Accelerated Learning Program (ALP)
The Accelerated Learning Program at Garran Primary is a valued structure that provides for the needs of children at our school.
The Directorate policy states that all gifted and talented students must be catered for within their schools and that “School Principals are responsible for ensuring that there are established, effective and equitable processes and measures in place for the identification of gifted and talented students” (Gifted and Talented Student Policy, 2014)
The Directorate Policy outlines the roles and responsibilities of school principals and staff in implementing identification procedures and appropriate educational provisions and strategies to meet the needs of all gifted and talented students. The accompanying fact sheets, located at http://www.det.act.gov.au/teaching_and_learning/curriculum_programs/g-and-talented-education state that “Gifted and talented students have different learning needs from those of their age peers and therefore need special educational planning to support them in developing their potential” (Gifted and Talented Identification, 2014). The Fact Sheets also provide the Directorate’s definition of giftedness. “Giftedness refers to a student’s outstanding natural abilities or aptitudes, located in one or more domains: intellectual, creative, social, perceptual or physical, placing that student in the top 10% of age peers” (Giftedness and Talent, 2014).
The Garran Primary School Gifted and Talented (G & T) Committee discussed how the ALP program could be tweaked to ensure that school procedures and approaches complied with this policy.
There are two main categories of giftedness. The Garran Accelerated Learning Program specifically focuses on the ‘mental’ not the ‘physical’ category. Potential to perform well in reasoning and problem solving at an accelerated pace is a basis for inclusion.
Our procedures that are derived from the ACT Gifted and Talented Policy, as outlined above, recognise that some gifted students may not easily be identified because of the many factors that can mask the expression of giftedness. Gifted and talented students are found in all communities regardless of their cultural, socio-economic or ethnic background. There are gifted students who also present with one or more disabilities or other factors that make identification more complex.
As part of our ongoing commitment to ensure that Garran Primary School provides the highest quality educational programs including catering for the need of students who are gifted, all students across the school undertake assessments to pinpoint their thinking capacity (cognitive ability testing) and potential. These assessments provided additional information that contributed to the selection of students in the ALP classes.
The process of being offered a position in the ALP program is as follows:
- The results of the cognitive assessment given to every child enrolled at Garran Primary were scrutinised.
- Parents, teacher and school based nominations are obtained and considered by the G&T Committee in consultation with classroom teachers and the school psychologist (as required) for inclusion into ALP.
- Offers into the program are made and either accepted or declined by a child’s parents.
Please Note: ALP classes are populated based on academic potential. Although consideration is given to class sizes children are not precluded from the program based on this criterion. Conversely, if a mainstream program would best cater for a child’s academic and / or social needs then they will be placed in a mainstream class.
Garran Maths Group Placements
Maths Groups at Garran Primary School are constructed differently to ALP classes. Whereas ALP is selected on thinking capabilities (cognitive ability) and potential, maths groups are formulated on performance. Being in the extension maths program is independent of being in the ALP.
Accelerated Learning Program Nomination Process
Eligibility to the ALP program will be called for annually, as has been the practice in the past. All Kindergarten parents and those parents that feel a reassessment is warranted are welcome to apply.
- Parent Information session Week 7 Term 3
- Parent Nominations due Week 1 Term 4 Friday
- Teacher Nominations due Week 1 Term 4 Friday
- Recommendations made to Principal from G&T Committee Week 3 Friday
- Letters sent to parents Week 4
- Parent acceptances returned Week 5 Friday
- Appeals Process Week 6
- Release of class lists Week 1 Term 1
New Enrolments – Applications for ALP Places
Where practical, newly enrolled students whose parents wish for them to enter the Accelerated Learning Program on commencement at Garran Primary School will be given a cognitive ability tests at the time of enrolment. Students will be invited to the school on two separate occasions for approximately 1 hour each time. The results of the assessment, documentation provided by the parents (e.g. previous school reports, psychological assessment, etc.) and a parent questionnaire will determine program placement within the school.
