Beldon Education Support Centre (ESC) was established in 1985 as a stand-alone building on the Beldon Primary School site. Although Beldon ESC is physically separate to the primary school, there is a seamless connection between the two in the form of common school policies and administrative practices, as well as shared facilities, teaching expertise, newsletters and the website. The partnership, although informal, provides students at the Centre with extraordinary learning opportunities. Staff from both schools share duty-of-care across the combined campus. The Beldon ESC and Beldon Primary School occupy a large, well-fenced site, sharing numerous facilities such as the Pre-primary room, art room, kitchen and large garden area.
Parents choose Beldon ESC as the programs run at the Centre are ideal for their children’s needs. The Centre’s reputation is spread via “word of mouth”, promoting the quality of its exceptional, individualised and well-resourced early years program (K-2); the Early Intervention Autism Program; and the improved outcomes as an Independent Public School (IPS) with better facilities and a higher profile. As the Centre is without a local intake area, the school uses proximity to the school as its main criteria for prioritising enrolments.
Children who live outside the Beldon Primary School catchment area are transported to and from school on a contract bus. The two institutions work together for families with both mainstream, and special needs students.
The Centre has a Principal, specialised teachers and education assistants, who are all trained in teaching children with disabilities. Staffing is carefully managed through a comprehensive workforce plan. Teachers are matched to classes according to special needs and interests, and the staff turnover is very low. The large growth in the number of education assistants has been matched by a significant growth in their duties as para-professionals. Education assistants at the Centre contribute to the instructional and assessment expertise within the classrooms through productive partnerships with teachers.
The Centre values the partnerships it has with the parents and wider school community, including therapy providers.
The Centre’s ethos, “Aspire to go Beyond” is well established and well regarded in the surrounding district, as evidenced by a rapid growth in enrolments. The tone of the Centre is best described as caring, quiet and steady, with a clear focus on individualised instruction within a shared school environment alongside Beldon Primary School.