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It’s a new school year, and we’re proud to see Berry Street School students return to their learning this week enthusiastic and hopeful.

Deputy Principal of Teaching and Learning, Maddie Witter, said “The beginning of a new school year always brings excitement, but our students have a strong sense of hope this year that their learning won’t be interrupted like in 2020 with COVID-19.

“Our school is an encouraging environment for students with positive routines in place. Teachers and families are ready to support our young people to thrive, achieve and belong,” she said.

About the Berry Street School

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The first Berry Street School campus opened in 2003 in Noble Park, and our school has since grown to 4 campuses across Victoria.

The Berry Street School is a specialist independent school that supports 170 students from years 7 to 12. Our students are at the centre of everything we do, and our teaching is designed to meet their individual needs.

Our school supports students who have become disengaged from mainstream education: they have either stopped attending or have been excluded. Students come from a variety of backgrounds, with some living in out-of-home care (foster, kinship and residential care). Many have experienced abuse, neglect and family violence, which means they often have gaps in their learning and can struggle in school.

To create a stable, supportive and flexible environment, our school uses the Berry Street Education Model which is informed by our approaches to trauma-informed learning and the science of wellbeing. Once students start with us, their enthusiasm, creativity and intelligence shine through quickly and they make big strides in their learning.

This is the perfect school for me, I feel supported and valued.

Berry Street School student

Benefits of the Berry Street School

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Our school supports students to:

  • learn to self-regulate so they can focus and concentrate better in class
  • develop an education plan with clear learning goals and outcomes, as well as broad life and behaviour goals
  • commit to their own measurable academic growth
  • learn strategies to become independent learners in their schooling, future pathway choices and adulthood.

Since being at Berry Street, I feel supported at school. I can complete my work knowing that my teachers want me to succeed and be myself.

Berry Street School student

Exciting developments that will enhance student learning

There are some changes this year that both students and teacher are excited about:

  • Using technology to enhance learning – using recently introduced online learning platform SeeSaw and iPads they received last year, students will continue to learn in ways that work best for them. For example, rather than writing a book report, students can take a photo of the book they’ve read and share their thoughts about it over a voice recording. Young people with learning disabilities benefit from hands on learning like this rather than traditional work sheets.
  • Individual student emails – students will learn practical skills such as how to organise their inbox, how to manage tone in emails and other professional protocols (for example, only using the ‘reply all’ function when appropriate). These lessons are now built into the school’s English curriculum and will help students in their future pathways.
  • Aiming high and challenging themselves – more students than ever before are enrolled in the intermediate level Victorian Certificate for Applied Learning (VCAL), taking a step up from the foundation level. In fact, enrolments at this VCAL level have increased by 300% since the start of 2020.

Despite the challenges of last year, on average young people went up 1.5 year levels in reading across the 4 campuses. Imagine what we can achieve when students’ rhythms and predictable routines are in place from the start.

We look forward to the year ahead and supporting our students towards a thriving future.

Read more about how we help children to learn

Buy a gift of books and craft to help support children and young people.