Personalising learning - Empowering Support Teachers

Support Teachers are teachers with special skills who support school and classroom teachers to improve outcomes for students with disability or additional support needs.

They regularly meet with specialist support staff, parents, school staff and other service providers to develop, implement and evaluate Individual Education Plans personalising learning for these students.

Support Teachers from around the state have just completed a series of professional learning workshops as part of the ongoing professional learning they do to build expertise and help them develop quality programs in schools for learners with disability.

Following on from these workshops is an ideal time to look more closely at what Support Teachers do in schools every day and how a Support Teacher would help a fictional student – Sam.

Example: Support Teachers' personalising learning

Sam is a Year 9 student who has an intellectual impairment and a severe heart condition. His class was going on a field excursion which would help all the students better understand the practical applications of what they were learning in class.

To assist Sam in attending the excursion, the school’s Support Teacher:
  • Contacted Sam’s parents to discuss the excursion, assess the possible risk factors and include them in his updated Medical Action Plan, which was then approved by Sam’s physician.
  • Made sure that all staff attending the excursion had updated their CPR training.
  • Worked with the school Principal and key staff to develop a Risk Management Plan to identify how to keep Sam safe.
  • With Sam’s teacher, created social scripts for Sam to look at on his iPad in the days before the excursion. The social scripts outlined where they were going, how they were going to get there, what the area looked like and the types of activities they would engage in.
  • With Sam’s teacher, created different activities for Sam to engage in during the excursion that looked the same as the other students but were tailored to his ability level.
  • Monitored Sam during the excursion for indicators of physical stress – Sam’s parents were ready to collect Sam immediately if any signs were detected.
  • With Sam’s teacher, created follow up tasks that Sam could engage in with the class, including the use of technology that allowed Sam to develop his own story of the excursion.

Sam thoroughly enjoyed the excursion and was able to gain similar learnings as other students in his class.

More about empowering Support Teachers

Support Teachers work collaboratively with other teachers, teacher assistants and other staff to plan for students using differentiated curriculum, personalised learning environments and assistive technologies within the framework of the Australian Curriculum.

All schools receive a Support Teacher staffing allocation which ranges from one day a week to more according to the need of the school. The support staff allocation is provided to schools to:

  • Help optimise the educational opportunities, engagement and learning outcomes for students with the highest educational needs.
  • Enhance collaboration with other professional support staff to ensure expertise from a range of services is provided.
  • Ensure learners have access to a relevant curriculum and effective instruction within a positive inclusive learning environment.

Support Teachers will meet once every term in their regions with these professional learning sessions having a strong focus on building networks with colleagues from other schools and professional support staff who also participate in these sessions, including Speech and Language Pathologists, Autism Consultants, Physical Impairment Co-ordinators, Deaf and Hearing Impaired Service staff, Vision Services staff and members of the Respectful Schools Support Team.

The first sessions for 2015, held in late February and early March, have included a focus on:
  • reporting on achievement of learning goals;
  • the new online resources that are being developed to assist the Support Teacher role;
  • how best to use professional reports prepared by Psychologists and Speech and Language Pathologists; and
  • collaboration with others on their ideas and areas of expertise.

For more information about the comprehensive programmes and funding support for learners with greater support needs, visit

Tasmania’s Government schools are supporting all learners in all schools through personalising learning.
Some learners have greater support needs and comprehensive programmes are providing all students with access to a full range of education opportunities.
Discover more about the support available…

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