Principal’s News- Term 2 Week 9

Dear Parents/Caregivers,

It has been a very busy and productive term for staff and students. There have been some fun and interesting incursions across our sites. Pre-primary children at Quinns had a visit from some sweet farm animals from ‘Cuddly Animal Farm’ and they got to hold them and learn all about how to look after them. The Farmyard on Wheels visited the Padbury Pre-primary children and they had just as much fun learning all about farm animals, and broadened their understanding and knowledge about life and living things. These incursions were organised to help develop the children’s vocabulary and understanding linked to the Literature Based Unit on ‘The Three Little Pigs’.

This year Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse came and presented the fabulous Wanjoo workshop to Poseidon children. They are coming to Padbury this Friday 24th June. The performance includes a number of Noongar language songs that are focussed on the importance of keeping Noongar language and culture alive. These workshops are incredibly engaging for the children and have been a resounding success every year.

The School Development Day this term included guest speaker, Narelle Rice, who has developed a resource called ‘Bond Blocks’. Bond Blocks are designed as an intervention system and build addition and subtraction knowledge alongside basic number facts. Narelle is an enthusiastic and dynamic presenter who is passionate about ensuring that young children are given the skills and understanding to enable them to develop strong number skills. We have purchased multiple sets of Bond Blocks for classes across the school and teachers are excited to start using them with the children. Christine Vawser, one of our Lead teachers ran a session on Formative Assessment and Visible Learning. As usual, Christine’s session was very informative, and highlighted the importance of ensuring teachers shared learning intentions with students. Sharing learning intentions is a fundamental requirement both for learning and feedback. It allows the student to understand what it is they are learning, what it will look like to get it right and how they can make improvements moving forward.

Emily Dawes, one of our Speech Pathologists ran a session on Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). The session was particularly informative for our new staff but we always learn new things due to current research. If you want to find out more about DLD, the Raising Awareness of Developmental Language Disorder (RADLD) website is a good place to start.

It has been quite a difficult term for the children, with disruptions due to Covid, staff off sick, children off sick and family members sick, but let’s hope that everything settles down next term. The children have actually coped well with the numerous different faces in the classroom when teachers were off sick. Thank you to everyone for being patient and keeping your sick children at home. Let’s hope next term is better for everyone with less absences.

I hope everyone has a great term break. If you are going away have a great time and if you are staying home, I hope it is a restful and relaxing break.

Ms Catherine Regan


Principals’ News – Term 2 Week 6

Dear Parents/Caregivers,

This is my last formal communication with you as the principal of the LDC. My last day at the school is Friday June 3 as I will be transitioning to retirement after a period of leave. I started as principal of the Language Centre in 1998 when we were located at Balcatta PS with 68 enrolments in PP to year 4. I established our first satellite classes in Ridgewood in 1999 to cater for the growing number of children in that part of our catchment area. 24 years later we now have 335 students from kindy to year 1 with a committed early intervention focus. We are also located over 4 sites. During this time, we have opened and shut-in excess of seven sites to ensure we can place as many referrals as possible. While I have worked in the space of students with disordered language for 24 years, I spent 7 years working to establish what is now our Outreach service.

Over my 49 years with the department, I have worked in a diverse range of settings, mostly in the area of disability and disorder. Working in this space has been a privilege and I have appreciated the honour and trust that parents afford us when their child is placed in our care. While working in the area of disorder and disability can be challenging because the answers for overcoming the learning challenges faced by our students are not neatly wrapped in a book or program, it is amazingly rewarding. To see interventions work, and to prepare the children for the next phase of their schooling is gratifying and exhilarating. The fact that answers to learning challenges require being investigative, collaborative, innovative and solution focused in a constant and ongoing manner keeps you motivated as a teacher and leader within our school. What is not to love, we play a part, a very important part.

I have had the privilege to work with and learn from amazing people over my career. I have had the privilege of standing on the shoulders of giants who have been truly visionary. By standing on their shoulders, it gave me a great view of the way ahead. In this state, we have a world class system with our Language Centres that was started by a colleague called Marie Donovan. She identified the need and knocked on doors of decision makers to establish the first class in the early 1980s. She continued to lead the Language Centre growth and development until 2012. Marie is a giant I proudly stood with and learnt from. We can all be grateful for her forethought and tenacity.

I also have enjoyed and had the honour of working with teachers as both a colleague and leader. For most of my career, even as a class teacher, I have had a role in teacher development. In different settings I have also had the benefit of collaborating with a range of other professions, including psychologists, speech pathologists and education assistants. This diversity of experience has also contributed to a rewarding career.

Most importantly, I have learnt with and from all the students (and their families) who have crossed my path as a teacher and leader in our public education system. Most of my career has been in complex settings due to disability or disorder and there have been challenging times; however, the most challenged students have also been the most rewarding because from these times and students, I have learned the most.

Lastly, it is important to acknowledge the important role you as parents play not only in preparing your children for their life ahead, but also, in advocating and supporting them through their schooling. This is particularly important because their language disorder is lifelong and while our early intervention plays a part, you are critical in their ongoing journey through schooling. Thank you for entrusting your children to us and for allowing us to play a part.

It can be difficult to mention people by name, but I want to acknowledge the support of some key groups. As a principal, the support of and collaboration with the members of the admin team (deputies and office staff) is critical. We have a great, cohesive and diverse team who have seamlessly led and managed across sites and stepped up when needed. Catherine Regan, one of the deputies, will be acting in my role until the job is advertised later this year. Our diverse and competent key leaders include teacher leaders and speech pathology leaders. They are committed to ensuring the best outcomes for your children by supporting and developing others to use and reflect on targeted, specialised approaches focused on the needs of our students. They form a key engine of the school and lead and support the connectivity across sites. They have enabled me to do my job and have been critical supports.

