Personalising learning - Meet Paul, Janelle and their daughter Caitlin


Paul and Janelle’s daughter, Caitlin, is 16 years old and currently in Year 10 at her local Government high school. Caitlin loves books and her favourite subject is Maths. Caitlin has Cerebral Palsy, which impacts her physical capacity and at times she uses a wheelchair to support her mobility.

When Caitlin first enrolled in Year 7, Paul and Janelle were anxious about how she would transition from primary school to high school, but the high school’s Principal, Vicki, and Caitlin’s assigned Support Teacher were able to provide a clear strategy and transition plan that included school visits, meeting staff and getting to know the high school environment.

Important information from Caitlin’s primary school was passed on to the high school to help with their planning ready for Caitlin to start Year 7 as smoothly as possible. The high school also made building modifications, including ramps and disabled toilet facilities, during the school holidays ready for Caitlin to start.

Caitlin’s high school receives additional annual funding into their School Resource Package to help support Caitlin’s learning needs. This funding is the same amount that was provided to her primary school. Government schools receive extra funding ranging from $5,000 to $36,000 per student enrolled with a disability each year to support teaching and learning programmes to meet their learning needs.

Vicki and other school staff talk regularly with Paul, Janelle and Caitlin to plan for Caitlin’s needs throughout her high school years. Each year, Vicki has clearly outlined what support and funding the school provides for Caitlin to personalise her learning.

The school uses the extra funding to support the following programmes for Caitlin through Years 7 to 10:

  • Teacher Assistant support in relation to practical lessons such as Art, Health and Physical Education, and Design and Technologies to support Caitlin’s involvement in these subjects and adapt some of the materials used.
  • The purchase of specific assistive technology to access and engage with the same literacy and numeracy programmes as her peers.
  • Time to meet with her occupational therapist and physiotherapist from St Giles to support her access to all components of the learning programme. This includes the prescription of modified seating for Caitlin.

In Year 10, Caitlin’s programme also incorporates work experience at a local accounting firm, which is in line with her aspirations to study to become an accountant.

Next year Caitlin will be attending Year 11 at her local college and her parents are keen to understand the type of programme the college can offer to support her current learning needs and transition to further study. As part of her transition there has been discussions with Caitlin and her parents about her goals and aspirations.

A team of people from both the high school and college work with Caitlin and her parents to plan for college and future study at university. The high school staff and Caitlin’s family celebrate her achievements so far and the partnership they have formed throughout her high school years. Paul and Janelle are very excited about Caitlin’s future.

For more information about the programmes and funding support for learners with greater support needs, visit http://bit.ly/tased-students-with-disabilities


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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