Tombolo Academy

Tombolo Academy opens its doors in February 2021

 Tombolo Academy is the result of Kids Like Us founders, Catherine Kirby and Anne Jackson, and their vision and determination to create a new education model for twice exceptional (2e) students.  Tombolo Academy opened its doors to the very first students in February of this year, 2021, and SVP Melbourne is very proud to have been involved in supporting the long and difficult process of accreditation by the Victorian Registrations and Qualifications Authority. 

Tombolo Academy is an Independent Specialist year 7-10 school that caters for twice-exceptional students (gifted + disabled concurrently), who are able to function within the Victorian Curriculum at age level, or above, in a majority of academic areas but also at level 3 or above in their area of disability. Tombolo Academy is the first school in Australia to be focussed entirely on the comprehensive education of a broad range of twice-exceptional students. 

Tombolo Academy Philosophy 
Twice-exceptional students are defined as being gifted with some form of disability. These students are considered exceptional both because of their gift; intellectual, creative, perceptual and or motor abilities and because of their special needs which could include specific learning disabilities, neurodevelopmental disabilities, and/or a physical disability. 

Every twice-exceptional student requires a curriculum and pathway through the education levels that is individually modified to cater for their disability and their gift, together. 

Due to the emotional impact of being different from the majority, many twice-exceptional students feel isolated, depressed, anxious, confused or hopeless. A strong social-emotional program is central to Tombolo’s programs to minimise or eliminate the impact of such deep negative feelings.

SVP Melbourne’s support of Tombolo Academy 

Whilst they are two distinct entities, a strong and obvious link exists between Kids Like Us and the desire to establish Tombolo Academy.  In late 2019 Wayne Saunders was invited to join the Tombolo Board due to his involvement in KLU, and has been involved in both the significant submission (550+ pages) to the VRQA and establishing governance principles for the new board.  He naturally leant on his SVP Melbourne partners involved in KLU, John Craven and Kim Visek-Johnson, and convinced associate partner Anne Warner to join the Tombolo Board with her legal expertise.

The Academy started operation on 1st February with 24 students in the Bayside suburb of Hampton and is expected to grow to 70+ student in a few short years.  The Academy will be formally opened on 19th March.

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