New enrolments entering the mainstream program will be assessed by the classroom teacher and a recommendation for ALP provided to the G&T committee in Term 3 should it be necessary. These will be considered for placement in ALP for the following year.
Bicycles and Wheels
To bring a bicycle (scooter, skateboard or wheels) into school grounds, a child needs to:
- Walk their bicycle in the school grounds AT ALL TIMES.
- Store their bicycle in the allocated racks along the southern wall of the Patterson Building and lock it up with a secure chain.
- Enter and leave the bike storage area from the Eastern end (from the basketball asphalt court end ) only.
- Not interfere or play with the bicycles of others stored in the rack area.
- Participate in briefings with teachers about riding safely and road safety
- Try and ride as safely as possible to and from school; this includes dismounting at any designated road crossings to cross-roads and wearing a helmet.
Garran Primary has a Year 5 and Year 6 band. During term one, all Year Five students are assessed for inclusion in the Instrumental Music Program ACT (IMP). Twenty-two students are selected to receive an instrument and a specialist music teacher from IMP supplies tuition. Garran Primary is a brass band school and provides a teacher to assist with the program. Students are expected to remain in the program for two years and learn musical theory and the practical elements of playing an instrument such as the trumpet, trombone, tuba, euphonium, French horn and percussion. Students who are selected to be part of the band program are required to pay a nominal fee to cover instrument hire, tuition, music scores, repairs, insurance and buses for combined band practices.
Information Communication Technologies
Currently we have a range of technology embedded into our classrooms; such as Interactive Whiteboards, Ipads and Chromebooks, as well as our ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) program. All year 5 and 6 students are invited be a part of the school’s ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) program. We provide lockers for the computers to be stored in when at school, and students are encouraged to take their device to and from school to enhance their home learning. Chrome Books are the preferred device at our school.
The school’s outdoor education program enables students to further their learning and social skills development in a non-school setting. Camps may have a cultural, environmental or outdoor emphasis and are an important aspect of the educational programs offered at our school. School camps are an integral component of the school’s program.
Year 5 and 6 – Camp Cooba
Year 3 and 4 – Birrigai
Christian Education in Schools (CEIS)
It is currently legislated that CEIS be run in schools if parents request to have it. At Garran documentation is sent home and children can be given permission by a parent or caregiver to take part in this program. CEIS occurs once per term and is run by volunteers from local churches. Year groups are rostered for a one-hour session and one teacher per year group supervises each session. Students not taking part continue with their normal classroom program.
The school uses the following five guiding principles when forming classes for each year. These principles are:
- To form classes and start the year with the lowest practical class size. This means sometimes have multi-age or composite classes, and
- Students should be placed in the class where they will have the greatest potential for academic success; and
- Students should be placed in the class where they will have the greatest potential for social success.
- Where possible students should be able to experience a range of teaching styles (different teachers) during their primary school years; and
- Where possible students should be able to experience a range of different classroom settings during their primary school years.
Whilst there are very sound educational reasons for these principles, every child is individual, and we encourage you to contact the school if you feel that there are any things to take into consideration when placing your child into a class next year.
Dogs at School
Garran Primary acts in accordance with the Dog Control Act 1975 that states;
A person shall not:
- take a dog into the grounds of a school at a time when pupils are in those grounds
- take a dog—within 10 metres of an apparatus or construction that is designed for play by children
- take a dog onto a field or playing area on which organised sport is being played.
In this section, “dog” does not include a guide dog that is accompanying a blind person or a hearing dog that is accompanying a deaf person.
We understand that dogs often accompany adults to school to pick up children but ask that they stay at the edge of the school ground at all times.
Parents/Carers are welcome to apply to enrol/transfer their son or daughter at any time during the school year using an online application form. Full details are available from the Education Directorate’s website; https://www.education.act.gov.au/school_education/enrolling_in_an_act_public_school
Garran Primary is a Preschool to Year 6 School. Preschool students attend 5 days each fortnight from 9:00am to 3:00pm and must be 4 years of age by 30 April in the year they commence preschool. All other students attend 9:00am to 3:00pm 5 days a week.
