High Needs Learning Setting
Open to students with a moderate intellectual disability, low adaptive functioning and high support needs.
Arrunga is a centre for learning embracing diversity and offering an inclusive education for students with high support needs.
At full capacity, the centre can cater for 30 students, and serves students from Kindergarten to Year 8. The centre will be expanded to serve students to Year 12 in future years.
Located on the grounds of St Luke's Catholic College, Arrunga offers students with high support needs an alternate platform for learning and inclusion.
The welcoming learning spaces are designed around the needs of the students and their curriculum, offering accessibility for those with physical disabilities and flexibility that allows teachers to tailor the spaces and furniture to each individual student’s learning preferences.
The focus of the setting is on empowering students and maintaining their dignity.
Everyone who works at the school recognises that these students are first and foremost, children and young people, and this is reflected in both the physical design of the space and the approach to learning. The emphasis is on the ability of each student rather than focusing on their disability. The aim of the setting is to give its students the skills and experiences they require to make positive life choices and to help each student reach their full potential and individual level of independence.
Personalised Learning Plans
Every student has a specially designed learning plan that is created in consultation with parents or carers, setting specific goals for the student and addressing any barriers or challenges they may be experiencing.
At St Luke's, we focus on the Functional Academics, or Life Skills, explicitly teaching the students about how to access and participate in their world. The daily routine of students is broken into three main sections:
- Morning - Literacy and Numeracy learning galleries
- Middle of the day - Community access and participation
- End of the school day - Reflection and preparation for the next school day.
Alternative Learning Environments and Tools
Students of St Luke's have access to a wide variety of spaces and facilities that serve to enhance their learning while respecting the different needs of each student. There are collaborative learning spaces where students work together, choosing the physical set up that best suits them from a range of table and seating options. There are breakout rooms used as time out zones and intervention rooms, used by students who make the choice themselves to be away from others for a period of time.
Large screens in all learning spaces allow students to easily share work. Each student has access to an appropriate learning device and technology in the centre is viewed as a tool, but just one of many. An X Box in a shared zone provides opportunities for students to develop their social skills such as communication and turn taking, in addition to gross motor skills.
Students have access to a large and vibrant outdoor learning area. Complete with kitchen garden and water feature, the space also boasts a trampoline mat. Students are welcome to come and go in this space as they need to, with access to the water and trampoline often serving a therapeutic purpose for students.
Part of the community of St Luke's Catholic College
Our High Support Learning Setting is part of the community of St Luke's Catholic College and strives to provide opportunities for students to participate in shared experiences where appropriate. Students share the facilities in small supervised numbers, encouraging friendships to spring up and widening the social circle of students.
Centre staff are constantly assessing situations where students can participate including:
- celebrations of our Catholic faith and culture
- practical lessons for subject areas such as food technology and Art
- home room
- formation days
- excursions and incursions
- community events.
Safety and Supervision
Students in our High Support Learning Setting are guaranteed a safe and secure environment, with constant supervision and a focus on safety. This extends to educating students on their personal safety through programs centring on social skills, relationships and the concept of consent.
Pathways and Post School Options
Staff recognise the need for all students to have a plan for the future and the High Support Learning Setting works in partnership with the Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese (CSPD) Post School Options team and other appropriate staff to ensure students have established post school pathways and identified achievable goals.
You are encouraged to begin the Arrunga enrolment process at least a year in advance of the standard enrolment period to allow for assessment of the support and adjustments required for your child.
The priority criteria for students seeking enrolment into our High Support Learning Centre is the same as for all students seeking enrolment in a Catholic school in the Diocese of Parramatta.
- submit an Expression of Interest
- you will be contacted and invited to tour the Learning Centre with your child and family
- follow the standard enrolment process.
The patience, love and care is second to none. They want to make it succeed and they want to make it work.
Veronika Walshe (parent)