Case Studies of Successful Schools: Croxton Special School
Croxton Special School is a multi-campus specialist school for students with an intellectual disability.
The school has a main campus with 90 students aged 5-18 and 60 students enrolled in off-campus programs at mainstream primary and secondary schools. Many of Croxton’s students are marginalised or under-represented through disability and low socio-economic circumstance.
The music therapy program at Croxton is structured to increase feelings of self-worth and self-esteem. Students are expected to demonstrate positive, pro-social behaviour towards each other. The program is delivered with a strengths-based approach, drawing on students’ capabilities rather than their disability.
The music program’s success is measured through children’s development of skills integrated within regular classroom time. As students progress through their primary years, success is achieved through increased confidence in students, for example, presenting themselves at regular assembly performances and at the annual school presentation night.
The school’s culture for lunchtime music activities has begun a positive shift in student–teacher involvement – teachers are joining the group for their own enjoyment, providing great modelling for students. Students notice their own teacher developing skills, which adds to the student’s feelings of success. With each year, more students and staff have developed a positive affinity with the music program and this is reflected in school council and school community’s interest in and support for the program.
The students at Croxton thrive on structure and boundaries and the music room endeavours to provide flexibility within this model by continuing to develop creativity within a structured environment.
Credit: This case study was prepared as part of ‘Music to Our Ears’ which was commissioned by The Caledonia Foundation and Shark Island Productions, prepared by Annie O’Rourke (89° Degrees East) and written by Dennis Glover and Fiona Hehir. Editing and additional content by Chris Bowen, Dr Richard Letts and Alex Masso (Music Australia)