Priority Enrolment Area (PEA)
The Education Directorate places a suburb restriction on who can be enrolled at a school, this is called the school’s capacity. This is known as the school’s Priority Enrolment Areas (PEA’s). Priority Enrolment Area maps are available on the ACT education Directorate website https://www.education.act.gov.au/school_education/enrolling_in_an_act_public_school/priority_placement_areas
The school is required to accommodate all students K-6 who live within its Priority Enrolment Area. Families who have a sibling already enrolled at the school, may enrol other siblings if not living in the PEA. At present Garran PEA only includes the suburb of Garran.
Children who turn four by 30 April each year are able to enrol at preschool. Garran Primary has two preschool classes. Enrolments are only considered from the Priority Enrolment Area or for those students that have siblings at Garran Primary. The number of PEA enrolments at Garran Primary can exceed the number of places available, and any excess enrolments will be encouraged to attend alternative local preschools. In consultation with local area schools, the Directorate will;
- nominate local area schools that have identified capacity for preschool;
Please note: Any child enrolled at an out of area preschool, due to capacity issues at their priority enrolment (PEA) area school, can return to their PEA school for Kindergarten. These families need to submit an enrolment for Kindergarten as outlined below.
A number of factors are considered when preschool enrolments exceed the places available. These may include additional needs and student wellbeing as well as any legal considerations. When all other avenues are exhausted, the last option is to grant enrolment according proximity to school. Please contact the Directorate for further details.
New enrolments who are residing in the current PEA are accepted throughout the year.
Children who turn five by April 30 of the current enrolment year are eligible for enrolment in Kindergarten. When transferring form interstate or overseas, processing the enrolment application will commence once families are residing in the ACT.
Applications for enrolment can only be submitted via an online form provided by the Education Directorate. https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/app/answers/detail/a_id/1590/~/act-government-school-
To enrol your child, you will be asked to provide documentation that indicates at time of enrolment your child and your family reside in the school’s PEA. Additional information regarding what documentation will need to be provided can be found at; enrolmenthttp://www.det.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/57627/enrolment_form.The school will contact you by email to request further documentation if required.
Review and Appeals processes
A Review and Appeals Process is available in all schools. Parents/cares seeking a formal review of their application should put this in writing to the principal. An appeal can be made to the Education Directorate if the school review has been unsuccessful and Parents/Carers would like to further pursue a place for their child at the school.
UNSW Global Assessments specialises in school assessments including ICAS which is conducted annually in Australia and over 20 countries globally. At Garran, we give our students the opportunity to take part in the English, Mathematics and Science assessments available for primary students in years 3-6. Parents wishing for their children to take part can choose all or some of the available assessments for their child to enter. Each assessment carries a fee.
Approximately six weeks after students’ responses are received for processing, a school report package is posted back to school. Each comprehensive school report comprises eight standard sections, including:
* a summary of results for all year levels at your school
* results on a common scale for each year level
* a year level summary
* an analysis by skill area within each subject for each year level
* question analysis from easy to difficult for each year level
* a student response analysis for each year level
* students’ results for each year level in alphabetical order
* students’ results for each year level in order of achievement.
In addition to a student report, each student that participates receives a certificate which is awarded on the following basis:
High Distinction Certificate: top 1% of participants Distinction Certificate: the next 10% of participants Credit Certificate: the next 25% of participants Merit Certificate: the next 10% of participants Participation Certificate: for all remaining participants.
These assessments are scheduled by ICAS and need to be administered on a particular day to keep the authenticity of the tests. Families at Garran are offered entry into ICAS at the beginning of each school year. Parents or carers nominate which of the three offered assessments they wish their child to take part in and pay the associated fee.
Members of the executive team supervise each ICAS assessment. These assessments occur at 8.00am in the specified classrooms on the day specified by ICAS and advertised by the school.
Individual Learning Plan (ILP) process
All students with additional needs have an Individual Learning Plan (ILP). The ILP outlines specific goals being worked on at school by the teacher and student.
