Our School

Principal’s Message

I extend a warm welcome to you and your family to The Currajong School. Our school is a dynamic learning community that has at its core positive and constructive relationships where the expectation is high… learning is relevant, deep and real… where structure and support facilitates progress for every student. There is a strong emphasis on striving for personal best and on the holistic development of the student. Students at The Currajong School are confident, competent and well-rounded individuals who are encouraged to develop a love of learning together with the skills, resources and motivation to fully experience lifelong education. The Currajong School, provides high quality specialist education through a relevant and stimulating curriculum in a secure and purposeful environment. We integrate digital pedagogies throughout the curriculum. Classroom spaces are carefully organised to support learning. The people in our community make our school a special place to be. Encouraging and affirming relationships define our schools learning community. Our teachers are highly talented and dedicated. They work in collaboration to develop a school culture that values teaching and learning. They encourage all students to strive to achieve their best with their academic learning, social skills, school spirit and sense of service to others. Fostering a strong partnership between the family and the school through clear and continuous communication is a key element in students’ success at The Currajong School. All parents are encouraged to be actively involved in their child’s education and in school events and decision-making opportunities. Our programs revolve around a strong commitment to rigour in English and Mathematics and the provision of diverse specialist programs including integrated and inquiry units that provide opportunities for analytical, creative and reflective thinking. Our programs include environmental science; a sport and PE program; a food technology kitchen program; dance education program; design & technology; visual arts program; multimedia and dedicated digital technology resources. We aspire to develop students who will thrive in the new millennium. We support students with social, emotional and behavioural disorders. We understand that students need to have greater thinking and problem-solving abilities and be more self-motivated than ever before. Our staff support and guide our students to be thinkers and enquirers, who wonder and pose questions. We strive to ensure our students are active citizens in the community. Our school promotes a set of values which empowers students to make positive contributions to the school and the wider communities. Our students live and learn by our values: Respect, Responsibility and Resilience. I hope you enjoy accessing more information about our high-quality school for students with social, emotional and behavioural disorders and additional learning needs. As you navigate your way through our website. We welcome enrolment inquiries at all year levels from Prep to Grade 6. Visitors to our school frequently make the comment that The Currajong School has a warm sense of community, energy and purpose. I am proud of our collective work and encourage you to take the opportunity to tour our school. Warm Regards Rhett Watts Principal of The Currajong School

About The Currajong School

The Currajong School is a registered, independent specialist school located in East Malvern, a South Eastern suburb of Melbourne, and serves a wide geographical area. Families travel from greater Melbourne to attend The Currajong School.

The school was established in 1974 by the Founding Principal Bruce Wicking. We are a non-denominational, co-educational school catering for primary-aged students with specific needs, with a focus on social, emotional, and behavioural needs.

The Currajong School invites a community atmosphere, with an inclusive and positive learning environment. At The Currajong School we have proud tradition in providing excellence in specialist education for students with social, emotional, and behavioural disorders and maximise every learning opportunity to shape our students’ future through high quality, values enriched inclusive teaching and learning.

As a Victorian Independent Specialist Primary School, The Currajong School has a clear vision and purpose. The school is renowned for fostering student excellence with the support and involvement of our families, specialist services and broader community.

At The Currajong School, the school community works together to ensure every child has a positive, happy and successful school experience. Parents and teachers are genuine partners in the learning process, ensuring students are encouraged to participate, to strive to achieve their best, to be considerate and supportive of others, to be independent, to regulate own behaviours and to value the pursuit of knowledge, through a pure joy of learning.

The school attracts and retains an experienced, caring and innovative staff who work to provide a range of high-quality learning and wellbeing opportunities to stimulate and challenge the differentiated needs and talents of their students. This is done within a collaborative culture, creating a strong sense of community and team spirit.

At The Currajong School, our challenge is to target key indicators which define what it is to be a truly successful learner, a learner who not only achieves their own individual potential, but who is deemed successful within the context of his/her area of talent. To achieve this we focus on providing our students with access to a broad range of learning opportunities that respond to the diversity of their individual needs and abilities. We believe these opportunities will continue to evolve through the commitment of our dedicated staff, and research into evidence based programs.

