Newton Moore Education Support Centre

I am so proud of the work done by the Newton Moore Education Support Centre. Newton Moore is a school for high school aged students of all abilities in Bunbury; however, the school goes above and beyond to provide students with special needs and learning difficulties the support, resources and strategies they need to achieve their very best in all aspects of their education and in life. The school’s success can’t be attributed to just one thing alone, but its use of a positive behaviour support framework is a significant factor. It’s their whole-of-school framework where the school is proactive in teaching good behaviour through direct instruction; where school staff put a significant focus into making students aware of their feelings and emotions, which in turn helps students to self-regulate their behaviour; and where the school uses restorative practices to support students when they have problems and are in need of extra support.

The education support centre has a cohort of 70 students and shares the campus with Newton Moore Senior High School, a school which has a strong focus on inclusion not only within the school but also within the local businesses and community organisations. It’s these relationships that enable the education support centre’s upper school aged students to engage in a wide range of work experience programs throughout Bunbury, with placements available in construction, engineering, automotive, retail and administration. The focus on maintaining these strong relationships facilitates the very best outcomes for students and is another reason why the school has been so successful. It’s a testament not only to the school but also to the Bunbury business community. I have also had the privilege of hosting several Newton Moore Education Support Centre work experience students in my electorate office over the years. I continue to be impressed by the work ethic, resilience and focus of these great young people. The students are so enthusiastic, happy to be in our office, get in, do their best, get the job done and develop wonderful relationships with my staff. It really is a tribute to the students and their support staff.

The school also offers a range of in-house workplace learning centres. The centres nurture students’ skills and confidence to achieve success no matter their level of ability. The work centres include an off-campus workshop where students work to complete a Certificate I in Manufacturing. Throughout the term, students help design and manufacture furniture, toys and artwork which is then sold in the school’s standalone shop in Bunbury CBD called Item. Item itself is a workplace learning centre, teaching students about retail and administration. They also manufacture craft items that are for sale in the store as they work towards that Certificate I in Workplace Skills and Retail. The store offers amazing products with a focus on customer engagement, and is a must-visit. Finally, the work crew program offers students hands-on experience in landscaping and gardening, with students working towards a Certificate I in Agrifood Operations. They ensure that all equipment is well maintained and ready to use and that jobs are completed in a safe and timely way to the standard of the quality expected.

Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to visit the centre’s positive behaviour support big breakfast day—a fantastic day with so many happy, smiling faces of students, staff and special guests. This shows the positive behaviour support framework that is at this school. More recently, last month the school hold a whole-of-school expo, showcasing the amazing work of the students across all facets of their curriculum. The students are the focus of the day; they help teachers and support staff show off their exhibits to parents, caregivers, family and local businesses. Whilst the upper school focuses on the work experience program, seeing the students’ faces light up when talking about their schoolwork, the work crew, retail and work experience, and even seeing students take ownership of the products manufactured, is really inspiring.

Every time I get to visit the campus and meet the students and staff, I see why the school achieves such amazing results. I find that it isn’t just a single program or teacher; it’s the culture—a culture where students are enabled, emboldened and encouraged to break down barriers and achieve what they set their minds to; a culture under the leadership of principal Jo Van Der and her team, with the support of dedicated staff who put their students first. I just want them to keep up that fantastic work at Newton Moore Education Support Centre, offering these young people a wonderful future.