Communication is key at Verney Road

Shepparton’s Verney Road School’s dedication to inclusive communication has been shortlisted for a prestigious government award.

The school’s use of nonverbal and verbal communication strategies has made it a finalist for the Victorian Education Excellence Award for Outstanding Inclusive Education.

The award accompanies a grant of up to $25,000 which would be used to advance the school’s future goals.

The choice in the way information is delivered across the specialised school is thoroughly developed and includes a range of strategies including the use of visual aids.

Verney Road School principal Angela Buxton nominated the school’s teachers and support staff for their three years of tireless contribution in making the school’s communication inclusive.

“We have students with a wide range of communication needs so this program directly allows all students to communicate with each other and the broader community,” Ms Buxton said.

She said winning the award would help develop the program in the wider community.

“It’s one thing to have an inclusive system within the school but students also need to be able to communicate when they are outside the school environment,” she said.

Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp congratulated the school for its inspirational work in helping young people thrive.

“Our teachers, principals and education professionals do a crucial job in educating young people in Shepparton, and it’s great to see the acknowledgement of local residents who dedicate their careers to education,” Mr Gepp said.

The school is waiting in anticipation for World Teacher Day on Friday, October 25, when the winner will be announced.

Article by Morgan Dyer. Published in the Shepparton News on Friday 4th October 2019.

Verney Road School

‘Every child will have a voice’ is the mantra of staff at Verney Road School in Shepparton. The school provides the best opportunity for all children to have a meaningful and worthwhile education. Staff optimise communication, abilities, independence and enhance self-esteem and prepare each individual for a purposeful pathway into adulthood.

Verney Road School began a change process in 2016 aimed at making learning accessible to every student. Led by the communications team, the school implemented Augmentative and Alternative Communication, introducing the use of a variety of methods and tools to make it easier for students to communicate. This communication program has expanded across the whole school.

The change program has continued to be implemented in a number of stages including whole-staff professional learning, development of AAC tools and resources and one-on-one consultation with staff and parents.

This year a ‘Communications Champions’ committee was introduced to further promote and support use of AAC across the school.

The program has yielded positive results, with improvements recorded in a number of areas including student cognitive engagement, student voice and agency, and attitude to school.

The team has also been able to offer support to other schools and to speech pathologists who have visited the school to observe this program.

Source: Victorian Education Excellence Awards – Department of Education & Training