THE first Diverse Learners Focus Group has come together, made up of Shepparton district community stakeholders, including parent, teacher, medical, multicultural, student representation and co-chaired by Independent Member for Shepparton, Suzanna Sheed.
“We want to explore options on what type of education model will suit diverse learners in mainstream education and bring it back to the students, teachers, and parents of Greater Shepparton Secondary College,” Ms Sheed said.
“As it stands, there are some students with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder who receive a level of financial support, others with the same characteristics but who are not diagnosed and therefore unfunded, and also students who may have some autistic characteristics.
The group was briefed by someone with lived experience of the lack of resources, understanding, and sometimes intolerance of issues he faced at school such as light or noise sensitivity. While he had found ways to cope on his own, there is still significant lack of understanding of the needs of diverse learners.
“With all our secondary school students now on the one campus, the capacity to design innovative programs across the nine schools at Greater Shepparton Secondary College has never been better. The capacity to pool resources, undertake professional education and design spaces to ensure better educational outcomes must be a priority for this group and we look forward to continuing to have further meetings and discussions to eventually achieve a model that will suit our students,” said Ms Sheed.
“Once a new model is widely supported by students, their families, and teachers, it can be adopted and amended as needed by the school with the ongoing support of the group. This will be an inclusive approach which will fit with government policy and enable us to seek any additional support we need from government to implement it.”