teaching. The principles are set within the context of the diocese’s mission to enable all students to achieve the ‘fullness of life’ (John 10:10).   (Diocese of Lismore Catholic Schools Limited, DLCSL, 2022)

High Potential Learners

030_copy.jpgThe Guiding Principles for high potential, gifted, and highly gifted learners for the Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Lismore promote excellence and equity. It discusses advanced opportunities and curriculum options that allow students the chance to engage with materials and tasks that are designed to be interesting and integrated. We acknowledge these learners have particular learning needs which require adjustments to their educational program to ensure that they remain highly engaged and active learners. (DLCSL, 2022)

At St James, we provide opportunities for students to excel, including yet not limited to, the following:

  • Differentiated and accelerated curriculum.
  • Competitions both nationally and globally.
  • Extension opportunities in Mathematics.
  • Engagement and enrichment opportunities in Mathematics and English with St Joseph’s College.

Students with Additional Needs

Meeting the needs of all students is the responsibility of the whole school community. In some cases, children with unique learning needs may require additional support. 

Students with disabilities may be enrolled at St James Primary and may receive assistance through a range of options including:

  • Access to our school-based Inclusion Teacher.
  • Access to our Learning Support Teacher.
  • Access to the Catholic Schools Office Inclusion Officer.

At St James, we proactively model, support, and build a culture of diversity and inclusion through a strengths-based approach to education. We actively seek to understand and include student voice and to celebrate diversity. Depending on their needs and abilities, some students may work on the Australian Curriculum in NSW with nil or minor adjustments, or some students may require substantive adjustments and a modified curriculum. 

Regardless of ability or disability, every student enrols at St James Primary in accordance with the school’s enrolment policy and process aligned with diocesan guidelines.

Parents complete an application to enrol form at St James Primary and are requested to provide:

  • Documentation verifying the student’s additional needs/disability.
  • Support material from other agencies.
  • Current specialised program (if applicable).
  • Reports from allied health professionals if engaged in therapy.

Acceptance of enrolment is subject to standard school enrolment criteria.

The Process

After an application for enrolment has been made, the principal will invite the parents/legal guardian for an interview to discuss more fully the needs of the child and the educational provisions available at the school.

Discussion with the parents and the Catholic Schools Inclusion Officer will occur wherever possible. If a place is available, parents will be contacted, and placement will be offered.

FAQ For Parents of a Student with Additional Needs

What resources are there in school to support my child?

There are many ways of supporting students with disabilities at St James Primary. If necessary, adjustments will be made through the curriculum, assessment and reporting, the classroom environment, teaching materials, transitions, behaviour, social and emotional wellbeing, and the school environment. Professional development is available for staff to support the specific needs of students with disability. A student may be included in the count for the school to receive government funds to support students, depending on their needs, in accessing the curriculum on the same basis as their peers.

How will the school be able to meet my child’s educational needs?

Your child’s educational needs will be met through the Australian Curriculum in NSW. Including a student with a disability is a whole school responsibility, not just that of the individual classroom teachers or inclusion and learning support teachers. Every student will be able to participate in all aspects of school life through the implementation of reasonable adjustments.

At St James, we respect and value the importance of consultation with parents/guardians. Relevant school staff will discuss your child’s educational needs with you and discuss any adjustments that may be needed to assist your child. A Personal Plan (PP) may be developed, and adjustments are discussed and implemented to support your child in accessing all learning on the same basis as their peers.

A child’s educational need can be met at St James by:

  • The development of Personal Plans and Transition Plans.
  • Reasonable adjustments being implemented as required in the curriculum, safety, social skills, and personal care.
  • Collaboration between agencies and allied health professionals working with the student.
  • Accessing existing support within the school.
  • Allocating resources as required, such as specialised equipment.
  • Engaging in evidence-based interventions and programs.

What help is available from external agencies?

Where appropriate, access to a therapy service to provide advice on adjustments is encouraged. Therapists may provide support to help ensure that your child receives the best access to the school curriculum.