Literacy and numeracy programming within a special school using the Northern Territory Curriculum Framework
Henbury School is a special school in the Northern Territory, catering to secondary aged students with intellectual disabilities. The school is currently looking at a whole-school literacy and numeracy plan within the newly implemented Northern Territory Curriculum Framework (NTCF). As part of this process, the school is reassessing the type and range of skills taught.
The outcomes of students enrolled at the school fall broadly within Key Growth Points 1, 2, and 3 that precede Band 1, and continue up to Band level 2. The school meets the specific learning needs of the students by providing learning activities relevant to their individual and cultural backgrounds. Learning experiences are provided across as wide a range of settings as possible, as poor generalisation skills are apparent in students with intellectual disability.
The Literacy and Numeracy plan
The school has a Literacy and Numeracy plan embedded in the overall school organisational structure. The plan is viewed as part of, not separate to, school practice on a day-to-day basis. In order to assist with this process, the structure has been organised into the three inter-related areas of assessment, programming and resources.
Henbury School also has a range of shared common understandings and statements related to its status as a special school within the new curriculum framework. The school's Common Shared Understandings and Statements for literacy and numeracy are based on the following concepts:
The Essential Learnings components of the framework, adopted while still under development, already assist with enhancing the whole-school approach to the development of appropriate learning pathway, transition and exit plans. By adapting the framework, Henbury has been able to have better shared understandings with schools that may later take its students. Under the new Northern Territory Certificate of Education (NTCE), Henbury's senior students are accessing programs at a local senior secondary college campus.
The School provides both parents and students with a 'plain English' version of their Individual Education Priorities that explains what they are doing. The school also provides a plan of where the students are going in school. The plans, however, are active documents and must reflect the process as well as the practice of the school, and as such must be reviewed and changed regularly. The school is currently in a process of review and analysis of its programs and procedures, looking at the three areas of Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment and Review. The whole school community is examining current practices and developing collegiate outcomes for quality future practice. These three areas are expressed in ongoing work around:
Special schools are accountable to the same administrative dictates as any school, and as such should regularly audit their practice and ensure they are undertaking their core business, which is providing quality, relevant educational programs, especially within the current climate of wider community expectations of what is perceived as being school business.
Henbury School has been able to show that, within the Northern Territory's new Curriculum Framework, it is possible to express what is being done in special education, and how it is being achieved, in terms that are understandable to educators irrespective of their location.
Subject HeadingsCurriculum planning