Kotara School aims to provide the opportunity for every student to achieve success in all aspects of their life. To provide an environment that supports students to find the ‘courage to learn’ and the ‘courage to change’.
Kotara School is a school for specific purposes on two sites. The school has an enrolment of 35 and are placed by a regional panel of psychologists, principals and consultants. At any time Kotara School Aboriginal population can be up to 60%, therefore Kotara school embed Aboriginal Education across all aspects of the school plan. It aims to create behavioural change in order for them to return to mainstream settings.. It draws students from Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens area. Kotara School is staffed with a school Principal, two Assistant Principals, three Classroom Teachers, five Student Learning and Support Officers and a School Administration Manager.
On the main site Kotara School educates students in Years 3 to 6 with emotional disturbance. Included is a transition class comprised of students who have finished Year 6 at Kotara School in Semester 2 of the previous year and are now attending a mainstream setting high school. This class is run by one of the Kotara School teachers. This class has been designed to provide the home school with support whilst these students gradually reintegrate into mainstream schooling.
Kotara School also operates an outreach class in the Nexus Unit at John Hunter Hospital. Nexus is a specialist 14 bed inpatient unit accepting both voluntary and involuntary patients. It provides services for children and young people aged 5 to 18 years who present with mental health disorders that are conducive to inpatient observation and/or treatment. Kotara School has extensive partnerships with other service providers and agencies in Newcastle and its surrounds. It has developed quality relationships with partner schools and provides a range of professional learning opportunities to support them.
Nexus is a specialist 12 bed in-patient unit accepting both voluntary and involuntary patients. It provides services for children and young people aged 5 to 18 years who present with mental health disorders that are conducive to inpatient observation and/or treatment. It is situated in the John Hunter Hospital. As of 2011. Nexus has become one of Kotara School’s classes.
Patient admissions are either planned by where individuals are accepted from CAMHS, community staff or other mental health providers or acute admissions are considered from emergency departments and other inpatient facilities.
Nexus has a school room with a Teacher and School Learning Support Officer (SLSO) and school counsellor. All patients are expected to attend and participate in school activities each weekday. Education staff liaise with medical staff and also students’ home school’s in order to obtain information on how to maintain a consistent and collaborative approach across settings. This assists staff to develop appropriate management strategies and devise return to school plans.
Transition to High School Class
The transition class is comprised of students who have finished Year 6 at Kotara School in Semester 2, the previous year and are now attending a mainstream high school. This class is run by one of the Kotara School teachers.
This class has been designed to provide the home school with support whilst these students gradually reintegrate into mainstream schooling. Some students attend both Kotara School and their mainstream High School up until week 7 where a full transition occurs.
Other students attend their home high school five days a week and the Kotara School teacher provides onsite support for the students and professional learning for staff around behavioural management strategies and how to best assist with the transition of the student into their classes. This also ensures that the students are settling into their new school routines and are aware of things such as timetables, time management, location of specific buildings, new school rules and dealing with multiple teachers and differing expectations.
This process allows Kotara School staff to be available to help with ideas to make the transition to high school life more comfortable and
successful for our students.