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Staff Profiles: Verity Harvey

Verity Harvey

Primary Special Needs and Inclusion Coordinator

I graduated with a Bachelor of Education (2001) in Sydney, Australia, and worked in mainstream settings for 3 years before moving into the area Special Education. In my first class, as a new graduate, there were children that required additional support in the classroom and from therapists. I had such motivation to work with these children and learn about how they saw and understood the world. In my mid twenties, I moved to London and soon become the Foundation Stage leader of a school for children with a range of disabilities and delays. My main duties in this role included planning, programming and resourcing for students using the UK National Curriculum, teaching small groups of students with Autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, communication difficulties and associated learning needs and working within the Senior Management Team to lead teachers through the school accreditation process. In 2008, I made the move back to Australia to work in a school for children with Autism. Within this setting, I spent many years as the Head of Early Years before moving to the role of National Curriculum Director as the school expanded. As well as across school leadership, I had many memorable years of teaching a range of severe to high functioning students with Autism and Intellectual Disability, providing dynamic and challenging lessons which considered student social communication skills and learning styles.

It has always been my aim to allow students to feel autonomy and mastery of their world while providing a range of learning opportunities to students in multifaceted ways, encompassing a range of key learning areas, teaching techniques, technology, ecological contexts and life experiences. I have had extensive experience in communicating closely with a transdisciplinary team of families, teachers, therapists and medical professionals to establish individual goals for students, integrating therapy goals into teaching aims where possible. In addition, I have worked closely with mainstream schools, integrating students into mainstream classroom environments to be as inclusive as possible. Over the course of my career, I have had the pleasure of presenting at many national conferences on differentiating teaching instruction to support students with additional needs in classrooms and implementing Autism friendly strategies. In 2013, I was fortunate enough to travel to America, investigating key principals of the SCERTS Model.

I have often been described as a professional, energetic, creative and committed educator of early years, primary and special needs students with over 15 years experience working in schools and special educational settings, 8 of those years in leadership roles. As a professional, I strive to maintain interpersonal and communication skills as well as develop management capabilities in relation to appreciating and leading others. I have a strong willingness to learn new roles, take on responsibilities and keen interest in developing professionally as a dynamic educator and mentor to others. To achieve that, my approach to life as a mother of two young children is to be organised and methodical in daily practices with an ability to think outside the box! My main career highlights include being awarded a NSW Quality Teaching Award by the Minister of Education and The Australian College of Educators (2010) and being one of 100 teachers to be awarded Highly Accomplished Teacher accreditation through the Board of Studies across Australia (2015).

This is my first experience working in an International School so a big difference is size, predominately the number of students and staff from all over the globe. It's exciting to be part of a colorful family centered community and have my children come to school with me each day. St Andrews has such beautiful campuses and the range of subjects, activities and philosophies around inclusion are outstanding. I'm so excited to be part of it!