The Role of Learning Support
The role of the Learning Support Department is to support the school to meet the individual educational needs of our pupils
- To work with staff in the task of meeting individual educational needs
- To give targeted support for any specific difficulties.
- To create a partnership between parents, mainstream and learning support staff, outside professionals and the pupil to achieve success.
Accommodation and Resources
There are 21 staff in the Department, including the Learning Support and Special Educational Needs & Disabilities Coordinator (SENDCo), an Assistant SENDCo, Higher Level Teaching Assistant, and 18 full and part-time teaching assistants.
What special educational needs do we support?
Special educational needs are learning difficulties which call for special educational provision to be made.
Children have a learning difficulty if they:
a) have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age; or
b) have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for children of the same age in schools within the area of the local education authority
c) are under compulsory school age and fall within the definition at (a) or (b) above or would so do if special educational provision was not made for them.
Children must not be regarded as having a learning difficulty solely because the language or form of language of their home is different from the language in which they will be taught.
Our Range of Support
We provide support for pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) including Dyslexia and Dyspraxia as well as those pupils who experience general learning difficulties. These include difficulties with reading, spelling, writing, handwriting, maths, English and other aspects of the curriculum. We can help pupils with concentration and organisation, offering practical support in improving study skills.
We support pupils with Asperger’s Syndrome, Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Speech, Language and Communication Needs, and Physical Difficulties as well as pupils with sensory difficulties such as Visual and Hearing Impairment.
Some difficulties may be long term, others are temporary.
Most difficulties are addressed by mainstream teaching staff.
Pupils with English as an Additional Language (EAL)
Specialist EAL support may be provided for pupils where English is not their first language. We engage with Specialist EAL teaching staff to provide tailored support to allow EAL pupils to fully access the curriculum.
How are Pupils’ Needs Identified?
Primary Liaison takes place during the summer term when Learning Support staff visit feeder primary schools to collect information on the pupils transferring to Ribblesdale. Learning Support staff will attend Year 6 Annual Reviews for pupils with EHCP and other reviews as appropriate. Year 6 pupils receiving SEN support or who have EHCP are invited to visit Ribblesdale during the summer term. The pupils will be issued with a transition booklet to complete. Parents are encouraged to visit the Learning Support Department independently to liaise with learning support staff about their child’s individual needs.
In the first few weeks of the autumn term, identified Year 7 pupils undergo screening for reading, spelling, writing and numeracy. This enables the Department, together with the information from Primary Liaison, to identify which pupils may be in need of extra support. Pupils are observed in class and discussed with core subject teachers.
Further assessment can be administered through a variety of tests and screening programmes which identify specific learning difficulties. The complete picture is supported through consultation with the pupil’s parents.
Screening tests are also administered during Year 9 for identified pupils, and at the end of Year 9 for those pupils who may need access arrangements for external examinations.
The SEN Links team liaise with the department through termly meetings, and concerns about individual pupils can be raised. Subject staff are encouraged to refer any pupils for whom there may be concerns to the Learning Support Department throughout the academic year through a concerns checklist.
If, despite specialist intervention, a pupil fails to make progress they may be referred to an external specialist agency or the educational psychologist for further assessment.
Autism advice, Support and Guidance
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Lancashire Centre (autism.org.uk) (Whalley Abbey)
A local hub for the autistic community where individuals with autism can interact on their terms. Experienced staff host sensory sessions with dance and movement, art and music sessions, language skills and baking classes.
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Home (understandingautismnw.co.uk) (Accrington)
Understanding Autism North West is a registered charity offering person-centred therapeutic counselling and support for individuals with autism and their families (self-referral).