About Our School

Principal’s Message

Welcome to Eastern Ranges School in Ferntree Gully, Victoria.

We are a vibrant and engaged school community whose focus is on the care, nurturing, development and achievements of each of our 160 plus students. Importantly, we are a school that values the contributions of all and seeks to capitalise on the synergy and energy that is invariably created in order that we can serve our students changing needs and those of our community.

It makes for a fabulous place to be.

Broadly, Eastern Ranges School provides educational programs for primary and secondary aged students with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Many students require additional support to cater for their intellectual disability, language disorder, specialised health requirements and complex behaviours. The school is unique in that it is one of only two special schools in the North Eastern Region Victoria that provides only for ASD students. Consequently, we continue to be under considerable pressure to accept enrolments at all levels.

Whilst continuing our established and proven traditions we are also exploring new possibilities at every level of our school. In recent years the school under the leadership, vision and foresight of former Principal, Ms Gail Preston embarked upon the proven approach of the TEACCH philosophy of the University of North Carolina. The school continues to be aptly supported and led in relation to this philosophy and acknowledges the core role it serves as a basis for teaching and learning across all year levels.

 

Nevertheless we continue to enhance and develop our provision and teaching and learning approaches from Foundation to Year 12. In 2017 we increased the employment of Speech and Occupational Therapists; and teaching staff in relation to Music, Technology and Transitions. Currently, we are reviewing our Horticulture provision and community connections regarding post school options. As we move to Year 12 in 2018 it is indeed an exciting and transformational time full of anticipation and excitement for our future. We are in the midst of developing a plethora of programs and pathways for our students as they approach the Senior School years and therein are exposed to the Victorian Certificate of Applied learning (VCAL), Vocational Education and Training (VET) and programs supporting Contemporary Living. Significantly, as our student join the senior school we engage with our parents to develop meaningful and strategic Transition Action Plans in order that we can effectively plan, foreshadow and chart future possibilities. Additionally, we are also expanding our provision at the Foundation and Junior Years through the introduction of play based learning and extended music therapy.

We are collectively supported and enhanced by dedicated, capable, enthusiastic and aspirational staff who together with our parents and burgeoning community are constantly exploring possibilities and goals for our students. Such a learning environment is a nursery for innovation, creativity and achievement as we strive to open gates and explore possibilities for each of our students. Through the provision of regular and timely Student Support Group meetings and Individual Learning Plans we join with our parents and carers to create the very best learning environment and ambience for optimum achievement.

The School is further support by a committed and informed School Council and governing body. Together with the principal, leadership team and staff the community is appropriately led and supported as we strive to keep our culture and traditions but also extend our horizons to create that which has yet to be realised.

Again I thank you for taking the time to view our school and encourage you to immerse yourself in the other dimensions of our school as reflected in part, in this website.

In time, I look forward to meeting and engaging with you.

Christopher Cotching
Principal

School Values

Purpose:
As an educational provider, Eastern Ranges School develops and implements innovative and specialised programs that focus on the needs of students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, an associated intellectual disability and a language disorder. Our programs are informed by current research and are embedded in best practice that prepares our students and their families for the future.

 

Our school values are:

teamwork

effective communication

respect for one another

inclusiveness

continuous learning.

Important Dates

Term Dates 2017

Term 1 – 30 January –31March (students commence 31 January 2017)

Term 2 – 18 April – 30 June

Term 3 – 17 July – 22 September

Term 4 – 9 October – 22 December

Pupil Free Days 2017

Term 1 – Monday 30 January 2017

Term 2 – Friday 2 June 2017

Term 3 – Friday 25 August 2017

Term 4 – Friday 17 November 2017

Child Safety

Eastern Ranges School is committed to safety and wellbeing of all children and young people. This will be the primary focus of our care and decision-making.

Eastern Ranges School has zero tolerance for child abuse.

Eastern Ranges School is committed to providing a child safe environment where children and young people are safe and feel safe, and their voices are heard about decisions that affect their lives. Particular attention will be paid to the cultural safety of Aboriginal children and children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, as well as the safety of children with a disability.