The ILP team for each student includes parents/carers, class teacher, executive teacher and other interested parties such as the school psychologist and therapists.
At Garran Primary School the purpose of the Learning Journey is to facilitate a student-centred conference between a child and his/her parent. The focus of this reporting process is direct viewing of your child’s learning activities and progress. The Learning Journey:
- Is led by your child;
- Can be supported by parents asking clarifying questions;
- Reinforces self-awareness of your child’s achievements; and
- Is designed to take about 30-40 minutes for all K to Year 6 students.
The Learning Journey may also prompt some questions that you may wish to discuss with your child’s teacher. As always you are welcome to make an appointment to discuss any aspect of your child’s learning. Should you wish to have such a discussion please do this at a time other than at the Learning Journey, as the focus of these sessions is on child-parent communication.
We look forward to seeing parents during this important part of our reporting process.
Learning Support Unit (LSU)
Garran Primary School has an LSU which consists of a maximum of eight students, supported by a teacher and a learning support assistant (LSA). The students in our LSU are placed by the directorate based on a preference process facilitated by Disability Education. This process sits outside our regular enrolment procedures for our Priority Enrolment Area (PEA). Some students in the LSU may attract additional support outside the teacher/LSA model based on their individual needs through the appraisal process.
Students in our LSU have their own individual program based on their ILP (see below). They access mainstream classes at appropriate times during the week for integration/inclusion that support their social and academic goals as per their ILP. This is organised so that LSU students are familiar with their mainstream class teacher and peers so that meaningful relationships can be developed, fostered and maintained as they progress through their primary school years at Garran.
The ILP process runs throughout the year:
The Parent Link initiative at Garran Primary aims to identify a parent link person for each class who can provide a secondary, or extra, layer of communication for families in their child’s class. Communication with and through the Parent Link person is voluntary and considerate of families’ privacy.
The Parent Link idea is a joint school and P&C initiative that provides opportunities for each link person to:
- request contact information from class families for the purpose of facilitating communications between families that choose to share their details. Contact information can include email address, phone numbers and/or home address.
- using contact information for the purpose it is provided. i.e. to enhance school-home or family-to-family communication that assists school success.
- act as a secondary communication link for families as to how specific activities work for your class/school like homework, birthdays, school event, carnival etc.
- link families with similar interests, cultural or language background (if requested).
- provide advice about lunch orders, how the P&C works or who to talk to about matters that relate to their child, or even “when school goes back”.
- seek out the answer to “interesting” questions for families.
- use email and/or phone as your preferred communication avenue.
Our vision for the role does not include:
- undertaking an advocacy role for families;
- conducting meetings of parents;
- using the class communication list for commercial purposes;
- creating a huge workload for the Parent Link;
- centralised gift giving to teachers;
- sharing contact information with families who are not on the list.
Playground Supervision Procedures
Duty of care is of utmost importance at Garran Primary School. Not only is it the staff member on playground supervision who has a duty of care but it extends to all staff on the school grounds. Teachers take all reasonable measures to ensure the safety of any school student in their care. Students are informed where play areas are and where supervising teachers can be found. They are also aware of where to seek first aid in situations which demand it. Students are clearly informed of what constitutes safe activities and what areas are safe to play in through casual conversations, class meetings and assembly presentations.
We understand that it is vital for parents and carers to know where their child is at. Our schedule aims to keep parents well informed of their child/ren’s academic and social progress throughout the school year. We also encourage parents to make contact with their child’s class teacher at any time if they have any questions, need clarification or have any concerns. This can be done by emailing the class teacher directly, leaving a phone message at the school’s front office, emailing the school’s information address or in person.
See Saw is an avenue that is used throughout the whole year to keep parents and carers informed with what their child is doing at school, however at Garran we do not use it as a two-way communication tool. For more information on See Saw, see the See Saw section in this booklet.
