The Special Education Faculty at J.J. Cahill Memorial High School currently supports 39 students with special needs. The Special Education Staff includes four teachers and four SLSO's who are highly committed to provide all students with the best possible learning opportunities. Through the development and implementation of specific teaching and learning programs, students are able to access the Life Skills Curriculum, elective classes taught by mainstream teachers as well as a number of post-school options which will allow them to make a successful transition to adulthood and the world of further education, training or work.

Curriculum Overview

All students in the faculty must complete courses of study within the core subject areas of the Life Skills Curriculum which is divided into different Key Learning Areas for Years 7 -12.

Stage 4                                                                        Stage 5
English                                                                        English
Mathematics                                                                Mathematics
Science                                                                        Science
H.S.I.E                                                                         H.S.I.E
(History and Geography)                                               (History, Geography & Work Education)
PD/H/PE                                                                       PD/H/PE
Creative Arts                                                               Creative Arts
(Visual Arts, Music, Drama, Dance)                               (Visual Arts, Music,                                 
Food Technology                                                            
Industrial Technoloy                                                       

Stage 6

(History, Geography & Work in the Community)
Creative Arts

TAFE courses at Randwick, Ultimo and St George Campuses.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching programs are developed in accordance with the N.S.W D.E.C Life Skills Syllabus stages 4, 5 and 6.

The planning, preparation and implementation of teaching programs is an involved and
necessary process designed to ensure that all students are given every opportunity to
access the Life Skills Curriculum and therefore learn alongside each other.

Programming, teaching and learning are viewed as a shared responsibility and as a
partnership between students, teachers, parents and support agencies where necessary.
A collaborative approach to teaching and learning also ensures that individual students' needs are being addressed and met through the development of Individual Education Plans and Transition Planning.

Teaching and learning programs reflect:

  • Clear and specific learning outcomes as prescribed in the Life Skills Syllabus.
  • Long, medium and short term planning.
  • Teacher and student expectations for learning and the opportunity for extensions.
  • Assessment schedules and formative assessment data.
  • Teaching strategies to address different learning styles and levels of ability.
  • Key subject vocabulary.
  • Whole class involvement in learning as well as individual and group learning
  • Cross curricular programming in literacy, numeracy and I.C.T.
  • Community Access Programs which allow students to access community venues, services
  • Sequencing, progression and continuity of learning experiences for whole class, group or individual students.
  • Ongoing individual revision and assessment strategies.
  • Efficient and accurate registration.
  • Regular refinement, modification and improvement of teaching and learning contents.
  • Teacher self- assessment opportunities.
  • Homework schedules.

Transition Planning

The movement from school to adult life is one of the most critical transition periods for all students, especially those with special needs.

Research has indicated that students with special needs require greater support in their
transition to adult life than their peers. This is especially the case in relation to vocational outcomes, which includes obtaining and maintaining work.

The Special Education Faculty at J.J. Cahill Memorial High School recognises the need for effective
planning and support of secondary-aged students with special needs and therefore supports the transition planning process through a range of Programs.

Planning and Processes

  • Transition planning is student centred. It focuses and concentrates on the outcomes that students need to achieve in order to facilitate a smooth transition from school to adult life.
  • The process is designed to incorporate the involvement of each individual student in a
    personalised process which focuses both on their current and future goals.
  • Students, parents, teachers, community agencies, community services and government
    departments all work together to bring about the best possible outcomes for students whether it be for them to get a job if they have the appropriate skills or to access a program that caters to their individual needs once they have left school.
  • The Support Unit at J.J. Cahill Memorial High School works closely with DEC Regional staff as well as such organisations as Windgap Foundation, NOVA and Centrelink, to ensure that all students are placed in appropriate and meaningful post-school training and employment.

Year 7 and  8

Transition outcomes are incorporated into IEP planning for each student. Students are involved in:

  • Academic programs which teach functional reading, number, money, time and writing skills.
  • Programs which enable students to recognise supermarket items they use regularly and to use communication and money skills functionally. and recreational facilities on a regular basis.
  • Students learn to travel safely and independently within the community and learn essential skills such as walking in a group and road safety. Students visit the local bowling alley, parks, gymnasiums and cinemas.
  • Travel training programs which teach students to travel independently to and from school or class travel programs which allow students to access the local area.

Years 9, 10, 11 and 12

In years 9, 10, 11 & 12, students study Life Skills courses as prescribed by the Board of Studies. This leads to attainment of the ROSA and Higher School Certificate. The support Unit at J.J. Cahill Memorial High School is currently retaining all students to Higher School Certificate level.

From Year 9 to Year 12, Individual Transition Planning Meetings are held with students,
parents, teacher and Support Teacher Transition. The purpose of these meetings is to
ensure that every student is well prepared for the transition from school to work.

Transition planning addresses:

  • The personal management of each student.
  • Developing social skills and a social network.
  • Personal and interpersonal skills.
  • Personal care
  • Skills around the home.
  • Recreation and leisure.
  • Community participation
  • Vocational training and employment options.
  • Developing skills to achieve work goals.
  • Small group supported work experience programs. (Work experience in a supported employment site. Usually 3-4 students in Year 10 working half days and building to full days fully supported by school staff including a "Job Coach" employed as an addition to teaching staff)
  • Open employment options. (Students in Year 11 & 12 participate in whole school work experience programs and participate independently in employment)
  • Independent work experience options. (Students are independently travel trained to a supported Employment site for 1 day per week)
  • Financial support of families and students with disabilities.
  • Welfare, advocacy, Legal and residential services.

The Special Education Unit at J.J. Cahill Memorial High School believes that working in partnership
ensures that students who have difficulties learning will be given the best possible opportunities to succeed.

Through collaborative planning we hope that we can successfully move students from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational training,
integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, independent living and or community participation.