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 Student Diversity Policy

 

As a Catholic faith community, St Catherine's is committed to providing a high quality, supportive and inclusive learning environment that empowers the diverse range of students in our community.
 
INTRODUCTION
We recognise that every person is created in the image and likeness of God, and is in some respect like all others, like some others and like no other one. We are challenged by the Church to reach out to all our brothers and sisters in love, acknowledging their diversity, immediate needs and specific situations (Deus Caritas Est, On Christian Love ).
 
Student diversity develops through a range of physical, intellectual, social and emotional factors affecting the child and their family including:
•  differences in learning ability and learning styles
•  physical disability and medical illness
•  learning difficulties and disabilities
•  students of higher ability
•  previous schooling experiences
•  religious, cultural and language differences
•  financial disadvantage
•  psychological disorders and mental illness
•  physical, emotional and sexual abuse
•  dysfunctional home environment.
 
The Queensland Catholic Education Commission policy on inclusive practices informs us of our responsibility to recognise and respect the rights and needs of every child. This is achieved by providing equitable access to the curriculum, offering maximum learning opportunities and working towards meeting the educational and social needs of all students.
 
Guided by St Catherine's School Covenant, our community aspires to provide successful outcomes in spiritual, intellectual, social and emotional growth for all students as life long learners across all years of primary schooling. This policy provides a framework to review existing practices and plan for improvements in response to the needs and aspirations of the community.
 
RATIONALE
St Catherine's School strives to be a Supportive School Community with a collective responsibility to develop and nurture the unique qualities and abilities of the individual. A supportive school community emerges from the interaction of a shared set of beliefs, attitudes and actions. It is a place of learning for all in which everything that happens contributes to the intellectual, social and emotional growth of all its learners.
 
Values and beliefs that align with a Supportive School Community include:
  • connectedness, including developing a sense of community
  • resilience, including recognising strengths and weaknesses and maximising potential
  • achievement, including attaining personal success and pursuing individual excellence
  • creativity, including valuing original ideas
  • integrity, including being honest and ethical
  • responsibility, including accepting individual and collective responsibility and contributing to community development
  • equity, including developing tolerance and a commitment to social justice, acknowledging diversity, respecting difference and encouraging distinctiveness.
Implications/consequences
In catering for student diversity the following considerations are relevant:
  • welcome and acceptance by the community in recognising and responding to diversity
  • parental support
  • supportive physical environment
  • planning and maintenance of class programme adjustments
  • consideration of complexity of classes
  • adherence to legislative requirements, Brisbane Catholic Education and school processes and procedures
  • communication between stakeholders
  • provision of appropriate staff and resources
  • ongoing professional development of staff.
Elements of a Supportive School Community
Closely aligned with these values and beliefs are a number of elements integral to the development and maintenance of a supportive, inclusive and equitable community.
 
St Catherine's School commits to implementing the following elements:
  • a school culture that reflects care, concern and respect for diversity
  • leadership that has a clear vision based on a set of shared values, beliefs, and collaborative relationships
  • school organisation which is flexible, allows for variable student groupings, and provides time and space for teachers to work and plan together and support one another
  • a comprehensive curriculum that engages all students at a level appropriate to their knowledge, skill and ability, across a full range of learning experiences; that facilitates the development of individual social and communication skills and that builds student resilience
  • learning and teaching that caters to differences in student needs, learning styles, performance levels, and individual capacities, while maintaining high expectations for all students
  • assessment, monitoring and reporting that are integrated into learning and teaching and are inclusive of all students and their families
  • relationships within the school community which foster access and participation, reciprocal support and shared directions and purposes
  • positive partnerships that build on wider community services and resources and develop strong interagency links
  • professional development that enhances staff competency in the teaching practices central to supportive schooling.
Related documents

•  School Enrichment Plan
•  Enrolment Support Process Guidelines References
•  Brisbane Catholic Education. (2003). Learning Framework
   Brisbane Catholic Education. Brisbane.
•  Department of Education Tasmania (2003) Supportive School Communities Policy Framework 2003-2007.