Introducing Learning Plus

Learning Plus delivering more than simply a change of name

These are exciting times for the Education Support Department at St Catherine’s. From the commencement of 2017, the Junior School and Senior School have been delivering Education Support under a new banner – that of Learning Plus – which aligns the Junior and Senior Schools in these areas.

The Learning Plus Department will still provide an exceptional program of support for students with particular learning needs, but it will also do much more. One of the innovative aspects of the new Department is its capacity to provide not only research-based programs for students, but will also for teachers, who are working in Professional Learning Teams (very much based upon the work of Professor Patrick Griffin), to consult on differentiating the curriculum for every student. By applying evidence-based research, as the basis for professional conversations, to design curriculum for students with learning challenges and students who require extension we are very much taking on the proven recommendations of leading educationalists including John Hattie. This is an exciting journey that will lead us into the science of teaching and a journey that will encompass the following three years.

Under the new banner, the Learning Plus Department remains very committed to evidence-based programs for students who experience learning challenges and we will continue to provide expertise in supportive, small group settings. Education Support teachers will also continue to provide explicit teaching for spelling, writing and grammar, working closely with subject teachers and external expert providers such as Speech and Language Therapists and Psychologists.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of our three year Strategic Plan lies in the knowledge that the Learning Plus Department will also provide outstanding opportunities for students who require extension, involving ‘beyond the classroom’ activities. Both Education Support and Extension, and for that matter differentiation, are hallmarks of the Learning Plus Department but equally so they are hallmarks of a great education. We take our commitment to Inclusive Education very seriously and this new Department actions this – we are very confident that this heralds step up in support learning no matter where your daughter is. I think you’ll agree, this is ‘not simply a change of name’!

We recognise that the benefits of the transformation from Education Support to Learning Plus will provide enhanced opportunities for students to achieve their potential by catering for their individual differences and learning needs.

Elka Gaensler, Head of  Education Support and Extension