Head of Department - Miss L R Stevens
At HCS the Learning Support Department aims to enable pupils to reach their full potential through an understanding of their individual needs and the provision of specific support which matches those needs.
The Learning Support Centre is a dedicated department where pupils throughout the school can receive the support they require, gain confidence in their abilities and develop strategies to enable them to become independent learners. All school staff are encouraged to become involved in this process and to recognise their responsibility for the education of pupils with specific difficulties. The Head of Learning Support keeps staff up-to-date on students’ needs through the Learning Support Register.
Pupils are assessed on entry but may also be referred by staff, or indeed refer themselves, at any stage of their HCS career. Each pupil is valued for his or her individual contribution and therefore it is important that parents inform us of any specific educational needs at an early stage.
Based on the results of the screening programme a number of pupils may be asked to take part in further screening. This will help Learning Support Staff to decide on the level and type of support needed and to write a Learning Support Plan for each pupil as appropriate. These are sent to parents and are available to all staff to read as part of the Learning Support Register.
Classes of up to 12 pupils can be accommodated in the Learning Support Centre but most groups are much smaller and many pupils are seen on an individual basis. In years 7 and 8 the emphasis for the small groups is on reading and spelling with a programme of phonic skills. Difficulties with personal organisation, handwriting, thinking and memory skills are also addressed.
By year 9 study skills, literature and comprehension skills and subject-specific support are offered so that in years 10, 11 and in the 6th Form pupils are encouraged to come with their own agenda and to use Learning Support staff as facilitators, thus promoting independent learning.
The Learning Support Centre is equipped with computers and a wide range of resources from IT software to promote spelling, memory skills and essay planning to games aimed at practising spellings or improving processing speed and memory.
Where appropriate, concessions (e.g. extra time) are available for end-of-year exams. This allows the staff to assess whether and to what extent a pupil may be entitled to concessions for GCSE or A levels. The purpose of these concessions is to provide a level playing field for pupils with specific difficulties without giving them an unfair advantage. Provision is closely monitored by the examination boards.
Quote from ISI Inspection report 2008
‘ An excellent learning support structure caters highly efficiently for all pupils with LDD.’