Keep our Pathways Students at Brahma Lodge Primary
This petition made change with 265 supporters!
We are the parents/carers of children with disability whom attend an Annexe class of Adelaide North Special School, located on Brahma Lodge Primary School. On Wednesday 19th November we received a communication from ANSS principal, Margot Mignonne, to inform us of impending drastic changes for Brahma Lodge Pathways students; our children. To outline the letter briefly
- · Pathways classes located on both Brahma Lodge Primary and Elizabeth North Primary School are to close at the end of 2014.
- · In 2015 the Brahma Pathways class would be running one single class, due to numerous students transitioning on to secondary education options.
- · Our children are to undergo two separate transitions in the new year – once to the ANSS campus, and then another to Elizabeth Vale Primary, which will be their only Pathways campus.
- · It is proposed that the curriculum that Brahma Lodge Pathways students enjoy will be comparable to that they will receive at Elizabeth Vale Primary.
- · This was a difficult decision made by the ANSS Leadership team in conjunction with the Governing Council.
- · It is appreciated that families of Brahma Lodge Pathways classes will be disappointed.
As parents/carers of children whom have benefitted immensely from both the evidence based approach to educating students with disability implemented by the Pathways Staff and the stellar inclusion opportunities offered through Brahma Lodge Primary School, ‘disappointed’ does not adequately express the depth of our dismay and opposition to this course of action. Our concerns with this proposal are;
- Parents/carers from the Brahma Lodge Pathways Classes were not sought to be included in the vital discussions that precipitated this difficult decision being made; a decision that affects OUR children. We were not given an opportunity to voice our concerns, and are forced to work retrospective of the decision – presenting a further barrier in achieving outcomes for the benefit of our children. Our input should have been sought outside of governing council, as our children’s need differ from those of students attending the ANSS main campus. Proposing that we should have had the foresight to join the governing council will not be a satisfactory response to this issue.
Whilst one parent team who has a child attending a Brahma Pathways class is on the ANSS governing council, their son is transitioning to secondary education at the end of this year, and hence they are not representative of the families who are to continue Pathways programs in coming years.
· Having spoken to the leadership team at Brahma Lodge Primary School, we are concerned and perplexed that hosting of the three ANSS Pathways classes were not offered to Brahma Lodge Primary School, as this would be the optimum solution and safeguard the emotional wellbeing and facilitate the continued educational development of our students. In addition to the fact that no serious upgrades would be required to host three Pathways classes, unlike relocating to Elizabeth Vale Primary, as the needed infrastructure already exists. This would seem to be a waste of vital public funding and resources.
- \ In what ways will the curriculum experienced in the Pathways classes be made comparable to any in the future that they will be exposed to through Elizabeth Vale? At Brahma Lodge Primary our students enjoy a high level of inclusion with the mainstream setting; attending ‘House Colours’ on Friday afternoons where they mix and work mainstream students and staff, participation in all Brahma Lodge events in a meaningful capacity eg. Sports days, Christmas performances, disco’s and student driven events etc. The real sense of community and inclusion that our pathways students enjoy at Brahma Lodge Primary is the product of a working relationship between Pathways staff and Brahma Lodge Primary staff and students; one that has grown and been nurtured over years. Our pathways students have strong and true friendships with the students and staff from the mainstream. Removing them from what is arguably one of the most inclusive and relationship focused primary schools in our state is a massive injustice to our students and their friends.
- Our Indigenous students could be at a disadvantage in a move to Elizabeth Vale Primary School, as currently through our host school Brahma Lodge our students are able to access the “Nunga Club” – which “aims to improve (students) oral language skills and a sense of belonging.” As to my current knowledge, Elizabeth Vale runs a number of programs to support the cultural needs of ATSI students, but we are unsure of how comparable they are in relation to those running at Brahma Lodge, in which our students are already successfully integrated.
· Whilst Elizabeth Vale Primary school houses a DECD Special Education Class, they have not facilitated a special school annexe program before; which presents inherently different challenges and needs.
· Several of the remaining Brahma Lodge Pathways students will be transitioning to secondary education at the end of 2015, meaning that these students will be required to undergo no less than three major transitions in 2015; putting them in danger of severe psychological distress and jeopardising their chances of a smooth and more successful transition to secondary education.
· Brahma Pathways students who still have a number of primary education left will also experience severe distress in being exposed to numerous transitions; meaning that the years learning will be adversely affected in addition to mental health detriment.
· Whilst spending approximately one term on ANSS grounds, where will the three classes be located on the premises? We are aware that there are no additional learning spaces available on the ANSS main campus and are concerned that they be placed somewhere inappropriate and possibly unsafe.
Numerous parents have contacted the ANSS leadership team with these serious concerns and we believe that we have thus far received an inadequate response. We are yet to receive a written response in answer to the concerns/questions posed above. We have also contacted the following people for assistance;
- DECD Regional Manager, David O'Brien
- Director of Special Education, Julie Aschberger.
- Member for Ramsay and the Minster for Communities and Social Inclusion, the Honourable Zoe Bettison.
- Minister for Education and Child Development, the Honourable Jennifer Rankine.
- Minster for Disabilities, the Honourable Tony Piccolo.
- Representative for Dignity for Disability, the Honourable Kelly Vincent.
- Local media.
Please sign and share our petition to help ensure that our children continue to stay in an environment which maximises their learning and social opportunities, and help safeguard their mental health. Please help us to keep our children where they happy, included and thriving.
We will be uploading the letter received from ANSS and also one sent out by the leadership team from Brahma Lodge Primary School. We feel that the letter sent by BLPS Principal, Graham Wood, speaks volumes about the level of inclusive practice and ethos at BLPS and reinforces that this is the optimum host school for the ANSS Pathways classes.
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tara-jade dini-brown needs your help with “Adelaide North Special School, DECD Director of Special Education, Julie Aschberger, SA Education Minister, the Honourable Jennifer Rankine: Keep our Pathways Students at Brahma Lodge Primary”. Join tara-jade and 264 supporters today.