High School Melbourne - Alia College - FAQ - More

Q: Why should we expect any better from Alia?

Q: We followed advice from [previous school] and persisted for over a year. Although we were very happy with the professionalism and care provided, the process didn't work, and seems to have worsened. How do we know that your approach is any better?

A: Parents report that our approach works immediately. This puts you in control. Do a trial day. If you do not experience an immediate benefit then you need waste no further time or effort.

The Alia approach is wonderfully suited to a range of students. These students immediately blossom and produce remarkable results.

Q: Which types of students benefit in this way?

A: Quite a variety. It is hard to generalise.

Q: Give some examples.


[#] Well obviously the students who do not have any particular issues.

[#] Then there are the students who are capable and responsible, but creative, and who feel over constrained.

[#] Students with strong attitudes towards social justice definitely appreciate us. They are not necessarily immediately happy with Alia; but they become strong supporters of our approach as soon as they see a discipline matter being addressed. They find our non-punitive approaches to discipline very refreshing.

[#] Students with academic aspirations who seek teachers who engage realistically with their commitments and questions.

[#] Students with low academic standards as a result of gaps in their knowledge and who are not totally opposed to at least giving education one more chance.

[#] Students who have found their schoolwork or homework to be easy; but time-consuming or boring.

[#] School refusers or students who have been bullied.

[#] Students who wish to be able to take responsibility (when they feel ready) without being treated "like 5 year olds" as they say.

[#] Quite a few other types.

It is simpler to give a call on 03 9822 9622 [+61 3 9822 9622] and discuss the matter. Also visit to get the idea. If we don't have a student with a related difficulty to your child then you will be able to do a trial day.

Q: Do you accept students with learning disabilities?

A: Over the years we have taken several in various categories. Almost every independent school does. Generally the students and parents have been very happy. However you should be aware that we are not set up for managing students with specific learning disabilities. There are no staff specially qualified in disability management and there is no school psychologist or even school nurse. [Several staff are qualified in first aid.]

Q: Why do parents send students with learning disabilities to you if there are no specially trained staff?

A: Sometimes they cannot get into a special school because their child is not sufficiently disabled. Sometimes the parents do not accept that their child needs any special program. Sometimes they feel that their child will progress better if in an environment with normal students.

Q: How well does it work for them?

A: It depends on the problem. On the whole parents and their students have been exceedingly pleased. Sometimes; but quite rarely, there has been concern from the staff here that a particular child, although happy, is not adequately supported by our resources. We discuss this with the parents and they decide on staying at Alia or trying another setting.

Q: What sorts of disabilities do you accept?

A: We don't necessarily believe in the existence of many so-called learning disabilities. If a presumed disability seems to disappear when you act differently towards the student; then did the disability really exist or was it merely something related to the way others reacted to it?

Q: What sorts of disabilities have you dealt with successfully?

A: Sometimes there is argument over if or what disability a student might have. Here is a quick list of some instances that we remember.

A: Tourettes Syndrome. We have only dealt with one of these. A fairly mild case. The yipping noises disappeared over about a term. The carefully designed environment does it. We didn't apply any real therapy to the student.

A: Dyslexia; but we commonly don't regard it as a disability. Most dyslexic students in our opinion are of well above average ability. So far, almost all of the dyslexic students have managed really well. Perhaps they weren't severe cases.

A: Asperger Syndrome; which we also don't regard as a disability. Most Asperger's students in our opinion are also of well above average ability. All were very different. Generally excellent outcomes right from the start.

A: Mild developmental delay. This can mean anything from serious shyness to immaturity to very slow learning. Sometimes such students simply need some peaceful time and/or some opportunity to hear what others have to say and/or to be specifically shown some standard techniques of learning. Parents mostly say that the improvements are immediate and excellent. From the teachers observations, improvements are slow but definite. Academic results have varied from excellent to parents being delighted that confidence and socialisation skills have dramatically improved with only moderate academic improvement.

A: School refusal: This is not a disability. All of these have been very different students. Everything from bored and resistant right through to absolute refusal to be in a classroom unless mum is sitting in the room with the student. We do brilliantly with the students who were once good academics but got bullied. Once we did have to let mum sit in the class for weeks; but that was because the student really was very traumatised. [We didn't think it would work out; but it did - wonderfully!]

Q: What sorts of disabilities have you dealt with unsuccessfully?

A: Most of the above; but generally we do well.

Q: What causes matters to work unsuccessfully?

A: Sometimes the problem is just too tough or there are multiple problems or we just get it wrong.

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