The philosophy of the Learning Support Department is to create an environment which inspires our pupils to understand their individual learning strengths and build upon these talents to take advantage of all the opportunities available to them.
Whilst specialist provision may be required, pupils who have specific learning difficulties often excel in other areas of learning. Some will have excellent problem-solving skills, or be able to visualise 3D images in their mind, whilst others may be able to think laterally, making connections and links to develop ‘bigger picture’ thinking. Enriching and enhancing the learning experience of our pupils, is at the heart of what we do.
Support for learning is embraced by all of our teaching staff through differentiation, and specialist tuition is delivered by experienced Learning Support teachers who have expertise in addressing a wide range of SpLDs. Mrs Head, a specialist in literacy difficulties, has a wealth of experience teaching English and joined our department in 2016. Mrs Simpson is a Specialist Teacher with many years of experience in helping pupils develop robust literacy and numeracy skills and guiding them through examinations. Mrs Head, our Mathematics Specialist, deftly guides our pupils towards their goals, whilst ensuring that they engage and enjoy working with all aspects of Mathematics. In September 2016, I became Head of Department and with my colleagues, we are developing a whole-school programme of provision to enable our students to reach their full potential in all aspects of their curriculum.
Screening and regular assessments, combined with input from parents and guardians, other professionals, academic and pastoral staff helps us to identify those pupils who need specific intervention. Sensitive monitoring may also highlight possible issues with self-esteem. By creating a holistic profile, judiciously shared with the staff, we can ensure that the interventions are measured, appropriate and given at the point of need - possibly in class, within a small group or via individual tuition. All Junior pupils follow a general study skills programme and Third Form pupils may opt for booster classes, before their GCSE courses begin. A structured, multisensory approach scaffolds pupils’ learning and encourages them to identify their optimum learning style and develop meaningful strategies for meeting their own particular challenges; for example, self-management and organisation, rehearsal for memory improvement, developing automaticity in aspects of literacy, stress management, resilience and exam technique. In 2013, the department was nominated for an award by the Independent Schools Association as a result of this active learning initiative.
Mr David Frost
Head of Department