Totara Learning Centre
Welcome to the Totara Learning Centre
Our staff are a compassionate, dedicated and professional group of teachers and Learning Support Assistants who believe that everyone, irrespective of their skills and physical limitations, deserves and has the right to an education that will stimulate, consolidate and extend.
As a department we are committed to working as a team striving to learn and improve. We meet regularly to share and discuss daily, weekly and long-term student, administration and professional issues.
As a department we are committed to regularly reviewing our teaching programmes and endeavour to improve the teaching and delivery of the curriculum. We constantly seek opportunities to motivate students to raise their expectations and endeavour to ensure their education is meaningful and relevant to their future life after school.
TLC Aims and Philosophy
- To provide a secure, safe and calm environment that encourages all students to develop and gain confidence and self-esteem.
- To provide opportunities for all students to develop their academic, social and physical skills to their full potential.
- To provide all students with an appropriate curriculum that will consolidate, stimulate and when appropriate, extend.
- To encourage all students to participate fully in all individual and group opportunities provided by the Totara Learning Centre, Matamata College and the Matamata community.
- To encourage all students to learn and develop strategies to cope with social interaction in the Totara Learning Centre, Matamata College and the Matamata community.
- To integrate and support all students in main school lessons, when and where appropriate at Matamata College.
- To integrate and support all students in work experience placements, when and where appropriate at Matamata College and in the Matamata community.
- To provide all students with the opportunities to develop skills needed when transitioning from school into the community.
- To develop strong home / school links with all parents, carers and agencies and ensure communication is maintained and regular.
The TLC is a specific environment catering for the individual education and social needs of students with a wide range of learning difficulties. Our centre currently accommodates sixteen students with three teachers (one working full-time with the other teachers working two days a week each) and three Learning Support Assistants.
The individual student’s needs and expectations are discussed at an IEP meeting (Individual Education Plan). These occur twice a year and the results of the discussion are compiled into an IEP for the student.
We offer a programme that covers all areas of the curriculum particularly addressing specific Language and maths skills through real life activities and appropriate and available technology. We ensure that every student’s individual programme includes opportunities to participate in life skills such as shopping, cooking, woodwork, work experience and general integration into the community.
When appropriate, students are given the opportunity to attend main school lessons with support. We currently have several students attending learning support English, Maths, Science, Maori, Agriculture, Food, PE, Wood, Fashion, Art and Gateway lessons. We only place our students in these classes if it is suitable and relevant to the individual student. We recognise that our students progress at different rates and we feel it is important to ensure that each student feels confident and secure. We want them to progress, but we understand that it is important to do so without damaging their self-esteem and pushing them before they are ready.
Every student participates in work experience once a week. We have placements in the TLC, Matamata College and a variety of appropriate places around the Matamata area. Each student is placed according to their needs and necessary support.
Every year all the students participate in the Special Olympics (Swimming, Football, Basketball and Athletics). This provides them with an opportunity to compete with other students from centres/schools like the TLC.
Our students are fully integrated into the Matamata College way of life and are considered a very important part of the school community.
We strive to ensure that they can develop to their full potential by providing an appropriate and varied curriculum with opportunities to develop confidence and social skills within a very caring and secure environment.
- The Totara Learning Centre is supervised by staff from 8.15am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday. It is open for instruction from 8.30am to 3pm
- All students who are placed on referral to the Totara Learning Centre will be processed by the Totara Learning Centre Management Committee in consultation with the student and parents / carers and when applicable, GSE Lead Worker or RTLB worker and appropriate therapists.
- The Totara Learning Centre Management Committee will include: Mr Darren Freeman (Head of Learning), Mrs Patrice Stichbury & Mrs Van Heuven (Teachers) and Ms Faye Mathews (Assistant Principal).
- Placements will be considered for all OR’s funded students.
- Non-OR’s funded students can be referred for a 1 or 2 term transition period before moving back into the main school or for a full-time placement if spaces are available. (Refer to Non-OR’s Guidelines)
- All student placements will be reviewed annually for OR’s funded students.
- All OR’s funded students will have a IEP (Individual Education Plan) review meeting at the beginning of term 2 and 4. Family and agencies who work with the student will be invited to attend. These meetings will focus on the individual needs of each student. Progress and goals will be reviewed, and future goals set.
- All OR’s funded students will start a new IEP (Individual Education Plan) programme after the IEP meeting in term 2 and 4.
- All parents /carers will receive school reports in June and December.
- Every student will have a Home / School diary. Students will regularly write about the activities done at school. All important daily notices will be included, and letters attached to the diary. Parents will be encouraged to communicate information needed by the school.
- The Totara Learning Centre has an ‘open door’ policy. We encourage parents / carers to visit regularly.
Non OR's Student Guidelines
- Permanent placements for Non-OR’s funded students will be considered if spaces are available. Students can also be considered for a 1 or 2 term transition period before moving into the main school.
- All students who are placed on referral to the Totara Learning Centre will be processed by the TLC Management Committee in consultation with the student, parents / carers & where applicable GSE Lead Worker or RTLB worker and appropriate therapists.
- The TLC Management Committee will include: Mr Darren Freeman (Head of Learning), Mrs Patrice Stichbury and Mrs Maria Van Heuven (Teachers) and Ms Faye Mathews (Assistant Principal).
- All new students will be required to complete a 1 term trial period.
- Prior to the start of the trial period the student will visit the centre. A transition program may be arranged if necessary.
- An individual TLC program will be created to meet the needs of the student.
- The TLC Management Committee will liaise every Friday to discuss the student’s progress / behaviour / fit in the TLC etc.
- Parents/caregivers will be informed weekly about progress. (Phone call / e-mail – Mr Freeman only)
- Mr Freeman will mentor the student & ensure that he speaks briefly with the student each day about progress.
- TLC Management Committee & parents/ caregivers will meet at the end of initial 5-week period to discuss progress / amend program if applicable.
- TLC Management Committee, parents/caregivers & student will attend an end of trial review meeting. A decision will be made regarding progress & suitability for a permanent placement.
- A decision to extend the trial for a second term may be made if deemed appropriate & beneficial.
- All permanent student placements will be reviewed at the end of each term by TLC Management Committee.
- All permanent students will have a parent / teacher progress meeting at the end of Term 2 and Term 4.
- All parents /carers will receive school reports in June and December.