The Centre of excellence (CoE) is the heart of Insight. It will run and coordinate a network of Satellite Mainstream Specialist Primary Units, to be established at Government and low-fee independent mainstream schools in Victoria, and InsightOut, an innovative Mobile Classroom Program designed to reach blind and vision impaired students in remote urban and country areas, as well as Professional Development, Secondary Coaching, Insight’s Life Management Program and Insight-Monash University cooperation, including the new Bachelor of Education (Special Education) student placement at Berwick, research into blindness-specific education and related areas, and links with international research. It will also provide for the everyday operation of Insight, including administration, staff amenities, therapy rooms and gardens. Essential independent living skills and orientation and mobility will take place in/from this building and visiting teachers and specialists will use the CoE.
The first satellite mainstream specialist primary units (named the XXX-Insight Unit) will open in the northern and outer western suburbs of Melbourne so that students can access local specialist education. Each school will open with 1 or 2 classes depending on enrolment numbers, with 8-10 students per class. Each class has a specialist teacher and one teacher’s aide.
Insight plans for units in Melbourne and in the country (Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Albury/Wodonga) to be established over the next few years. The Insight Centre of Excellence is at the heart of these units and drives content and quality. The services provided by the Insight CoE to the specialist units include:
- Curriculum assistance
- Recruitment of a specialist teacher and trained aide per class
- Expanded Core Curriculum
- ILP (negotiated Individual Learning Plan) co-management
- Material selection and assistance
- The Hugh Williamson Foundation Life Management Program
- and most of all, continuity and Quality Control in education.
Insight provides the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) and extra-curricular activities to all Insight hub primary school students, to each of the satellite mainstream specialist primary unit partners and through the InsightOut Mobile Classrooms. For secondary education, Insight will provide secondary students at mainstream partner schools with curriculum coaching and tutoring at a negotiated frequency to enhance the learning of mathematics, science, research, tactile and technological skills and to catch up on school work. Insight’s support is aligned with the students’ immediate mainstream curriculum needs.
The Hugh Williamson Foundation Life Management Program incorporates Insight Support Skills, Parent Support Program, Early Learning Program (ages 0-6) and Life Transition Program. Commenced in 2012, the HWFLMP is for both the young person and her family. The Program is available to all children in Victoria at Insight Specialist Primary School, through the Centre of Excellence in Berwick and via the InsightOut Mobile Classrooms in any community (subject to demand).
- The Insight Support Skills Program is delivered at an agreed frequency to mainstream peer groups over the academic year. It offers students the opportunity to develop and refine their skills across the Expanded Core Curriculum within a peer group and with the assistance of expert staff, resources and facilities.
- The Parent Support Program and Early Learning Program provide parents of young blind and vision impaired children with guidance, training and support, and children aged 0-6 with early learning experiences.
- The Life Transition Program provides life/study/work transition assistance for students moving from Insight or a mainstream primary school to a mainstream secondary school, from secondary school to work/tertiary studies and from tertiary studies to the workplace. Participant age range is from 5 to young adult (post tertiary). Starting after 2016.
- Professional Development Programs
Insight is committed to the provision of high-quality initial and ongoing education for mainstream teachers and aides engaged in the education of students with vision impairments. From 2012 Insight is providing professional development programs to assist teachers and schools and ensure they are equipped to provide blind children with an enriching academic education in the mainstream setting.
- Monash University Faculty of Education Student Placement
Student placement/project development offered to Monash University students at Insight’s Berwick Specialist Primary School.
While the benefits of specialist education are unquestionable, the tyranny of distance means that families and students often compromise and opt for local schools. The Insight network overcomes this problem. Specialist education will be available to students across Melbourne and Victoria.