We are confident our focus on social, emotional, and behavioural needs and academic abilities will be achieved through maintaining strong partnerships with parents, allied health professionals and the wider community. This, in turn, provides a comprehensive approach to challenging our students to achieve their best and build self-confidence in their personal abilities. This holistic approach of building the foundations of academic, physical, social and emotional learning capabilities of our students, reflects our school’s long-standing ethos.

The Currajong School’s Vision, Mission and Values

The Currajong School's Vision Statement

The Currajong School believes in providing an inclusive and engaging environment which enables students to embrace learning and achieve their full potential.

We do this by transforming the lives of children experiencing social, emotional, and behavioural disorders.

The Currajong School's Mission Statement

 Currajong School’s mission is to provide a positive and therapeutic school environment for children whose social, emotional, and behavioural needs are unable to be met within mainstream education.

At The Currajong School, we aim to work intensively with children to develop the learning and coping strategies which will allow them to re-enter mainstream education with healthy self-esteem, established work habits, and acceptable behaviours. To achieve this goal, children are treated respectfully as individuals, given responsibility for their own behavioural choices, taught to be resourceful in solving problems, and accepted as valued members of the school community. Children are encouraged at all times to seek positive rather than negative ways of belonging.

We nurture our students to develop self-belief, and a growth mindset that empowers them to live an abundant and successful life.

The Currajong School's Values Statement

The Currajong School makes a commitment to embed the following values across our school community:

Respect, Responsibility, Resilience

It is an expectation that our school values are continually at the forefront of everything we do.

Our Moral Purpose

We support students to become confident learners who achieve to their full potential.
To accomplish this, we offer an education approach based upon the High Impact Teaching Strategies.

 We support all students to become literate and numerate.

  • We foster curiosity by immersing students in problem solving and providing opportunities for invention and innovation.
  • We empower students to discover their potential by offering a personalised learning approach, this means educational programs are tailored to individual abilities and accommodate students’ interests.
  • Our staff work collaboratively, in professional learning communities, to design and deliver education programs that are engaging and challenging.
  • We nurture empathy and compassion through listening and sharing experiences.
  • We promote honesty, trust and personal responsibility.
  • We create relationships that are caring, supportive and encouraging.

The Currajong School’s Philosophy

The Currajong School is committed to providing a positive and therapeutic school experience for children presenting with significant social, emotional, and behavioural difficulties. The educational program at our school has been designed to meet the needs of these young students, with social-emotional learning as an integral component of the curriculum.

The Currajong School operates within the Positive Behaviour Support approach, where learning is understood developmentally, and all behaviour is viewed as communication. The classroom offers a safe base for vulnerable children whose complex social and emotional needs have become a barrier to both their learning and their wellbeing. With the nurture approach students’ social and emotional development and learning is supported and enhanced, and the opportunity provided for them to reach their greatest potential.

Our school operates by asking a fundamental question, “Is this work or process in line with the school vision, mission values and beliefs?” This question guides and directs the practice of all staff in the school. The vision of the school will sit at the centre of our focus and there will be expectations about all work aligning with the vision. Regular evaluation processes will be in place to measure performance in all areas of the school with respect to the implementation of the vision and values of the school.

Enactment of the Philosophy

At The Currajong School, all documentation will reflect the set of practices of the school. This includes organisational structures, teaching and learning practices and programs, internal and external interactions, School Board and community programs. A detailed list of school policies sit within this framework as part of VRQA quality assurance requirements.

The belief that all students can achieve high standards transform nearly everything about the way we approach schooling. An organised structure of attributes, principles and understandings expressed in the design of our curriculum amplifies the possibilities for long range planning, short term preparation and clear communication.

The Currajong School acknowledges that the behaviour of staff, parents, carers and students has an impact on our school community and culture. We acknowledge a shared responsibility to create a positive learning environment for the children and young people at our school.