Every person involved in Eastern Ranges School has a responsibility to understand the important and specific role he/she plays individually and collectively to ensure that the wellbeing and safety of all children and young people is at the forefront of all they do and every decision they make.

“In its planning, decision-making and operations Eastern Ranges School will

  1. Take a preventative, proactive and participatory approach to child safety;
  2. Value and empower children to participate in decisions which affect their lives;
  3. Foster a culture of openness that supports all persons to safely disclose risks of harm to children;
  4. Respect diversity in cultures and child rearing practices while keeping child safety paramount;
  5. Provide written guidance on appropriate conduct and behaviour towards children;
  6. Engage only the most suitable people to work with children and have high quality staff and volunteer supervision and professional development;
  7. Ensure children know who to talk with if they are worried or are feeling unsafe, and that they are comfortable and encouraged to raise such issues;
  8. Report suspected abuse, neglect or mistreatment promptly to the appropriate authorities;
  9. Share information appropriately and lawfully with other organisations where the safety and wellbeing of children is at risk; and
  10. Value the input of and communicate regularly with families and carers.”

Structured Teaching

Structured Teaching is an intervention approach developed by TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication handicapped Children) from the University of North Carolina. It is a teaching framework with 40 years of research behind it and is based on teaching to the “Culture of Autism”. Research has shown that students/children with ASD have a different psycho-educational profile. This means that they are highly visual learners and require learning spaces and tasks which are organised, free from clutter and require an environment which is predictable. The elements of Structured Teaching focus on addressing the physical structure of the classroom, the provision of individualised schedules, addressing the visual structure in the activity or task, an individualised work system and assessment. These elements capitalise on the student’s strength of visual perception and compensates for their high distractibility, poor organisation and planning skills, and their prompt dependency. By providing structure and organisation in the classroom and activity, it will help alleviate confusion and anxiety and help increase independence and flexibility in their behaviour.

 

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Students at Work

An important goal for the student with ASD is to have the ability to work independently and to transition to different locations in the school with minimal anxiety. As part of the Structured Teaching approach, students at Eastern Ranges School use visual supports. These visual supports are in the form of visual schedules, work systems and a de-cluttered physical learning environment. These elements of structured teaching are used to promote active engagement in the learning tasks and to reduce prompt dependency.

According to the research visual supports:

  • hold a student’s attention
  • reduce student anxiety
  • abstract concepts become more meaningful
  • they help the student to express their thoughts
  • functional independence

 

Enrolments @ Eastern Ranges School

The process of searching for a school for your child is exciting yet complex and can be overwhelming but also reassuring. We aim to remove as much anxiety from this process as possible in a child-centred, case-by-case approach.

Enrolment Criteria to establish eligibility

Eastern Ranges School has very specific criteria for enrolments that is supported by the Department of Education and the Program for Students with Disabilities. The criteria is used to establish eligibility against the PSD funding model, which is a vital component of the individualised programming we provide to all our students.

In order to assess the eligibility of students for Eastern Ranges School we require;

  • A letter from a paediatrician confirming a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • A Psychological Report including an IQ Assessment and a Vineland Assessment of Adaptive Behaviour
  • A Speech Therapy Report with accompanying assessments of language and pragmatics.

Such assessments have specific eligibility scores and periods of validity.

In addition to the documentation requirements, eligibility is further determined by the residential location of students. Eastern Ranges School has a very defined zone for student enrolment according to our DTA (Designated Transport Area).

 

School Tours

We facilitate regular school tours for potential enrolment. If you would like to organize a visit to Eastern Ranges School, please contact reception and request a position on an upcoming tour. These are held on Thursdays between 10 o’clock and 11 o’clock and will occur several times each term. An increased number of tours will be available in term three as we commence the enrolment process for the following year.

 

Additional Information

If you would like more information on Eastern Ranges School, enrolment criteria, DTA requirements or if you have questions relating specifically to the enrolment of your child, please contact Lisa Innes on 9758 3772 who will be able to assist with your enrolment enquiries.

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