Secondary Education

The Burwood East SDS secondary school comprises of 5 secondary classes and 1 Transition class for students aged 16 – 18 years. The Secondary School works towards developing independence and learning that will prepare them for their post-school life. Curriculum focus is VELS driven and uniquely tailored to each student’s needs via their Individual Learning Plan. Programs vary across the classrooms, reflecting the needs and ages of the students. They all incorporate:

Personal and Social Competence


Students in the Secondary School work closely with our Speech Therapist to determine an appropriate method of communication. Students use their language and communication support to access Literacy activities and language throughout their day. Our school is also equipped with a Library where students borrow and return books of interest. Teachers are skilled with Key Word Signing, PECS, Makaton and other methods of communication to support our students.


Students are encouraged to develop relevant maths skills through a variety of teaching methods. Supportive equipment and sequenced lessons allow the students to explore and learn concepts such as Time, Money, Space and Number in the classroom then transfer these skills to the school and outer school community.

Other curriculum areas include The Arts, Health and PE, Humanities, Science and ICT. The content of these areas are student/class specific and goals are developed in each Individual Education Plans where appropriate.

Recreation, Leisure and Work Skills

Transition from school into post school options drives the content of this curriculum area. A variety of activities where students learn Independent living skills such as cleaning, meal preparation, duties or leisure activities. Students may also be involved in tertiary placements, and work experience either on campus or in the wider community.


The Transition program aims to provide Secondary students (16+ years) with a curriculum that supports their post school options.

Personal and Social Competence

This area has components which underpin daily life by addressing issues such as self esteem, self confidence and independence. Students are encouraged to be independent young adults and succeed at what they attempt. They will take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme (Bridge Award Level 1 or 2). Competence includes aspects of

functional literacy
functional numeracy such as recognising times on the clock and handling money
personal care (including health, hygiene, healthy eating)
problem solving
being responsible for self
respect and care for others


Students practise writing clearly, keeping a daily timetable and recording where they have been on their planned excursions. They read instructions on packets and computer dialogue boxes, fill in forms on the library computer catalogue, follow directions on their fitness charts at the gym, change settings on the digital camera. They take part in group discussions to plan excursions, may be a member of the Student Representative Council, listen to directions from unfamiliar people. In the community they follow signs to get to a destination, observe and obey road signals, shop for food.


Students anticipate events by reading the clock, use a digital clock to read timetables for public transport, find the correct platform at busy railway stations. They use and extend their skills in real-life situations such as buying their lunch or a drink, paying entrance fees at different venues, using ticket machines on the railway station platform. They prepare food, set tables and distribute items.

Personal care

Students change into appropriate clothing for recreation and leisure activities. They shower and change into other clothes after sport, using shampoo, soap and deodorant. They are responsible for their belongings including their clothes and equipment (goggles, iPods etc). They make their lunch or a snack.


Students are given the opportunity to use kitchen appliances such as sandwich press, sandwich toaster, microwave and electric jug to help them prepare simple meals and snacks. Staff provide supervision and encouragement. Road safety is practised whenever on excursion and recognition of common signs forms part of the literacy program. Students will extend their expressive and receptive language skills to enable them to participate as fully and safely as possible in all activities.