Burwood East SDS believes that the best teaching and learning requires an holistic approach that takes in to account the students physical, emotional and intellectual development. Emphasis is placed on programs that develop functional academics, communication skills, personal and social skills and independence. Teaching and learning is based on student interests and strengths and self-esteem and dignity are strongly advocated. The school follows the DET curriculum guidelines.  Reporting and assessment is carried out using ABLES, the Abilities Based Learning and Education Support, tool recommended by DET

Each student has an ‘Individual Learning Plan’ which outlines yearly and longer term goals. This plan is determined by the teacher, parents and other specialist staff at the beginning of each year and is reviewed each semester.

The Early Education program concentrates on developing the skills and confidence children need to enter school life.
The Primary years develops personal and social abilities, personal communication and pre-academic and academic skills.
The Senior years of the students focuses is on skills and knowledge the students will require when they graduate from school at eighteen years of age. There is a focus on the development of vocational, personal, social, leisure and recreational skills that will assist the students to have a successful transition to post school life through the Futures for Young Adults Program run by the Department of Human and Health Services.