Special education differs from remedial education because learners in these programs lack the intellectual ability to perform in a class that teaches standardized concepts and subjects. Special needs programs are often individualised with the aim of helping the learner to become a functional, employable adult. At Glenoaks, we have two special needs streams – the Glenoaks Assisted Learning (GOAL) stream and for older learners, the Oak House Vocational Academy.
GLENOAKS ASSISTED LEARNING (GOAL) STREAM
The GOAL Stream caters for learners from the ages of 6 to 14 who have special educational needs which inhibit them from learning in the ‘traditional classroom’. Often our learners’ chronological and developmental ages differ significantly, and it’s important that they learn according to their abilities and at their own pace. GOAL Stream learners have differing areas of strength, often exhibited in practical tasks. They benefit from repetition, positive reinforcement and reduced time pressure, aiming at functional skills of daily living within their levels of ability.
We work on individualised numeracy and literacy programs with each learner. Other subjects include life skills; activities of daily living; cooking; supported reading; home management; basic administration skills; computers; library; sport; social and emotional skills; and art. Older learners have opportunities for project-based learning in preparation for in-house work experience. Occupational Therapy groups assist learners in the areas of gross motor, fine motor, and visual perceptual development, as well as sensory processing, with an additional focus on activities of daily living and work skills. Speech, language and communication groups assist learners with social and cognitive communication difficulties and support interpersonal communication and curricular goals.
OAK HOUSE VOCATIONAL ACADEMY
Oak House Vocational Academy caters for learners from the ages of 13 to 18 whose abilities and needs are not met in a mainstream or remedial setting. The Academy provides learners with a sense of purpose and self-worth, with a focus on personal, independent living and vocational skills.
Academy learners are exposed to important life skills needed to facilitate more independence and employability. Our creatively crafted curriculum includes functional English and Maths, social skills; business skills; entrepreneurship; IT and admin skills; world knowledge; home management; hospitality; gardening; crafts and enterprise. Learning across subject areas is practical and integrated so that learners understand the purpose of the skill, can transfer that skill to other areas of life, and experience an end goal that is tangible. Building a learner’s confidence, self-esteem and emotional maturity is fundamental to our outcomes, and holistic support is provided by our team which also includes psychotherapy if required.
Our learners are exposed to the concept of work from the beginning of their journey with us. Younger learners participate in internal contract or project-based work, and older learners benefit from external work experience placements aligned to their strengths, abilities, and areas of interest, culminating in years of work experience by the time they graduate.
All learners gain the skills required for entry-level jobs, and focus on critical social skills, appropriate behaviours and attitudes required in the workplace. Learners in the external work experience program are gaining exposure to a variety of industries and businesses including retail; IT; hairdressing; production line; garden nurseries; schools; sport; robotics and many more.
Vocationally based Occupational Therapy support and job coaching are provided to learners participating in work experience, and if further training or employment opportunities exist for a graduate, those are facilitated and supported by Oak House Vocational Academy.
In 2019 the first group of learners graduated from the Academy and successfully commenced with further training, part-time or permanent employment.