Mount Isa State Special School (MISSS) is located within the remote township of Mount Isa and is surrounded by large open spaces and native bush. MISSS invites enrolment for students aged between 5 and 18 years who have an intellectual impairment, may fall within the Autistic Spectrum Disorder, have a vision, hearing and/or physical disability. Furthering this our students may have significant health impairments that requiring paramedical support. Our present enrolment is 22 students.
The school community comprises of families from diverse backgrounds. 77% of our student population is indigenous. 27% are living with foster/kinship carers and require an Educational Support Plan.
80% of our students access the School Transport Assistance Program for Students with Disabilities, arriving and departing from school each day by taxi.
Staffing comprises of one principal (Stream 3, SL3), 5.4 teachers, some with special education qualifications, and 5.4 teacher aides who are supported by therapists (OT, SLP, & Physio), AVTs (HI, VI, PI), 0.2 school nurse, 0.5 guidance officer, 1.5 cleaners, 1 fulltime groundsman & a school administration support officer. Teachers are predominately from a primary specialist background and work on a full-time basis, whilst aides have part-time assignments. We share our campus with Spinifex STEPS program.
Mount Isa Special School offers a varied and comprehensive developmental curriculum with a functional focus supporting student’s independent living skills. Curriculum is the core business of our school that maximises the learning of all students, recognizes and celebrates diversity and engages all students in intellectually challenging learning experiences. In response to the development towards a national curriculum, Mount Isa Special school has produced ‘Cra(q)k the Code’ document. The intended curriculum spans the phases of learning as captured in the learning process. Our learning framework and skills areas incorporate P-Scales, Early Years Curriculum, Essential Learnings and QSA – Senior subjects. These are the core of our students learning (pre-intentional and intentional) that may be supplemented with other learning as
determined by the school and class teacher.
4.7% of students enrolled in Queensland State Schools have a verified disability. This number has doubled since 2000. The general trend is towards increasing enrolment numbers in special schools. Mount Isa Special is not following this trend. Presently there are 172 SWDs in the Mount Isa catchments; of these 79 students have an intellectual impairment. There is an array of student services that exists across the district.
The very nature of Special Education identifies a number of issues in terms of service delivery. SWDs are not a homogenous cohort and therefore require a diversity of approaches, program offerings, pedagogies, facilities and assessment tools.
Special Education is inclusion at best practice level where all are included by enabling divergence in paths to reach the same goals.