Students participate in a varied and individualised Special Education program within the supportive environment of Hunter Sports High School's GEM Academy. The GEM Academy is fully integrated into the day to day functioning of Hunter Sports High School and students attend year meetings, assemblies, cultural, sporting and social events. The GEM Academy is staffed by three dedicated teachers and three Student Learning Support Officers (SLSOs).
Classes are timetabled with specialist teachers for a variety of subjects including Science, Music, Visual Arts, PDHPE, TAS and Food Technology. Students are integrated into mainstream subjects through the recognition of interest and ability and when identified forms part of the individual planning process for students. Students from the GEM Academy have successfully integrated into mainstream subjects such as Mathematics, Music, PDHPE and the Sports Academy.
The GEM Academy consists of three classes and the maximum number of students in the unit is 38. Two classes are for students diagnosed with a Moderate Intellectual (IO) disability and one class is for students diagnosed with a Mild Intellectual (IM) disability. Students are placed into the GEM Academy via an external panel process convened by a Departmental Officer.
The Big Picture education philosophy is implemented across the GEM Academy where students work on a Personalised Interest Project (PIP) and present an exhibition to their peers, staff and other invited guests at the end of each term.
Students' individual needs are identified including curriculum, social, emotional, transition and cultural and are supported through our teaching and learning programs and the Individual Education Planning process.
Students are encouraged and supported to be responsible and independent members of our school and the community. Opportunities exist for students to attend a variety of community events including Hunter School Leavers Expo and Disability Day. Students also participate in the IOTAS carnivals, which are targeted for students with a moderate intellectual disability.
Leaving to Learn, which is part of the Big Picture philosophy, is a weekly program that involves students leaving the school and accessing a variety of community venues and activities, including libraries, national parks, swimming pools and public parks. This program enables students to learn valuable travel skills, practice functional numeracy and literacy skills, plan and prepare healthy lunches and develop positive social interactions.
Each year the GEM Academy organise a camp, or as an alternative, fun days. Camp and fun days are very popular with both staff and students. Camp locations have included Dubbo Zoo, Redhill Environmental Centre, Glenrock State Conservation Area and Ton 'o' Fun. Fun days have included a day at Lambton Pool using the waterslide and enjoying a super entertainment pass at Charlestown Square.