A Special School and Area Resource Centre
Goldfields Base School
Our Base school is comprised of 4 classes. We have three junior classes and one senior class. Our focus at Base is to meet the diverse learning, communication and sensory needs of our students. This is achieved through providing a variety of stimulating and focussed teaching and learning programmes which complement and incorporate the individual therapeutic programmes which our therapy team devise for each student.
All students have Individual Education Programmes (IEPs) in addition to a weekly timetable which reflects the Learning Areas and Key Competencies identified within the New Zealand Curriculum. Staff use a variety of communication aids; such as objects of reference, symbols, pictures, and assistive and augmentative aids, to support verbal and written language. These enable all students to engage in meaningful exchanges and learning experiences. Focussed approaches such as Intensive Interaction, CLDD and multidisciplinary interventions are used to further support and deepen engagement throughout the school day.
Two of our classes cater for students who have more complex learning and physical difficulties. In these higher needs classes our curriculum has an even more differentiated basis, with a multisensory-key competency based focus defining much of the curriculum offered to students. In these classes a much higher level of therapeutic and paraprofessional support is also apparent.
Throughout the school and indeed our wider community, a concerted effort is made to further develop a ‘Total Communication Environment’ where all students have a voice. Students and staff alike are exposed to and use: NZ language, signs, visual aids and te Reo to engage in meaningful conversations. This is particularly apparent at our base school and is reinforced by a wide array of ‘low and high tec’ resources. Thus whatever means of communication is preferred by an individual is validated and fully catered for.
Base school is a happy, vibrant part of Goldfields wider school. A place where students enjoy a full and focussed education.
Goldfields Senior School
The Senior School consists of three classes of students ranging from the ages of 14-21. The students' programmes of learning focus on the core curriculum areas for Goldfields School; English, Mathematics and Health and PE with an emphasis on developing skills and understanding that will help them to transition into the communities they will be a part of after school.
The students are offered learning experiences that reflect all areas of the New Zealand Curriculum:
English – Communication and Literacy through study, use and enjoyment of the language and literature
Mathematics – Developing skills that are able to be transferred into their daily lives; number knowledge, measurement, budgeting, sequencing
Health and PE - Hauora – Well-Being, Relationship skills, Self Esteem and Personal Identity, Roles, Rights and Responsibilities, Physiotherapy, Skills and Fitness programmes
The Arts – Expressions of self, contribution and communication
Technology - Science and Social Science contexts on which to develop rich and varied learning experiences
Learning Languages – Te Reo Maori, Total communication strategies, NZ sign language
The students and parents are able to select two areas of learning to focus on for a six month period. These classes range from photography to Science and Visual Arts. The work the students do go towards gaining ASDAN qualifications.
Education for Enterprise enhances what, and how, young people learn, to enable them to participate and contribute locally. All students have opportunities to develop the understanding of how to be part of a team and work towards a common goal. The students work in the school gardens, run a mini canteen, get creative with buttons and involved with mosaics.
Our local businesses offer our students placements to experience what is needed to be a successful employee and this in turn provides a context to learn new skills and to put known skills into practice. This programme involves the support of work coaches and specifically set goals linked closely to the Key Competencies.
Goldfields Satellite Network:
For the last 4 years we have worked in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education to better meet the needs of students who have special needs throughout our district. To this end we have developed a Strategic Plan which sees the development of four satellite classes, two in Paeroa and two in Te Aroha. These will compliment both our own school and mainstream schools.
Currently our Senior School, although only a short walk from our Base school, is a satellite unit based on Miller Avenue School campus. In addition to this we have a junior class in the main body of the school. This is staffed by our school staff and supported by our team of therapists. The students therefore enjoy the benefit of specialist teaching and support whilst having access to a variety of learning and social opportunities with their mainstreamed peers.
Next year we are very hopeful that we will be opening new classes in Te Aroha and we will update you on this position once we can confirm everything is in place.
Goldfields School an Area Resource Centre:
There are a number of aspects to this facility; the first being the Specialist Teacher Outreach Service (STOS). This service is dealt with in more detail in the Specialist Programmes and Services section of the website but in brief; we provide specialist teachers who can support students who are ORS funded but attend a mainstream school, and their staff. Currently we are working in 8 schools across the district and hope to see the service continue to grow as more people; especially parents, become aware of the service.
A less formal but very important role of our school is to support the learning needs of staff, particularly mainstream colleagues, who have little or no experience in supporting the educational needs of children who have special needs and attend their school. Each year dozens of teachers, teacher aides and other workers spend professional development time at Goldfields learning basic things like assessment, programme development, and differentiated supportive practice. Sharing of resources is an important aspect of this professional development too, particularly as many of the resources we have in school are ones we have specifically designed or differentiated to better meet the needs of children.
Whilst we are not a formal training agency we are committed to ensuring that best practice is shared throughout our wider school networks and that all students who have special needs have access to ever improved learning opportunities.
He Mahitahi … Working Together