Port Augusta Special School's twin win

EXCELLENCE: Port Augusta Special School Principal Sarah French, school support officer Keith Newbery and teacher Taylor Miles proudly show off one of the school's two statewide awards.
EXCELLENCE: Port Augusta Special School Principal Sarah French, school support officer Keith Newbery and teacher Taylor Miles proudly show off one of the school's two statewide awards.

The Port Augusta Special School enjoyed double delight at the South Australian Special Education Principal and Leaders Association Awards, winning half of the accolades on offer.

The school’s TV by Me program was awarded the Best Project/Practice, while Taylor Miles was presented with the Early Career Teacher Award.

TV by Me was introduced at the school to give students the chance to produce and star in their own television show, encouraging development in positive behaviour support and communication opportunities.

The show features regular segments including the weather, class of the week, positive behaviour support, around the yard, joke of the week and reading corner.

Special School Principal Sarah French said the inspiration behind TV by Me came from a similar program developed by Suneden Specialist School in Adelaide.

Ms French said the students responded very quickly to the program.

“All of a sudden they just wanted to be involved, and their confidence and communication improved,” she said.

“The additional goal that we didn’t expect to achieve is that we now show it at our assembly, and it showcases what our school does and what programs we’re involved in to the parents.” 

TV by Me is coordinated and edited by school support officer (SSO) Keith Newbery, who described the award win as a shock.

Mr Newbery said its “onwards and upwards” for the show, which is now onto its fifth episode.

“We’re hoping to film more episodes per term, and just to continue to grow and get the kids more involved in filming and some of the editing,” he said.

In her first year at the Special School and just her second year of teaching, Ms Miles has been recognised for her outstanding contributions in special education.

Ms Miles has been working closely with reception and year 1 students, developing a program targeted at “positive outcomes for both students and families”.

Teachers in the first four years of their career are eligible for the Early Career Teacher Award.

Ms Miles said the award came as a surprise, but she was very excited and honoured.

“I love working in special education. There’s no greater reward and it’s just the most enjoyable job,” she said.

“I really value how far a child can come from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.”

Ms Miles also organised the Special Education Hub Group for all schools in Port Augusta, Quorn and the Far North, inviting teachers and SSOs to join personal development training sessions, and share ideas and resources.