Tertiary education in a broad range of subjects
In 2002 a government representative actually stated to the Compass CEO that post school services were not concerned with education… “They have had their education.” There has been an implicit acceptance of that notion for far too long. Further education is in fact the ‘missing link’ that can take the phrase ‘capacity building’ from rhetoric in the sector to reality in the community.
For genuine education to occur however requires post school services to make some significant changes. These need to include employing specific recruitment & retention policies and practices that will draw, develop and retain teachers, trainers, coaches and mentors as opposed to carers or traditional support workers.
It requires that staff are then trained to develop lesson plans, deliver educational content in an experiential framework that is both stimulating and accessible, conduct accurate assessments and write reports. The staff must also be well schooled in positive behaviour management, the medical and social aspects of various disabilities and the philosophy and practice of social role valourisation.
This is how education occurs – capacity cannot be built in an ad hoc jumble of activities that are actually focussed on amusement and respite.
Compass Education Services focus on providing genuine individualised access to a wide range of educational content underpinned by certified nationally recognised courses. All activities are lesson planned, assessed and reports are issued at the completion of each semester.
Influential in the change of thinking that has occurred have been the theories of Nirje and Wolfensberger. Gone is the view that intellectual disability is essentially a medical problem and hence requires medical care. This has been replaced by the view that intellectual disability is an educational/developmental issue and the core needs are for advocacy, flexible and individualised support, and the provision of learning opportunities.
Inherent in this change of view is the realisation that people with an intellectual disability are capable of learning many skills when a genuine educational framework is provided. Services can benefit from the recognition that becoming capable of repeating a task is not whole learning. ‘Learning to Learn’ is the key ingredient in truly empowering people through the educational / developmental model. Genuine learning comprises three stages and ‘copying’ is only the first. The others are ‘individualising’ the learning and then ‘creating’ new learning.
David Dangerfield – Compass Chief Executive Officer
The Education programme is suitable for those interested in further formal education and can provide a springboard into the Compass Training programme or a range of Vocational opportunities through Compass Community Enterprises.