Catholic schools embrace and celebrate diversity and difference, welcoming all members of the community as equal. At the heart of the work for Catholic education is the formation of each young person. With this mindset, inclusive learning experiences are designed to eliminate discrimination, actively engage all students in learning, and focus on growth and progress for all through a multi-tiered system of support that delivers inclusive education.
Visiting teachers in Victorian Catholic education are known as learning consultants or education officers and are part of the broader Learning Diversity team.
Learning consultants or education officers are teachers who have experience and specific expertise in supporting students with diverse learning, behavioural, health and wellbeing needs.
Schools are able to access services via an online consultation request with parental consent. This process involves a functional needs assessment and provision of relevant documentation to inform the most appropriate service from the Learning Diversity team. The consultation service provided may relate to hearing, vision, physical and chronic health impairments, academic progress, learning disorders, school refusal or poor attendance, or social/emotional, sensory or behavioural needs.
Service provision is primarily consultative, focusing on supporting the school to understand a student’s identified needs and make reasonable adjustments to maximise access and participation in education. At times, the service can be of a direct nature to facilitate evaluation of the adjustments or to further consult with the student regarding their needs. A key role of the service is to assess needs and the required supports through close liaison with the Program Support Group, and to link to appropriate educational supports and/or brokered services.
Services provided to school staff, students and parents/carers may include:
Learning consultants and education officers also maintain links with a range of external agencies (e.g. Hearing Australia, Cochlear Implant clinics, Statewide Vision Resource Centre, the Royal Children’s Hospital Education Institute and Ronald McDonald House). They engage in professional learning provided by service organisations such as Asthma Australia, Epilepsy Foundation, Victorian Deaf Education Institute and Diabetes Australia. They then provide this information to schools through targeted professional learning in specific schools or regionally.
Note: Each diocese may vary their approach and consultation process.