As Principal and school leaders we will:

  • Model positive behaviour and effective leadership in line with our shared values and expectations matrix
  • Communicate politely and respectfully with all members of the school community
  • Work collaboratively to create a school environment where respectful and safe conduct is expected of everyone
  • Behave in a manner consistent with the standards of our professions and meet core responsibilities to provide an inclusive, safe, and orderly environment
  • Plan, implement and monitor arrangements to ensure the care, safety, security, and general wellbeing of all students in attendance at the school is protected
  • Identify and support students who are or may be at risk
  • Do our best to ensure every child achieves their personal and learning potential
  • Work with parents to understand their child’s needs and, where necessary, adapt the learning environment accordingly
  • Respond appropriately when inclusive, safe or orderly behaviour is demonstrated and implement appropriate interventions and sanctions when required
  • Make known to parents the school’s communication and complaints procedures
  • Ask any person who is acting in an offensive or disorderly way to leave the school grounds.

As teachers and non-teaching school staff we will:

  • Model positive behaviour to students consistent with the standards of our profession and in line with our shared values and expectations matrix
  • Communicate politely and respectfully with all members of the school community
  • Proactively engage with parents about student outcomes
  • Work with parents to understand the needs of each student and, where necessary, adapt the learning environment accordingly
  • Work collaboratively with parents to improve learning and wellbeing outcomes for students with additional needs
  • Communicate with the Principal and School Leaders in the event that we anticipate or face any tension or challenging behaviours from parents
  • eat all members of the community with respect.

As parents and carers, we will:

  • Model positive behaviour to our child in line with our shared values and expectations matrix
  • Communicate politely and respectfully with all members of the school community
  • Ensure our child attends school on time, every day the school is open for instruction
  • Take an interest in our child’s school and learning
  • Work with the school to achieve the best outcomes for our child
  • Communicate constructively with the school and use expected processes and protocols when raising concerns
  • Support the school staff to maintain a safe environment for all students
  • Follow the school’s processes for communication with staff and making complaints
  • Treat all school leaders, staff, students, and other members of the community with respect.

As students we will:

  • Model positive behaviour to other students in line with our shared values and expectations matrix
  • Communicate politely and respectfully with all members of the school community
  • Comply with and model school values
  • Behave in a safe and responsible manner
  • Respect ourselves, other members of the school community and the school environment
  • Actively participate in school
  • Actively try not to disrupt the learning of others and make the most of our educational opportunities.

As community members we will:

  • Model positive behaviour to the school community in line with our shared values and expectations matrix
  • Treat other members of the community with respect
  • Support school staff to maintain a safe and orderly learning environment for all students
  • Utilise the school’s processes for communication with staff and submitting complaints.

The Currajong School’s Attributes

The Currajong School embraces a set of special attributes that allows our students to create, discover and grow together as part of our ‘Currajong Family’.

Attribute One: Currajong Learning Processes

This means that we:

  • nurture a love of learning
  • recognise learning is a life-long process
  • value the opinions and contributions of others
  • cater for individual teaching and learning styles
  • take responsibility for learning by encouraging risk taking
  • provide challenging learning experiences that develop self esteem
  • acknowledge effort and achievement
  • encourage students and staff to reach their individual potential
  • continually monitor progress and report on student achievement

Attribute Two: The Currajong School Behaviours

This means that we

  • Build self-resilience and look after our own wellbeing
  • develop a sense of collective responsibility
  • care about and support each other
  • endeavour to do our best and be professional in everything we do
  • value and actively pursue excellence
  • behave honestly and ethically
  • appreciate and accept ourselves and others
  • respect the rights and property of others
  • accept that rules are necessary for the safety of everyone
  • encourage individual choice

Attribute Three: The Currajong Community

This means that we

  • work together as a team to achieve common goals and purpose
  • value the opinions and contributions of others
  • respect individual skills and differences
  • are adaptable to change
  • work co-operatively
  • communicate effectively
  • create a supportive and co-operative environment
  • have confidence, belief, and trust in team members
  • demonstrate a personal contribution and commitment to educational improvement and excellence in teaching & learning
  • understand and appreciate our own role and the role of others

Attribute Four: Our Environment

This means that we

  • appreciate the ‘welcoming and warm atmosphere’ of our school
  • appreciate the benefits of a small sized school and community
  • are inspired by the history of the school
  • work to maintain safe and healthy play areas
  • are proud of our school and care for our buildings, outdoor spaces and resources
  • enjoy and take care of the school environment so that it is a beautiful and engaging environment for learning

Unreasonable Behaviours

Schools are not public places, and the Principal has the right to permit or deny entry to school grounds (for more information, see our Visitors Policy).

