Welcome to East Gippsland Specialist School!
I know you will find our school an engaging and dynamic educational setting for children with an intellectual disability. East Gippsland Specialist School was opened in 2004 with an enrolment of only 8 students. Over the past 11 years the school as grown to over 100 students and over 45 staff who provide an individualised and highly structured program for students from Prep to Year 12.
We pride ourselves on the ability to provide a comprehensive educational program which meets both the academic and social/emotional needs of each student. In 2015, we implemented the new School Expectation Matrix as part of the Positive Behavioural Support Program which focuses on the school values of Being Safe, Being Respectful and Being a Learner. This program is embedded into all aspects of the curriculum and it has been a wonderful framework for developing positive personal skills as well as the leadership capacity of our students.
We are located in the regional city of Bairnsdale roughly 3 ½ hours from Melbourne; however, with a large Designated Transport Zone, we have students travelling from as far as Lakes Entrance and Orbost to access our rich programs. The staff are made up of highly skilled and qualified teachers, speech therapists, an occupational therapist, psychologist, administrative staff and a range of educational support staff working in the classrooms. We are also fortunate to receive the support of a regional Koorie Education Support Officer who works closely with our Indigenous families and students.
Students are taught in small classes with the support of teacher assistants and Allied Health staff to provide a holistic and collaborative educational delivery. The year 2016 was a very busy year as we began our new Strategic Plan to enhance our offerings and improve student outcomes. During this time, we became the first school in Australia to implement the Star and Links curriculum program which is based on Applied Behavioural Analysis teaching approaches. The highly engaging and structured program has already seen excellent results for our students with moderate to severe disabilities and we are continuing our training with Board Certified Behavioural Analysts to improve or practice and become a training site for other schools in the future.
Also in 2016, we implemented the Orbost Inclusive Education Program at Orbost Secondary College. This program is led by our Leading Teacher, Cindy Raybould and has been an exemplar of inclusive practice for students within a mainstream secondary school environment. As part of our work in supporting the entire East Gippsland network of schools we provide advice and training to schools in improving inclusive practices through evidence-based teaching and the Orbost program has already seen significant social and academic gains by the students who attend full time at the secondary college.
At East Gippsland Specialist School we focus on developing the whole child by providing a curriculum which enables students to become as independent as possible. Success for our students is specific to their individual need which is why each student has a comprehensive Individual Education Program (IEP). This essential document is created in consultation with the families and allows relevant and measurable goals to be developed each year. The student’s IEP focuses on functional literacy and numeracy skills as well as personal/social goals and work related skills which will set the students up for a successful transition to post-school options. Our whole school curriculum is based on the Victorian Curriculum; therefore we cover all domains such as science and humanities which is tailored to suit each child’s individual level of understanding. We also offer the VCAL program for students in years 10-12 who have the capacity to undertake a competency-based program with the aim of transitioning to further training or employment after graduating from East Gippsland Specialist School.
We are fortunate to offer students other specialist programs and extracurricular opportunities which enhance their educational outcomes and allow them to put their skills into practice. These programs include; art, woodwork, performing arts, physical education, cooking, swimming, camps, community access programs and sporting events.
At East Gippsland Specialist School, we value the opportunity to work with you** and we are committed to providing the best possible program to meet your child’s needs. School tours are available with our Assistant Principal, Barb Olsen by contacting the school Office on (03) 5152 5922; however, please feel free to contact myself or any member of the Leadership Team for information about our school.
Todd Macbeth – Principal
Barb Olsen - Assistant Principal
Julie Backhouse – Assistant Principal
Jodie Shelton – Primary Department Leader
Zoe Gillies – Middle Department Leader
Kim Ellis – Senior Department Leader