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Melbourne Specialist International School Review

Here’s a unique and innovative special needs school for children aged three to 18 that focuses on arts-based therapy to teach numeracy, literacy and independent living skills.
At a glance
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
No rating
Curricula taught
Availability 2022/23
No data
Availability 2023/24
No data
Annual fee average
SGD 27,000
Annual fees
SGD 24,000–30,000
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
2015
School year
Jan to Dec
Principal
Jayne Nadarajoo
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Melbourne Specialist International School
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
No rating
Curricula taught
Availability 2022/23
No data
Availability 2023/24
No data
Annual fee average
SGD 27,000
Annual fees
SGD 24,000–30,000
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
2015
School year
Jan to Dec
Principal
Jayne Nadarajoo
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Here’s a unique and innovative special needs school for children aged three to 18 that focuses on arts-based therapy to teach numeracy, literacy and independent living skills.

Melbourne Specialist International School (MSIS) is a school for students with special needs where visual arts and a performing arts programme take centre stage. This all-through school for children aged three to 18 years offers an alternative to mainstream education and is designed for students with a variety of learning disorders, as well as physical disabilities.

The school says:

“At MSIS, we discover and nurture the strengths of a child with special needs rather than focus on their disability. Every child should be valued as they have the potential to contribute to society.”

Founded in 2014, MSIS follows an Australian curriculum framework alongside a visual and performing arts and therapy services. Its focus is as much on the academic as it is on developing social and vocational skills to help young children become confident and independent adults.

It’s a small school of just 60 students and teacher to student ratios are a low 1:4, which you would expect at an SEN school. Teaching is delivered by a team of classroom teachers, specialist teachers in dance, music, art, and drama, and therapists including occupational, art, music, and speech therapists, plus physios and psychologists. Every student is given an individual learning programs that focuses on their specific needs.

Curriculum

MSIS follows the Victorian Curriculum Framework for foundation years through to Year 10. This is an Australian curriculum that enables teachers to identify a student’s current levels of achievement, and then deliver teaching and learning programmes to support progression in their learning. It has a reputation in Australia for supporting a diversity of learners, ranging from students with disabilities and additional learning needs to those who are gifted and talented.

The early years for children aged three to seven years focuses strongly on the Jolly Phonics programme; in Foundation 1, for six to 13-year-olds, Montessori-inspired activities play a key role in all learning; in Foundation 2, for eight to 13-year-olds, there’s an emphasis on reading, comprehension, critical thinking, writing, speaking, and listening. MSIS also offers pathway programmes into adulthood that focus on living skills and vocational training.

A typical day would cover English, maths, art, outdoor play and PE, social and life skills, and the performing arts. There are also swim lessons held at a nearby swimming pool, and weekly therapy sessions in the class with the option of 1:1 therapy if required.

Campus and facilities

Centrally located in Loewen Gardens near Dempsey Hill, MSIS is a small, single-storey building with eight classrooms. Facilities include a gymnasium, dance/music studio, sensory retreat and outdoor play area; the school uses a nearby swimming pool for lessons.

Admission and fees

The school has a rolling admission process, and students are encouraged to spend a day ay the school before applying. Annual fees range from $24,042 for Pre-K up to $30,053 for Pathways Year 3 (10-13 years).

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