- Information session from school executive
- Get to Know you Interview
- Welcome BBQ
- Formal school-based report
- Optional interview
- Three Way Interview
- Learning Journey
- Formal school-based report
- Optional interview
Students from years 3 – 6 select captains each year. Six other school leaders are also elected and these students take responsibility for running the school assemblies and assisting with other public functions and duties. Captains and leaders also act as ambassadors for Garran Primary School.
The established practice at Garran Primary School in the promotion of student leaders continues as a priority. Students of all ages are encouraged to accept leadership roles within small work groups, within the class and within the school.
All Year 6 students have the opportunity to nominate for elected positions including School Captains, School Leaders, House Captains, House Leaders and roles within Garran Government and Eco Rangers.
The expectations of year 6 and in particular the elected student leadership team are that they will conduct themselves with dignity in order to be an example to other students and be an asset to Garran Primary School.
The process for filling all of these formal leadership roles, apart from our school captains and school leaders, is undertaken at the start of each school year.
It is expected that children will experience some form of physical activity each school day. Class teachers are responsible for physical education and the explicit teaching of fundamental motor skills, as outlined in the Australian Curriculum.
In addition to this, we have our Gymfit program that operates at Garran Primary School each week. Information is sent out about this program at the beginning of each school year. Your child’s class is scheduled to have a 10-week block of 45 minute gym lessons with a qualified instructor. We also have various sporting professionals visit the school and deliver clinics for appropriate aged children. This program operates on the availability and timing of various sporting groups.
Cross Country Carnival
Track and field Carnival
Students compete in their house groups at each of these carnivals. Each child that takes part in an event earns points for their house group. The winning house is announced at a special ‘ribbon assembly’ after the carnival. Place getters in each event as well as age champions are also acknowledged at this assembly.
Student who have met qualifying times at each of these school carnivals are chosen to represent the school at the next level, South Weston. If any child qualifies at South Weston, they are able to go through and represent the school and their district at the ACT Carnival. This is the path through to territory and national representation.
Students in years 5 and 6 may choose to trial for various sports in order to represent their school and district at an ACT Carnival for that given sport. Information on this process is given to students as the sports trials are advertised. At times the school needs to run a trial to select the students who will represent the school as numbers at each trial are limited.
Students choosing to leave the school grounds without permission.
Infrequently students will choose to leave the school grounds without permission. When a student leaves the school grounds, initial attempts are made by staff to encourage and instruct the student back into the grounds. If the student refuse this request or proceeds out of direct sight of the staff member, a parent/carer is contacted as soon as possible and advised that the student is no longer in the care of the school. If the parent/carer and emergency contact cannot be contacted, the policy will be notified. It is not Garran Primary School’s procedures to chase or pursue students who have left the school grounds.
- Where possible a member of staff should follow or keep eyes on the student and call or contact the office or executive team. Responses should respond in line with the student’s Individual Risk Assessment and/or Behaviour Management Plan as appropriate.
- The member of staff following the student should remain in contact with the executive via a mobile phone.
- If required a member of the school executive will instruct the student to return to the school grounds.
- The executive or nominated staff member will inform the student’s parents.
- The police and Education Directorate will be advised if a child is missing/offsite and can’t be observed, or if the child’s parents/carers cannot be contacted.
Supporting documentation for a new school
Our executive staff and teachers receive a number of requests each year from families asking for supporting documentation or specific letters to support an application for their child into another school. Our aim is to give Garran students the best possible start in a new school or high school and our approach aims to give all children an equal opportunity.
Student Written Report
A student written report is compiled by class teachers each semester. This clear written information outlines details of academic achievement and the child’s attitude and approach to learning. It also includes attitudes to learning as well as descriptions of strengths and recommendations for improvement. A lot of time is taken to accurately prepare this report. It is signed by both the Principal and the class teacher. This report can be utilised by parents if a reference or summary of achievement is requested by the new school, from the Garran Primary classroom teacher or Principal. A new school may make contact with relevant staff at Garran Primary School for further information, if it is required
Sun Smart Policy
Three Way Interviews
What is a Three-Way Interview (or Student-Led Conference)?
