Case Study 3: Clifford Park Special School Clifford Park Special School has a current enrolment of 86 students attending the school. All of the students are of high-school age. Every student has an intellectual impairment. They may also have other disabilities such as Autistic Spectrum Disorder, visual impairment, hearing impairment, or physical impairment. Many of the students also have a medical diagnosis including mental illness. Curriculum focus is on engaging students in meaningful learning activities using pedagogy consistent with best practice for young people with disabilities. Clifford Park Special School participated in the 2007-08 QSDES Case Study Schools Project in order to further its Human Relationships Education (HRE) Program which had been formulated a number of years ago. Teachers were implementing some HRE concepts through our Girl’s Talk/Boy’s Talk sessions, however there was no consistency from year to year and no real accountability of what health and wellbeing concepts were being taught. Enhancement of the Human Relationships program meant the provision of better resources, the writing and implementation of new unit outlines, and the development of a three year plan. In essence a ‘new’ Human Relationships program meant that: new assessment tasks were set; now teachers know what they need to teach; teaching and learning is progressive; the new three year plan stages learning in each HRE area; unit outlines state resources available and suggested learning activities; and the ‘new’ HRE program is holistic; all areas of health and wellbeing pertaining to the school community have been included in the program. This includes the addition of Drug Education and mental health issues. The Clifford Park Special School vision talks about teaching students the skills they need for post school life. There is a strong focus on supporting parents and building bridges with support agencies. The community forum was a means of gathering information around the young people within the school community. The forum was the initial gathering of information that would lead to actions being written, the implementation of the actions and a change in some prominent issues around the health and wellbeing of the community. As part of the 2007-08 QSDES Case Study Schools Project, Clifford Park Special School established that the funding provided through the Drug Education Strategy was to be used in two main ways: The first was to enhance current Human Relationships Programs within the school to promote better health and wellbeing for young people with disabilities, and secondly to organize a community forum so as to gather prominent issues in our community concerning young people with disabilities in an effort to increase protective factors. Resources utilised in the design and implementation of the action plan included; release time for teachers from classroom duties to assist with the design of tasks; purchase of materials required to fulfil project goals; and organising and running the community forum; To implement the strategies the following steps were used: • Human Relationships Education Program Teachers, Head of Curriculum and the Deputy Principal came together and wrote new assessment tasks and unit outlines. Teachers were released for a number of full days so that discussion around particular areas of health and wellbeing, particularly Drug Education, was enhanced. At the beginning of 2008, the first round of assessment tasks were released to all teachers. All Girl’s Talk/Boy’s talk sessions started using new unit outlines. • Community Forum The Deputy Principal, the school nurse and the Head of Curriculum worked closely together in the organisation of the initial community forum and then the subsequent outcomes. This included: • writing a brochure outlining our intentions for the community forums; • inviting particular people from community groups such as service providers, Disability Services Queensland, a member from the University of Southern Queensland, Education Queensland guidance officers, and others; • inviting parents and teachers from our own school community as well as from other schools; • organising childcare and catering; and • formulating the agenda of the forum. This small group has met regularly since and lead the direction of future community meetings. The results of the program indicate that the outcomes of the initial community forum were primarily about equity and access for young people with disabilities. People in the community including parents, educational personnel and service providers were passionate about changing the status quo regarding the perception of disability, developing better transitioning programs to post school providers, offering parents more respite and after school options and implementing proactive and protective. rd Another community forum was organised for February 23 2008. Again the forum was well attended. The intent of the second forum was to further discuss issues raised from the initial forum and begin action planning to address these issues in relation to Drug Education. Actions were developed and tasks were handed out. The group is committed to following through on actions and making a difference within our community. Our third st forum will be held on March 31 2008. Equity and access issues highlighted around respite were: • Parents and carers of young people with disabilities have limited choices associated with work and family, i.e., young people need constant supervision and someone must be at home after school finishes. • Young people with disabilities cannot easily access mainstream after school care facilities. • There are limited vacation care options available for students with disabilities. • There are a lack of activities for young people with disabilities after school that can be easily accessed. - Lack of funding through Disabilities Services Queensland to support family respite. - Packages and respite options are not flexible enough to meet the needs of families. - Extra support is required for young people with severe behavioural and physical needs to access any activities. Currently Afternoon Art Activities have been instigated for term 2. A Taskforce has also been set to investigate after school care and vacation care. The Human Relationship Education Program has been nearly completed. 2008 marked the beginning of its implementation. Assessment tasks and unit outlines have been implemented and new resources supporting the implementation of the program have been purchased. As a result of participating in the 2007-08 QSDES Case Study Schools Project, Clifford Park Special School will maintain regular community meetings. Actions will continue to be implemented and the community is committed to implementing change around Drug Education, resilience and the overall health and wellbeing of all students. They will also continue to be implemented through our Girl’s Talk/boy’s Talk sessions. Review of the material and teaching process will be ongoing.
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