Unreasonable behaviour that is demonstrated by school staff, parents, carers, students or members of our school community will not be tolerated at school, or during school activities.

Unreasonable behaviour includes:

  • speaking or behaving in a rude, manipulative, aggressive or threatening way, either in person, via electronic communication or social media, or over the telephone
  • the use or threat of violence of any kind, including physically intimidating behaviour such as aggressive hand gestures or invading another person’s personal space
  • sending demanding, rude, confronting or threatening letters, emails or text messages
  • sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic or derogatory comments
  • the use of social media or public forums to make inappropriate or threatening remarks about the school, staff or students.
  • harassment, bullying, violence, aggression, threatening behaviour and unlawful discrimination are unacceptable and will not be tolerated at our school.
  • Unreasonable behaviour and/or failure to uphold the principles of this Statement of Values and School Philosophy may lead to further investigation and the implementation of appropriate consequences by the school Principal.

Our Commitment to Child Safe Standards

From 1 January 2016, all schools were required to comply with new child safe standards designed to ensure that organisations that work with children take steps to create a culture of child safety and protect children from all forms of abuse. The Currajong School makes an ongoing commitment to child safety and ensuring that the policies and procedures around child safety are regularly reviewed and updated on an annual basis.

What are the Child Safe Standards?

The aim of the child safe standards is to drive continuous improvement so that protecting children from abuse is embedded in everyday thinking and practice of leaders, staff and volunteers. The focus of the standards is on raising awareness and helping organisations to create and maintain child safe environments through education and training.

The Child Safe Standards have been introduced in response to the recommendations of the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Non-Government Organisations, which found that more must be done to prevent and respond to child abuse. The standards apply to all organisations that provide services for children.

Creating a child safe organisation

In complying with the child safe standards, our school must include the following principles as part of each standard:

  • promoting the cultural safety of Aboriginal children
  • promoting the cultural safety of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • promoting the safety of children with a disability

To create and maintain a child safe organisation, a school must have in place policies and procedures for the 11 standards:

  1. Organisations establish a culturally safe environment in which the diverse and unique identities and experiences of Aboriginal children and young people are respected and valued
  2. Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture
  3. Children and young people are empowered about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously
  4. Families and communities are informed, and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing
  5. Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice
  6. People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice
  7. Processes for complaints and concerns are child focused
  8. Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education and training
  9. Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed
  10. Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is regularly reviewed and improved
  11. Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for children and young people.

The National Quality Framework already requires all schools to meet many aspects of the child safe standards. Services are encouraged to review their policies, procedures and practices including their current child safe environment and staffing policies and procedures to ensure they meet the child safe standards.

More information can be found by visiting ccyp.vic.gov.au, checking out our School Documentation, or making contact with our Child Safe Officer & Assistant Principal; Julian Pharaoh.

Leadership

At The Currajong School we pride ourselves as instructional and compassionate leaders, and believe leaders are essential for high-quality education as our decisions and actions have a direct impact on student engagement, well-being and learning.

At The Currajong School, we have a committed leadership team who collaborate together with teachers, parents, and students in the best interest of every member within the school community.