Three-Way interviews are a conversation between the student, their parents and their teacher. It is a conversation led by the student. These are scheduled for the beginning of term 3 each year at Garran.
Students and teachers prepare for the interview together at school. Parents organise a time to come to school and join with their child and the teacher for the meeting. Students lead the meeting. The triad sit together while students talk through their learning goals, strengths and areas to improve. It gives children an opportunity to share with parents, their growth and achievements as well as accepting accountability and responsibility for their learning.
Some of the benefits of Three-Wway interviews/conferences
- Students are given the opportunity to accept responsibility for their learning
- Student-parent communication is enhanced
- Students have an opportunity to demonstrate evidence of their learning
- Students learn the process of reflection and self-evaluation
- Students self-identify their areas of strength and development
- Students work on improving their organisational and oral communication skills
How to support your child during the interview/conference
- Be positive and encouraging towards your child as this can be a daunting process
- Give positive feedback for example; I am proud of….. It makes me happy when I see you have been working hard at…..I can see the effort you have put into……..
- Listen to your child share the booklet they have prepared
- Ask questions that might include how and why they chose certain strengths and goals to focus on
- Ask your child how you can help them achieve their goals
Do you have questions for the teacher about your child’s learning?
If you would like to discuss any of the things raised by your child further, please make another appointment to do this. The scheduled 15 minutes for the Three-Way conference goes very quickly and another time will need to be organised for longer conversations or in depth questions.
Valuables and “precious” items at school
Students are asked not to bring large sums of money or expensive items, like MP3 players, mobile phones or computer games to school unless prior arrangements have been made with the class teacher. For obvious logistical reasons, the school is unable to take responsibility for such items in the possession of students. Should the presence of such items hinder the delivery of learning programs or positive playground interactions, teachers will act to reduce such distraction.
Whilst the school recognises the use of mobile phones in some families for communication, mobile phones and phone watches must be deposited at the front office in the morning before school and should not be used during school hours. Students who need to contact family members should discuss their need with their teacher or front office staff.
Please note: The school is not offering to provide a lockable box for the storage of these valuable items and is unable to take responsibility for loss of these items – the same applies to staff members.
Year 6 End of Year Celebrations
Year 6 Graduation
To celebrate the end of their primary school years, a number of special events are planned for our year 6 students and their families.
Year 6 Gift to the School:
A specific fundraising event is organised by the year 6 teachers and supported by year 6 families in order to raise funds for a gift to the school from the current year 6 students. In the past this has been a cake/cupcake sale which takes place over recess and lunchtime on an organised date in term 3. Year 6 families are of the date of the sale and given direction on what products to use in their preparation of baked goods. The rest of the school community is informed of the cake sale date, dietary options and pricing through the school newsletter and phone app.
Funds raised from this event are used to cover costs associated with purchasing a gift for the school on behalf of the whole year 6 cohort. This gift is presented to the school as part of the year 6 graduation ceremony.
Year 6 Graduation Ceremony:
This formal event is run in the last week of the school year, in the school hall. Students are presented with their graduation certificates and special awards are given to year 6 children in a range of categories. All staff at Garran Primary School have input into the recipients of these special awards. Class based ‘Gold Awards’ are also presented during this ceremony.
Year 6 Graduation Dinner and Dance:
A committee of year 6 teachers and year 6 parent helpers is formed early in term 4 to plan and implement this themed event. The dinner/dance occurs in the last week of term 4 and includes a sit-down meal and a disco. Year 6 students pay a fee as outlined in the note that goes home towards covering costs of the meal, DJ and hall decorations. Year 5 students are invited to attend the disco after year 6 students have finished their meal and celebrations. Year 5 students pay for entry to the disco. Information is sent home to year 5 families indicating starting times and costs of disco entry.
Parents and members of the school community who are involved in the organisation of this event are able to be reimbursed for any expenses (as discussed through the organizing committee) by providing receipts to the school through the school’s Business Manager.
“We wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land we learn and connect on; the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people. We wish to acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region. We would also like to acknowledge and welcome other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may be visiting this website.“