Assessments and homework
Some students may find working on schoolwork at home without assistance challenging. Consider what a student can complete independently when assigning homework. Alternatively, consider not assigning homework to a class to give a student some time away from study.
Working with parents or carers to support a consistent homework routine at home can be helpful. This may involve doing homework in a distraction-free area at a set time when possible.
Some students may be anxious about completing assessments. It may be helpful to give them additional time beforehand to get to know the assessment outline and to prepare themselves.
Some students may feel more confident if they can look through all of the questions when the assessment commences.
Breaking down an assessment into smaller steps can help students who are anxious or who find organisation challenging.
Some students may require adjustments to assessments based on their personalised learning and support needs.
This may include additional time to complete assessments, reduced work, additional break times during assessments, or access to assistive technology.
Access our homework organisation visual.
Lockers or storage areas
In settings that use lockers or storage areas, students often need to access their locker or belongings multiple times in a day.
These areas can be noisy and crowded, and some lockers or storage areas may be less accessible than others.
Consider locker location and layout when assigning or planning lockers. If a student finds noise levels or crowds distressing, a locker located on the end, or within a smaller locker area, may be more suited to them.
If a student uses a wheelchair or other mobility supports, determine an accessible height and location for storage. Provide a storage area close to where classes are held.
A storage area located near student learning and support staff, or a trusted teacher, may be beneficial to students who experience anxiety, or who can benefit from support with their organisation skills.
Locker organisation strategies may be important for students who find organisation challenging.
Safety drills and first aid
Unexpected safety drills may upset some students. This can be more difficult if there are lots of other students around or unfamiliar people such as emergency service workers. Consider preparing a student for planned safety drills.
Pair them with a buddy or staff member they feel safe with. Noise-reducing headphones may help if a student finds the noise of the alarms upsetting.
Some students may not know how to tell an adult if there is an emergency, or what to do in an emergency or emergency drill.
Consider making time for demonstrating and practising what to do. Consider accessibility of evacuation points and procedures for students with diverse needs.
For a student who is Deaf, deaf or hard of hearing, flashing lights and a buddy system for drills may be helpful.
Some students may be distressed by blood or bandages or refuse to have an ice pack or medication. Talk to a student’s parents or carers to identify the best way to manage an unexpected injury or illness.
Some students may have difficulty communicating that they are in pain or unwell. Talk to parents or carers about possible signs of pain to look out for, such as grimacing, and the best method for letting a student know what first aid is being applied.
Encourage gestures or other methods of communication to work out what may be happening.
For a student who is blind or low vision, talk aloud so they know what first aid is being applied.
Excursions and camps
Some students may need adjustments so they can participate in excursions and camps. Consider discussing with parents or carers what adjustments their child may need.
It can be helpful to tell the student what will happen or provide a visual schedule or social story. This can include what behaviours are expected.
Consider pairing the student with a buddy student who can model appropriate behaviours or be a safe person if they feel anxious.
Some students may need to take short breaks or rests. Plan the schedule and activities accordingly.
Plan excursions in wheelchair accessible locations if relevant. Plan transportation accordingly.
Plan excursions with Braille or tactile signage if relevant. Venues which include audio guides, speech-to-text, captioned materials or engage other senses are a great option. It is important to orientate a student who is blind or has low vision to the new environment.
Consider the health needs of a student if relevant when organising an excursion or camp.
Out of routine activities
Changes in routine, including teacher absence, can be upsetting for some students, particularly students with disability. When possible, notifying parents or carers and the student of an absence in advance can be helpful as you can work together to prepare for the change.
Some helpful strategies to support students when out of routine activities occur may include:
- Have a system in place to communicate to casual teachers the specific routines and teaching tips that the usual classroom teacher uses
- Let students know of out of routine activities in advance and what it will involve. A visual schedule or school story may be helpful for some students.
- Assemblies or other large gatherings may worry some students. It may help to let a student sit where they feel safe - perhaps near their Teacher, School Learning Support Officer (SLSO), Aboriginal SLSO or Aboriginal Education Officer (AEO). As they feel less anxious encourage them to sit closer to their peers.
- Performing in front of others or receiving awards may make some students anxious. Start at a level that does not cause them significant anxiety, and build from there. Prepare students in advance if necessary and consider rehearsal techniques.
- Noise-reducing headphones may help a student who is upset by loud assemblies or gatherings.
Transitions during the day
Some students may find transitions between activities and settings challenging. Some students may be upset or anxious about the change and may demonstrate challenging behaviours or be distracted during a transition. Below are some strategies that may support a student with disability successfully transitioning throughout the day.
Prepare students for transitions. Provide them with clear instructions for what they will do (for example, pack up your paper and pencils; put your hat on) and what behaviour is expected (for example, ‘We are going to pack up quietly. We are going to keep our hands to ourselves’) may also be helpful. Information about how long they have to transition may also be needed.
Students find it easier to transition from one activity to another when it is part of their normal routine. Consider having a clear routine. You could provide students with a visual schedule so they can visualise what is coming up. Some students may need reminders throughout the day to look at the schedule. Access our class schedule.
Look for opportunities to encourage students for their part in appropriate and successful transitions. Consider acknowledging their efforts for prompt transitions or for following instructions well.
Some students with disability may need additional support with knowing how to transition. Short videos showing how to pack up, walk from one class to another, or line up to go home may help. Stories that outline a transition may also help.
Give opportunities to practice transitions that maybe overwhelming in less stressful scenarios. For example, students could practise transitioning to the playground outside of break times (when noise levels are reduced) .
School Excellence Framework alignment
Wellbeing, Effective classroom practice
Australian Professional Standards for Teachers alignment
Standard 1: Know students and how they learn
This resource has been designed to guide primary teachers to reflect on the supports students may require with transitions and out of routine activities.
November 2021. Share your feedback here