Inclusive end to primary school helps smooth transition for students

Dressing up and arriving at their Year 6 farewell in a limousine was just one small way recent Hamilton South Public School graduates were included in end of year celebrations.

Year 6 students in the school’s three class support unit listed “having fun learning”, “making friends” and “being awesome” as some of the best parts of their experience at primary school.

Students particularly enjoyed the Year 6 Mini Fete, where they ran their own stall, managed the money vouchers that were a COVID essential and raised money with their peers for the Year 6 gift.

Sue Estens, who was the principal at Hamilton South until she retired at the end of 2020, said ensuring students had the chance to be part of everyday rituals that marked the end of primary school felt essential.

“Inclusion is not an expectation or an ‘add on,’ it is embedded at the school. It is ‘the norm’.”

“The students are included in all activities at their individualised level, and they work with their stage-appropriate peers wherever possible. In 2018 when the school surveyed staff and the parent community on what were the values of Hamilton South Public School – Inclusion was the highest ranked value.”

Students who attend the support unit at Hamilton are grouped primarily around peer groups, and all students have an individual education plan developed by their educators in collaboration with their family.

Teachers across the school were provided with support to develop a system to record adjustments and accommodations made for individual students within the school.

The school has regularly held workshops for all staff to provide professional learning related to Disability Standards for Education, and the Learning and Support team meets regularly.

Eight Year 6 students from the school’s support unit moved on to high school in 2021, with seven of the students moving together to local Newcastle High School – continuing strong friendships.

We asked students at Hamilton South: What have been some of the fun things you’ve been doing to celebrate finishing Year 6?

• Wearing Year 6 shirt.

• Visiting the High School.

• Being part of the Awesome Class!

• Looking Forward to Graduation Ceremony.

Want to learn more about supporting inclusion at your school? Read our Inclusive Education Statement for students with disability.

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