Our Senior Leadership Team consists of:

Principal: Rhett Watts

Assistant Principal: Julian Pharaoh

Business Manager: Belinda Wright

Psychologist: Sharon Crowley

Our Staff

Our Classroom Teachers are:

  • Carli
  • Shaun
  • Travis
  • Paul

Our Specialist Teachers are:

  • Ruth: Visual Art, Media Arts, Design and Technologies
  • Sarah: Specialist programs focusing on social and emotional learning
  • Michele: Academic assessment and testing program

Our Teacher Assistant staff are:

  • Jamie
  • Chloe
  • Nick
  • Georgia
  • Debbie
  • Noelle
  • Sayeed
  • Zac
  • Bernie

Our Allied Health staff are:

  • Sharon: Psychologist
  • Aretha: Speech Pathologist
  • Pip: Music Therapist
  • Amelia: Occupational Therapist

Our Admin staff are:

  • Karin: Reception
  • Malcolm : IT support (Wednesdays)

School Board

The School Board plays an important and valued role in the development of The Currajong School. It has elected representation and is responsible for the governance, financial, policy and strategic direction of the school. The School Board works in partnership with the school principal to deliver improved learning outcomes for our students and to support the staff to achieve this. It meets a minimum of six times a year to specifically address the following:

  • appointing the Principal and providing ongoing support and supervision
  • governing (not managing) the school
  • determining and implementing the school’s key values, principles and ethos
  • setting strategic plans and major directions for the school
  • determining the Board’s policies and practices
  • ensuring compliance with legal obligations
  • monitoring adherence to systems of and assessing risk management
  • approving and monitoring the school budget
  • approving expenditure outside of the budget
  • reviewing the school’s performance
  • interfacing with the school community

Networks and Community Partnerships

Community organisations play an important role in delivering services and programs to The Currajong School that frequently focus on improving the opportunities and resources available to the young people and their families.

The partnerships between The Currajong School and community organisations provide an opportunity for services and resources to be more accessible and delivered more efficiently. By partnering with our local community organisations, The Currajong School have the ability to plan and develop infrastructure and programs that assist our students across the community.

This also helps foster greater integration between our school and the surrounding communities creating better outcomes for all stakeholders involved.

The Currajong School has found that the benefits of effective partnerships between our school and community organisations bring benefits to the staff and students whilst helping the broader community understand the abilities, needs and interests of our students in a specialist school environment.

If you or your organisation would like to work alongside The Currajong School, please send your expression of interest to admin@currajong.vic.edu.au

 

Our Classrooms and Learning Environments

All of our learning spaces are large and well equipped learning spaces that cater for the needs of the students. We are able to set up collaborative work areas, individualised workstations, break out areas, and quiet reading areas.

They all have Promethium Interactive Smart Boards, 1:1 iPads, and a fleet of student laptops to support the 21st century learning of the students.

All learning areas have heating and cooling to ensure that it enables the students to be comfortable for learning and support their social, emotional, and behavioural requirements.

When you look at our classrooms you will notice visual schedules, displays of student work and visual reminders that support our students with Positive Behaviour Supports and regulating their behaviours.

Our Occupational Therapist works with classroom staff to ensure that the learning environments meet the needs of the students as this is important to ensure optimal engagement and learning. This includes ensuring the appropriate furniture, and sensory requirements for students.

Our school is well maintained, and free from clutter to ensure students feel safe, secure, and proud of their school environment.

The Currajong School Outreach Program

Our Currajong Outreach Program aims to make inclusive education accessible and achievable for all. Through the outreach program, The Currajong School staff share their extensive knowledge and expertise with teachers in mainstream schools about social/emotional support, Therapeutic model of pedagogy, building student engagement and supporting behavioural concerns.

The outreach program provides a visiting ‘coach’ and support resources that increase the confidence and capacity of teachers to support children with additional needs enrolled in mainstream schools. This may involve a member of the leadership team visiting the mainstream school to conduct observations and provide initial suggestions, providing recommendation and supports around communication and learning strategies, providing whole school professional development to support students with social, emotional, and behavioural disorders, and providing recommendations and resources.

We believe it is important to build a culture of collaboration and support. The impact of the outreach program has shown outstanding and immediate outcomes with noted improvements in student learning and overall engagement levels.

If schools or agencies wish to engage with the Currajong Outreach Program, they should contact the Principal Rhett Watts who will work with the school on the initial enquiry and planning the steps for support.