Principal’s Welcome



From the Principals


It is with immense pride that we introduce you to Suneden Specialist School.

Suneden is located in Mitchell Park, a central-southern suburb of Adelaide, South Australia. We are a low fee paying, non-denominational school for up to 70 students with intellectual disabilities with ages ranging from five – 21 years. Many of the students over the age of 17 are educated in our Transition to Work House, a transportable home set on our beautiful grounds. The Transition to Work House prepares students with the social and independence skills needed to be successful in the supported work force.

Suneden’s motto is “Learn Grow Shine”. It is based on the philosophy that all students have a right to:

  • A safe and caring environment – to be physically safe
  • Be treated with respect and dignity – to be emotionally safe
  • A meaningful and relevant curriculum – to be viewed as learners

Many people are not aware that Suneden was the first Special School in South Australia, founded in 1943. Since that time it has had many “firsts” including being the first “Specialist” school in South Australia, the first school in SA to embed video modelling into its curriculum and the first school in SA to produce its own weekly TV show. Suneden is an Independent School that is proud of its history and proud of its current position of being at the forefront of special education in the state.

Suneden has a dedicated, caring and knowledgeable staff working closely with families to help students achieve their learning goals.

In 2019, The Suneden Board appointed Co-Principals Heidi Payne and Helen Motta, to lead and inspire the school. This is a progressive and innovative leadership model that incorporates a shared vision for quality education and growth.

Classes are staffed with a Special Education teacher and Student Support Officers (SSO’s). The school also employs its own multidisciplinary team including an Occupational Therapist, Speech Pathologist and Music Therapist. Each of these specialists works in close consultation with classroom staff to inform and support classroom practice.

We are proud of the model of education provided at Suneden Specialist School and warmly invite you to contact with us if you would like to learn more.

Helen Motta and Heidi Payne