A unique Sydney Catholic Schools support structure is in place to optimise learning for all students. High-quality inclusive education is provided for students with diverse learning profiles relating to: giftedness, speech, language, communication, vision, hearing, literacy acquisition and post-school pathways. Central office diverse learning teams work with our classroom teachers to enhance their capacity to maximise learning outcomes for students. Specialists in these teams collaborate widely to consolidate an inclusive approach to learning. Each school also has dedicated learning support staff.

Sydney Catholic Schools provides reasonable adjustments to assist and support students with disability to successfully engage in learning. All Sydney Catholic Schools engage in the annual Nationally Consistent Collection of Data for School Students with Disability. Students with moderate intellectual disabilities and complex developmental needs may benefit from the educational program at Eileen O’Connor Catholic College Lewisham or our Specialist Support Classes located onsite at Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School, Hoxton Park and Good Samaritan Catholic College, Hinchinbrook.


Newman Selective Gifted Education Program

Exclusive to Sydney Catholic Schools, the Newman Selective Gifted Education Program provides a clear educational pathway, underpinned by contemporary research, for identified gifted and talented students from Kindergarten to Year 12.

The Newman Selective Gifted Education Program provides gifted learners with an authentically rigorous program of learning within the nurturing environment of their Catholic school. It caters to a variety of gifted learners by offering a range of opportunities that support students’ growth as a whole person, including their social and emotional learning and wellbeing.

Teachers experience high-quality professional learning in gifted education that allows them to engage in best practices to enhance the teaching and learning in their schools.

At OLMC Burraneer we offer an enriched education for all students, providing encouragement and opportunities for girls to pursue talents, interests, and passions. Our staff takes pride in our commitment, mandate and mission to encourage each child in our care to be all that she can be.

As an accredited Newman School, this College has demonstrated that it meets Sydney Catholic Schools’ specific Newman Selective Gifted Education Program requirements of excellence in provision for the needs of students of high ability.

Accreditation as a Newman School requires significant ongoing commitment from school communities. No single approach is appropriate for all. Co-ordinated by our Newman Team, OLMC offers a multilayered approach to gifted education, based on our understanding that provision for girls of high ability in a range of domains requires more than academic challenge – it requires understanding of social and emotional needs, too. We seek to support the individual, in partnership with families, to develop her gifts (potential significantly above average) into demonstrated talents (skills significantly above average). Targeted responses to identified individual student needs are based on communication and collaboration between teachers, the students themselves, and their parents. Some examples of structures in place for gifted students at OLMC are:

  • Ongoing whole staff teacher professional development
  • A differentiated curriculum, encompassing a range of gifted domains (including intellectual, creative, social, perceptual, and physical)
  • Skilled use of data to identify individual needs
  • The provision of a Newman Stream of like-minded students in each year group (an academically streamed class for students of high ability in several domains), taught by teachers who have undertaken professional learning in meeting the academic and social needs of these students.
  • Pre-selection processes for inclusion in our Newman Stream, including a higher ability selection test, for students prior to Year 7 entry to the College. (This preselection process is based on parent nomination:  information is available for parents upon enrolment)

Our guiding principle for the concept of a Newman Stream is that

‘Gifted learners are best placed academically, socially, and emotionally when they are with like-ability peers for a significant proportion of their time at school.’

To sustain a high-quality educational program, teachers undergo training in identifying gifted students and developing curriculum differentiation strategies. All ‘Newman Selective schools’ undergo a comprehensive accreditation process within four years.

We are committed to working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and their families to ensure students obtain a high-quality education as a platform for achieving their full potential.

Through expert support and resources from Sydney Catholic Schools, we collaborate and deliver personalised plans for students who have cognitive or developmental disorders, sensory disability, autism, physical disability, and speech, language and communication disorders. These plans focus on specific educational goals and adjustments related to areas such as curriculum, communication and social skills.

Our Lady of Mercy Catholic College recognises that all students are unique individuals with their own needs, gifts and talents. We have a responsibility to cater for the educational needs of all our students and the college has a proud record of providing genuine care for students with special needs.

The diverse needs program provides a network of support structures and runs a broad range of programs. Some of these are specific to one individual student, small groups, in-class support and the reading program. We provide help with class work, assignments, organisational problems, special provisions for exams and on many occasions pastoral care.

Students are identified for inclusion in the diverse needs program in the following ways:

  • Information provided by our feeder primary schools about students who have already been identified;
  • Students with physical disabilities;
  • Students with sensory impairment;
  • Students with an identified emotional disorder;
  • Teacher referral – with parental support, psychometric assessment is organised and the results forwarded to SCS for classification;
  • Parental referral – psychometric assessment is organised and the results forwarded to SCS for classification.

Our Lady of Mercy Catholic College is committed to the development of an environment where every student is encouraged to reach their full potential.

Supporting Students with Social and Emotional Complex Needs