Diverse Learners & Inclusion

Catholic schools are committed to fostering cultures of inclusion that respond to the educational needs of students regardless of their abilities, backgrounds and aspirations. This commitment to inclusive practices is supportive of both Church teaching and legislative requirements.

Under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act (1992), the Disability Standards for Education (2005) seek to ensure that education is made accessible to students with disabilities. Specifically, the Standards address enrolment, participation, curriculum, student services and the elimination of harassment and victimisation.

Enrolment of students with diverse learning needs is facilitated through the Enrolment Application and Support Procedures for Students requiring Significant Educational Adjustments. This process encourages all participants in the education process (parents, students, teachers, school leadership, student services representatives) to share as partners, the responsibility for successful outcomes for all students. The process seeks to reveal and clarify the characteristics of the learner and to assess the adjustments for accessing learning and the implications of these for the school, the family and the student.

St Joseph’s School community has access to Cairns Catholic Education’s advisory teachers, speech language pathologists, psychologists, occupational therapists, learning support teachers, student counsellors and Indigenous education officers, and can also collaborate with a range of external agencies to enhance support of the individual needs of students.

Supported Enrolment

A Supported Enrolment is necessary when a parent identifies at enrolment that their child may require additional support in the educational environment. This could include a child with a disability, medical diagnosis, a history of difficulty with learning, concerns with speech, hearing or vision.

This applies to enrolment into any year level throughout the school year.

During the Supported Enrolment Process the parents and school team meet to discuss the needs of the student and identify the educational adjustments required for him/her. An adjustment is any change made to help a student participate fully at school, to learn, be comfortable and safe.

A Supported Enrolment is a way of ensuring the school and family share information about the student to enable the best start for their learning journey.

A Memorandum of Agreement exists between Queensland Department of Education and Training (DET); the Queensland Catholic Education Commission and the Association of Independent Schools of QLD to represent the shared understanding in relation to dual enrolment and special education services. A dual enrolment may occur when a student is enrolled in a Cairns Catholic Education school and concurrently in a DET setting. Where applicable, dual enrolments are facilitated through the Principal and Student Services Team at Catholic Education.

Transition Support

Transition support occurs when a student moves from or into a new educational setting including:

  • Into Prep
  • From one year level to another
  • From primary to secondary school, or
  • To prepare for the most appropriate career pathway throughout life.

Parents are encouraged to take time to visit educational settings when considering enrolment for a student with a disability. Transition meetings between settings assist in identifying the support and personnel required to make the transition as successful as possible. The transition meeting also allows student needs to be discussed so that a plan can be developed to make the move as seamless as possible.