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New teachers lead Learning Support programmes

Regulus // Issue 2 // August 2023

More news for Staff

New Heads of Learning Support, Irene Cronan (Preparatory School) and Amiria Rule (Secondary School).As the new Heads of Learning Support in the Secondary School and Preparatory School, Amiria Rule (OC 2001) and Irene Cronan are keen to ensure the learning needs of students across all academic levels are well catered for at St Andrew’s College.

Amiria Rule, a former Black Fern and an Old Collegian of St Andrew’s, has found herself back at the College taking up the newly created position of Head of Learning Support – Secondary School. It was around five years ago, when she was in her previous role as a Team Leader at Avonhead Primary School, that Amiria’s passion for learning support was sparked. “I noticed the diverse learning needs of students and joined various professional learning groups to gain valuable knowledge about the different interventions and approaches to help children learn.”

As the Head of Learning Support for the Secondary School, Amiria is responsible for overseeing the entire Learning Support team, ensuring cohesion and providing support to her colleagues. The team of professionals includes GATE and vocational experts, a literacy/learning teacher, reader/writers, and the Head of Accelerated Learning programmes.

Amiria is enjoying the challenge of the new role, along with the support of the team and Assistant Head of Secondary School (Academic), Helaina Coote. “I have awesome people around me and am excited to help foster greater alignment and connection across all the strands of Learning Support, as we meet the varied and increasing needs of students.”

Another of Amiria’s goals is to forge closer links with the new Head of Learning Support in the Preparatory School, Irene Cronan, who recently took over this position from Barbara Broughton. “Each year, over one hundred Year 8 students transition to the Secondary School. It is essential that learning support continues seamlessly to ensure students who require additional help, receive consistent and tailored support as they move up.”

Irene Cronan brings a wealth of experience to her role, having previously worked as a Resource Teacher of Learning and Behaviour, supporting teachers in implementing strategies for learning and behaviour in the classroom. She has also served as a Special Needs Co-ordinator and is excited to be back working directly with students in her new role at St Andrew’s. “The Learning Support programme in the Preparatory School is already like a ‘well-oiled machine’ with teacher aides having incredible knowledge and experience. I’ve been welcomed by all the teachers and have great support from the senior leadership team, particularly Deputy Principal of Preparatory School (Well-being), Vicki Pettit,” she says.

The Preparatory School Learning Support team works with any students identified as needing intervention and extra support in the classroom, mainly with literacy, although some Mathematics support is also provided by the teacher aides. The team provides one-on-one withdrawal support from the classroom if required and works closely alongside the Pastoral Care and Well-being teams to support teachers with any challenges. “I’m amazed by the tools and resources at St Andrew’s, with programs such as Komodo helping us to identify students’ needs at such an early stage.”

Irene has trained in Structured Literacy and is using this approach for students whose learning is being supported in the Preparatory School. She also supports teachers and parents with understanding and implementing recommendations from specialist reports such as educational psychologists.

As Amiria and Irene settle into their new positions, both are keen to help foster a supportive and inclusive learning environment that empowers students needing extra support to reach their full potential.

New Heads of Learning Support aim for inclusive, tailored assistance across all academic levels at St Andrew's College.