Former DVSDS Curriculum

Background to the Former Dandenong Valley SDS Curriculum


The Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) provided a curriculum framework for all Victorian schools.

vels logo


Dandenong Valley School responded to this structure and through whole-school planning and the investigation of national and international best practices developed a relevant, functional curriculum which reflected the needs of all members of its community. This curriculum has been widely distributed and is now used by many special settings throughout the state.


The VELS are embedded within three core, interrelated strands.

Physical, Personal and Social Learning

Discipline-based Learning and

Interdisciplinary Learning.


For our students learning and teaching within these strands must focus on understanding what they need to know for success in the future.


Curriculum Outline

Our curriculum is consistent with the structure of the VELS, with dimensions for each domain used as a guide to ensure broad scope. The integrated structure of the strands in the VELS documents supports approaches used in Specialist settings. Behaviours and skills may appear in more than one Domain, with the emphasis being slightly different to reflect context.


The curriculum is written in 10 stages, with stages 9 &10 being based on levels 1 and 2 of the VELS. Stages 1 to 8 prepare students for transition to stages 9 &10 and are consistent with the United Kingdom P scales. This ensures sufficient and appropriate scope for the educational development of our students aged 5 to 18.

Each stage has a description of the learning and teaching priorities. Many of these were adapted from the P scales descriptors. Others, particularly when no descriptors were available, we developed ourselves.

Further Development


Recent curriculum development has focussed on tools to monitor students' access to and progress through the curriculum with particular emphasis on Literacy, Numeracy, ICT and the Physical, Personal & Social Domains.Checklists are used to monitor and record the students' learning experiences and can provide useful information when formulating students' learning goals for their IEPs.


Key Performance Indicators provide teachers with a tool capable of producing a numeric score and can therefore be used to track progress over time. When developing these tools the PIVATS (Performance Indicators for Value Added Target Setting) documents available from Lancashire County Council were used as the basis.The scoring system acknowledges that not all students will master all skills at each stage.

The curriculum is embedded in planning for integrated themes and routine specific programs such as cooking and community access and has been used to show curriculum links to other programs such as PMP and multi-sensory learning in the Sensory Studio.


Focus statements, which provide more explicit detail of the content and purpose of each stage, have been developed for each domain.These are not intended as assessment tools or to measure student progress, but rather provide a summary of what could be the teaching and learning focus at each stage. These will be used on the STAR (Student Tracking and Reporting) web-based system to simplify goal and report-writing. This system already contains the curriculum data base. During the development of the performance indicators and the focus statements, consideration has been given to the DEECD "Working Towards Level 1" material to ensure there is a strong relationship between the two documents.


In 2011 further the curriculum was extensively reviewed to expand some areas and to provide explicit support materials. A curriculum sub-committee was also establish to develop integrated units of work based on the format of the UK Equals documents and linked to the DVS curriculum.



DVS Pre-Vels Curriculum


Sample Supporting Curriculum material

Perceptual Motor Program Curriculum

Dandenong valley school sensory studio information

DVS Swimming curriculum


Monitoring & Assessment Documents


Literacy Checklist


Key Performance Indicators

Calculating overall achievement

ICT Performance Indicators


Focus Statements

Interpersonal Development Learning Focus Statements


IEP/Goal Format



End of Year Report

December report


Planning Documents

Theme Expectations/Outcomes

Theme Expectations - Appreciating the Arts

Theme expectations dinosaurs

Theme Expectations- Animals

Theme Expectations-sports,healthy bodies


Routine program expectations

Program Expectations -Shopping

Program Expectations-walking

Program Expectations-cooking