Tombolo Academy for Twice-Exceptional Students

What does Tombolo mean?

A tombolo is a kind of sandbar that forms in the shelter of an offshore rock, anchoring it to the mainland. It is a road of golden sand leading to an island.

Our academy takes its name from this land formation as we exist as a bridge between our twice-exceptional learners and the wider world beyond.

Trailblazing in Australia

Kids Like Us is the first and only organisation in Australia to provide social/emotional programs, academic programs and counselling tailored to 2e students. The growing realisation that 2e students exist in every corner of society has led Kids Like Us to become more involved in advocacy and educating teachers, parents and students on the requirements of 2e students.

While these programs have proven effective, they do not fill all the current needs for many 2e students.

To fulfil these needs, Kids Like Us aims to open Tombolo Academy in 2020 – the first school in Australia designed specifically for 2e students.

Tombolo Academy will enable all students to thrive socially, emotionally and academically through providing fully personalised learning that is designed and created by the students themselves.

The school’s approach is unique, based on current best-practice research, lessons learned from world-leading schools in Australia and overseas, and expert experience gained from years of working with 2e young people in Australia.

The school will provide a curriculum which is ‘strength based’ and differentiated according to each individual student’s abilities. The weaknesses that can cause the student to not fit into the average classroom will be accommodated and negated as much as possible. This will occur through the intentional use of technology, hands on learning, movement, negotiated individual learning plans, individual assignments which significantly reduce rote learning, specific focused case management and other appropriate interventions.

Fully Personalised Learning and Empowered Students

Tombolo Academy’s Individual Life Plan (ILP) process is unique and comprehensive, and is controlled first and foremost by the student themselves. The process begins with a wideranging appraisal of the each student’s strengths, skills, interests and life goals. Students are then empowered to create long-term goals and plans in partnership with parents/carers, teachers and school leadership.

These goals are broken down by students and teachers into yearly, term-long and weekly goals, which our students then work towards each day. Students will be supported to set goals in each of the subject areas of the Australian Curriculum, based on extending their current skills and knowledge. This enables all students to work at their own level and pace across all areas of the curriculum.

After students create and agree to the goals in their ILP, our teachers will guide and support our students in the different ways they can choose to achieve their goals. Students at Tombolo Academy are empowered to make their own choices about how and when they work towards each of their learning goals, and how they will demonstrate their learning.

This is a unique approach that works especially well for 2e students, as research has demonstrated that many 2e students thrive when given more choice. This approach also enables students to gain key skills in independence, responsibility and advocating for their own needs.

Social & Emotional Support

Social and emotional understanding and support are woven into all parts of the curriculum and culture of Tombolo Academy. First and foremost, all students are accepted and embraced for who they are and the unique strengths they possess. Tombolo Academy will become a place of pleasure, learning, challenge and adventure. Students will be made to feel safe and valued in the school environment. Psychological support and skill training will be available to reduce and restrict the emotional challenges of learning, social situations and the student’s asynchronicity.

Intervention by relevant professionals will be encouraged when the presenting issues are deemed to be beyond the scope of the school staff. Co-ordinating this intervention will occur via the case manager with the strategies being useful to the student, staff and family. Consistent reference to strengths as opposed to deficits and weaknesses will be demanded.

Asynchronicity will be accepted. This could mean that younger or older students attend part or full time. The student’s physical capacity to manage tasks will be scaffolded and supported. Strong emotions will be respected, and facilitation will happen to encourage a positive action developing from the emotion.

Students will be respected and taught by adults who do not view them as a threat or as somehow less capable as humans. In turn students will respect the adults and seek to gain from the wisdom of years available.

In order to accommodate the twice-exceptional student’s need for time to focus, research and develop ideas, the ILP created will ensure adequate time is provided in a week for these activities. This strategy will also ensure that the student receives adequate accommodations, acknowledgement and skill training to compensate for the slow processing speed that often occurs within a twice-exceptional student.

Location & Facilities

Tombolo Academy will be located on Bluff Road, Hampton, Victoria, at a former Catholic primary school site. The site will be fully refurbished before the school opens in 2020, utilising the latest research-based 2e classroom design principles. The school will be designed to enable students to undertake learning in a diverse range of subject areas in a variety of different ways.


Tombolo Academy will be an Independent School and as such will be funded through Federal and State funding with a parental contribution. At this stage we are still finalising what the contribution will be. However, our preliminary financial modelling indicates fees of between $2000 – $5000 per term. Financial aid will be available through bursaries and based on application at enrolment.

Enrol Now

As we form Tombolo Academy, we are seeking an Expression of Commitment from students who are keen to be the first students enrolled at the new school. To demonstrate this commitment, a non-refundable deposit of $500 per family must be provided. (The deposit will be refunded if the school is not opened).

Students who will be in Grades 3-7 in 2020 are encouraged to enrol – the school will grow organically from its initial enrolments to include students up to Year 10.

It is a condition of enrolment that the student has an identified disability under the Australian Disability Act.

To express your commitment in enrolling at the new school, please fill out the attached Expression of Commitment form and return it with your deposit to Kids Like Us (125 Charman Road, Beaumaris).


If you have further questions about Tombolo Academy, please contact:

Anne Jackson
Kids Like Us
P: 03 9585 8503