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School Philosophy

Our school’s vision aims to prepare young people with a cognitive disability to reach their full potential and become active and engaged citizens. The school aspires to provide dynamic learning programs based on current research and best practice. The curriculum is delivered in an engaging and meaningful way with the emphasis always on purposeful activities which encourage the transference of skills to everyday situations and maximise the independence of each student.

The school values of Respect, Honesty, Responsibility, Cooperation and Commitment have been agreed to by the school community and underpin our programs.


I just wanted to thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to work with the wonderful students at Ascot Vale Special School. I learnt so much in such a short amount of time about each student's individual needs, how to effectively cater to these needs and importantly how to make the learning experience enjoyable. Ascot Vale Special School is indeed a special school. I have never been in such a warm and welcoming environment where the students have such a great relationship with the teachers and look forward to coming to school every day. Becoming a part of this school community confirmed for me that this is the field I am passionate about and I am now moving towards becoming a Special Education teacher.

Amanda Donoghue

Student Teacher ACU

After taking a tour of Ascot Vale Special School I was impressed from the get go. I remember on the drive home, thinking that this would be the perfect school for our son to attend. The thing that struck me the most was seeing how happy the children were whilst at school.  The staff were lovely and it was evident that they were there because they wanted to be. It takes a special kind of person to work with special children and it makes a difference to me that I know that Leo is in good hands when I leave him for the day.

The Seesaw program is fantastic. It allows me to see what my son is doing during the day and all the progress that comes with it.

The Garden program is amazing. Leo has had a ball in the garden and the chickens are his new friends.

I couldn’t be happier that Leo attends Ascot Vale Special School. It really is a special kind of school!


Davina Sahakian

Prep Parent

Our son Joseph has attended AVSS for 5 years. He commenced in prep so we have had a long association with the school. When Joseph ( Joey ) was due to start school we knew that mainstream schooling would be very challenging for him so we looked at a number of different settings. We had preconceptions of a special school, however on visiting the school, we were impressed by the caring nature of all staff and the diversity of the programs at the school.

Through the support at the school Joey has been able to already achieve so much more than we had ever anticipated. For example programs such as;

  • The Learn to Play program, has really fostered the development of his social skills.
  • The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program has been fantastic to get him to try and make new foods.
  • The camping program is just awesome to have him try new things and to have confidence in being away from home.
  • The bike and physical education program has been great to get him moving and give him the confidence to ride a bike.

There are always challenges and bumps in the road. We have found the school a great partner in working through these challenges and the motto of 'Be Your Best’ is really embedded right across the school. It is amazing what our kids can achieve when they are given an encouraging, safe, supportive environment.

Communication has been a challenge for us with Joey as he is never very forthcoming about telling us about his day.  The school facilitates two way communication via a communication  book and the interactive Seesaw platform  which  gives us even more visibility to see what Joey is learning. This has the added benefit of enabling us to have some conversations with him about his day and his friends at school.

If you have got this far to reading our story, you must have already seen some photos in the gallery on the website of how happy the students are.

Choosing a school for any child is a huge decision, even more so when you have a child with special needs. It's where we were 5 years ago.

Even if you are just considering a special setting I would really recommend that you come to the school and have a walkthrough and look at the learning environment and meet the staff and kids.

Look around, ask heaps of questions, I think you might be very surprised at the great educational outcomes being achieved.


Jen Thomson Parent of Joseph ( Year 5 student )


Jen Thomson


Learning for Life Pathway

Primary Learning Centre

The Primary Learning Centre provides students with intensive educational support for students aged 5 – 12 years. Great importance is placed on the development of communication and social skills to promote independence.

Secondary Learning Centre

The Secondary Learning Centre focuses on the acquisition of skills to enable students to develop academic success, autonomy and independent work skills in alignment with Individual Learning Goals.


Year 11 and 12 students are enrolled in Foundation Level VCAL studies.


Stephanie Alexander Kitchen and Garden Program

The aim of the program is “to pleasurably engage and encourage students in growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing delicious and healthy food in the belief that such skills are essential to the development of life-long joyful and healthy eating habits” (Stephanie Alexander).

Learn To Play

The ‘Learn to Play Program’ encourages the value of engaging in pretend play. Primary students attend the program once a week in the “Rainbow Room” where they are able to engage in play scenarios, interact with their classmates and use their imaginative skills.

Visual Arts

The students explore the areas of painting, drawing, modelling, printing, construction, collage and textiles. The visual art program is designed to support the primary classroom integrated study units, VCAL study units and whole school initiatives.

Physical Education and Health

Health and Physical Education is organised into two strands: Personal, Social and Community Health and Movement and Physical Activity. The focus is on enhancing students’ health, safety, wellbeing and physical activity participation. Students develop skills in a variety of sports, learn how to be physically active and begin exploring how a healthy eating regime contributes to an active body and mind.

Digital Technologies

The knowledge, skills and behaviours in this domain enable students to use technology to access, process, manage and present information; model and control events; construct new understandings; and communicate with others. Students use digital technologies to process data to create solutions and products that demonstrate understanding, and to share their work with others in ethical, legal and respectful ways.


Year 11 and 12 students are enrolled in Foundation Level VCAL studies. This program encompasses Literacy, Numeracy, Personal Development and Work Education Skills. The satisfactory completion of the VCAL outcomes creates further opportunities for students to work towards the acquisition of VCAL certificates.

Food Technology

The aim of the Food Technology program is to engage and encourage students in preparing and sharing delicious and healthy food, and to foster the belief that such skills are essential to the development of life-long joyful and healthy eating habits.


The Science curriculum provides a practical way of answering interesting and important questions about the biological, physical and technological world. Science is a dynamic and motivating way of expanding students’ curiosity and willingness to explore, pose questions and speculate on the changing world in which they live.


 Each year our students have the opportunity to participate in our Outdoor Adventure Camping Program. Our well-planned camps, at DEET accredited sites, provide great opportunities for our students to increase their confidence and independence and to participate in fun and engaging activities linked to the curriculum. Our camps also provide a wonderful opportunity for students to build on their social skills as they interact with their peers, developing positive relationships and friendships.


Learning has never been so much fun!


Find Us

The school is located at 1 Tasma Street, Ascot Vale close to the Number 59 Tram and other public transport. We also run a chartered bus and and we are close to the Citylink exits.

Ascot Vale Special School

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