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. In our special needs streams, we focus on functional subjects in literacy, numeracy, life skills, and world knowledge, and offer learners exposure to a variety of practical and project-driven vocational subjects such as hospitality, IT and enterprise. 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, Occupational Therapy groups, Speech, Language and Communication groups and art. Older learners have opportunities for project-based learning in preparation for in-house work experience.
Oak House Vocational Academy was conceived from the need to provide an appropriate setting for learners with special needs from our school, and from the broader community, whose abilities and needs are not met in an academic setting. The Academy program was formulated based on best practice research locally and abroad and is uniquely crafted and finely tuned to Glenoaks’ vision. The Academy provides learners with a sense of purpose and self-worth, continued applicable academic input, emotional support and an incremental exposure to the expectations and realities of the world of work. This culminates in a learner being more employable with practical work skills and experience in specific industries. If further training or employment opportunities exist for a graduate, those are facilitated and supported by Oak House Vocational Academy. Our Academy program exposes learners to a variety of vocational settings aligned to each individual’s strengths, abilities and areas of interest. learners acquire the skills required for entry level jobs, and also focus on critical social skills, appropriate behaviours and attitudes required in the workplace.
Prior to this, our students are taught a creatively crafted curriculum which includes academics, life skills, business skills, entrepreneurship, IT and admin skills, world knowledge, home management, hospitality, gardening, crafts and enterprise. Learners in the 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. In 2019 the first group of students graduated from Oak House Vocational Academy and successfully commenced with further training, part time or permanent employment.