The school review completed earlier in term 1 affirmed what we knew that we are a school that more than met the high standard of an effective school. As I step out, I know the school is in safe hands with a robust and knowledgeable staff who are focused on achieving the best for all children in their care.

Many have asked about my plans ahead. I am not one for big plans. A teacher who was giving me advice as I ventured to study teaching told me my job was to be the best teacher I could be, and my career would take care of itself. To that end, I have not sought promotion for promotion’s sake (planned) but opportunities presented themselves and I was lucky enough, to be encouraged and selected for positions. Retirement will be a bit the same. I will spend more time with family and friends. I will also volunteer more in a charity (ADHD WA) that I helped establish. Outside of that, I am sure opportunities will present themselves, and as always, I will avail myself of them or not. The privilege of choice is a wonderful thing.

I will always have an interest in the learning needs of our vulnerable learners who have learning and or language disorder and the evolving research about how the brain learns (your brain does not switch off because you retire). I will also be interested in the road ahead for the Language Centre, but the path ahead is someone else’s responsibility to navigate. I am sure there will be space for reading of a different kind. Instead of research and academic literature, I will rediscover the power of storytelling in novels. I am building a book collection of a different kind.

Once again, thank you for being part of my professional journey and all the best for you and your children.

Kind regards

Shelley Blakers


Principals’ News – Term 1 Week 9

Dear Parents/Caregivers,

As we move to the end of Term 1, we are still battling the increasing numbers of Covid and the impact it is having on classes within the school. We have minimised the impact on staff as all are wearing masks all day. Thank you to parents for informing us of positive cases in children and or family members. Please continue to let us know until the end of next week and when we start again in Term 2. If you or your child tests positive during the school holidays, just let Health know. You do not need to let the school know.

For Term 2 there will be some modifications around parents coming on school grounds. Parents/carers still need to drop students at the door and leave and mask wearing guidelines have not changed. We can have parents attend special functions at school, such as case conferences, class meetings and sporting events provided guidelines are met and capacity rules are adhered to. At this stage we will continue with online parent programs until our case numbers drop. We will have face to face case conferences.

The staff have been very busy collecting data and setting goals for each individual student. The process takes several weeks and has been compacted due to the predicted impact of Covid. Once you receive your goals if you have any questions please contact your class teacher.

I hope everyone has an enjoyable holiday break with your children and that you stay Covid safe.

Ms Shelley Blakers


Principal Communication 15/02/2022

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

We have had a very busy start to the year with managing new Covid protocols, completing our school review and staff working on assessments and the setting of goals for your children.

School Review

On Tuesday February 8 the review team (director and another LDC Principal) spent the day talking with groups of staff and some parents about the impact that we have on our students’ learning through quality teaching, leadership and partnerships with parents. We submit online evidence around 6 areas with reflection, analysis and judgement about how we are progressing. The review team’s role is to validate our judgements.

As a specialist school, we have a strong focus on building and sharing expertise along with implementing the most effective evidence-based practices (this also includes doing our own research and development). As part of our community focus, we invest heavily in parent programs that support the development of your knowledge about Developmental Language Disorder and the impact(s) on life and school learning.

This big investment in staff and parents has resulted in a very capable staff with clear processes and structures linked to deep leadership. They clearly articulated to the reviewers what we do and why. Importantly they clearly explained the outcomes we achieve with the students. The parent focus group also talked about how we add value through building connections to and supporting them.

The reviewer’s consistent comment was that staff were knowledgeable, consistent across groups, committed and passionate. As the principal (and along with the deputies) it was good to hear the validation of what we know. I want to express my thanks to everyone, staff and community, for all that they do to make the school an effective, innovative early intervention centre. It is about all the cogs in the wheel working together to move forward.

Covid Update

There are no changes to recently announced guidelines linked to what is now termed ‘a high caseload’ environment. These will change when the daily infection rate increases (we don’t know when that will be). As you know, only close contacts are now being identified and required to be tested and isolate.

While we have had one positive case connected to the school, the student was not in-class while infectious. One other case has been deemed a close contact but has returned a negative test. So two lucky escapes, however, there will be a time when we will be managing a school positive case who is a close contact.

I have attached a poster from the Department that outlines the actions around possible and actual cases at school. Importantly, regardless of potential contact with a positive case, please keep your child home if they are sick. It is also recommended that you get a PCR test and isolate. If a PCR test is not available, your child needs to return 2 negative RAT tests. If positive, your child should not attend school until WA Health Department informs you that it is safe to do so.

You may download a copy of the poster;  Poster+high+caseload+environment 

School Attendance  

Student attendance at school is a critical factor in long term student success. Our students also have the compounding factor of their language disorder. Obviously if your child is unwell, they should not be sent to school. You can minimise the absences by avoiding holidays in school term times or limiting the days that you might have your child away from school. If you do plan holidays in school time, the last 2 or 3 days of term would be less disruptive than the start of term. If planning holidays, you will need to complete the Student Non-attendance Request slip. The Deputy Principal for your site will review your reason for the requested student non-attendance and will let you know if approved or not. A specified reason of just ‘taking a vacation’ will not be authorised and will result in ‘not authorised” being recorded on the attendance register. In accordance with Department Policy, parents of students who are absent for an excessive number of days will be contacted and may be required to attend a case conference.

Vacation Approval Request

Ms Shelley Blakers