Learning Support

We help pupils with additional needs to achieve their potential through our learning support provision.

Our support includes:

The learning support department does not provide academic support. Subject specific support is provided by academic departments.

We offer friendly and structured support in a relaxed atmosphere, where students can grow in confidence and self-esteem. We use a range of tools including multisensory techniques, games, IT, tactile and visual aids. Over time, pupils learn to value their strengths and gradually take control of their learning.

We seek information on areas of difficulty from parents and feeder schools prior to a child’s entry to the school. The Head of Learning Support may decide to screen for additional information following entry. We will also liaise with the LEA for pupils with a Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) and, where necessary, support applications for EHCPs.

Will my child be eligible for Learning Support?

All pupils with identified special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are eligible for up to one hour of Learning Support a week. If a pupil would like to have Learning Support, but does not have an identified SEND, they would be eligible for up to three ‘booster sessions’ per term with a member of the Learning Support department if appropriate.

When does Learning Support take place?

Learning Support sessions take place throughout the timetabled school day but these are on a rolling timetable so that a pupil does not miss the same academic subject lesson each week. Learning Support sessions can also take place during non-lesson times i.e. before school, during lunch activities, and after school – but these slots are limited and therefore older pupils (those in middle school) receive priority. Sixth Form students have their learning support sessions during ‘free periods’.

Does my child get screened for specific learning difficulties?

Pupils in Years 7 and 9 and Lower Sixth get screened for dyslexia so anyone with significant dyslexic tendencies will be identified in this screening assessment. However it is worth noting that it is just a screener, and as bright dyslexics can often compensate for their dyslexic tendencies, they may therefore not get picked up.

I think my child may have Learning Support needs. How do I get my child assessed for specific learning difficulties?

Contact your child’s tutor if you have concerns. The Learning Support department will then build a ‘picture of need’ by consulting your child’s teachers and looking at previous assessment data. If there is enough evidence to suggest there could be an underlying learning difficulty, the school will offer to assess your child for specific learning difficulties in-house by a specialist assessor. If not, it is your decision as to whether you choose to get your child assessed externally by an Educational Psychologist or Specialist Assessor. If a medical need is suspected, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, the school will give advice as to how to pursue with an assessment externally. If you do pursue an external assessment, keep your child’s tutor and the Head of Learning Support informed so that we can ensure that the appropriate support is provided in school.

With parental permission, we give all pupils identified from screening and prior liaison further testing in-house to investigate relative strengths and weaknesses within the pupil’s learning profile. However, it is sometimes necessary, with parents’ agreement, to refer the pupil to an educational psychologist or other outside professional for a more detailed assessment or diagnosis of needs. We circulate the guidelines based on the professional assessment to all teachers involved.

Will my child’s teachers be aware of my child’s learning needs?

All pupils with identified SENDs are given a learning support profile that is confidentially shared with the members of staff that teach your child. These profiles include recommended strategies for differentiation so that teachers can provide appropriate support to ensure your child’s needs are met within the classroom.

Will my child qualify for extra help during their exams?

At all times we seek to involve parents and pupils in any identification, assessment and delivery of support and strive for close co-operation between all parties to ensure effective implementation. Access arrangements will be allocated in line with the JCQ guidelines.

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