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Learning Support at NUSA: Commonly Asked Questions and Answers

What sort of difficulties do pupils have?

At NUSA we include pupils with a wide variety of difficulties:

These include:  physical problems, which may involve degenerative conditions and wheelchair users.

  • Pupils with visual and learning impairments
  • Pupils on the Autistic Spectrum
  • Pupils with Diabetes, who require close monitoring
  • Pupils with SEMH difficulties
  • Pupils with a specific Learning Difficulty  e.g Dyslexia/Dyscalculia
  • Pupils with Emotional difficulties

Generally, children can come to terms with their difficulties after a short period of support, but for others, support is required throughout their whole school life.

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Who can help?

The Learning Support Department is a team of staff who specialise in helping and supporting students when required, led by Lesley White (Learning Support Co-ordinator) who is responsible for co-ordinating the provision for all pupils with special education needs and Julie Mather who is Teacher of the Deaf and also SENCO.

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How do we find out who has Special Needs?

We are provided with detailed information from the Primary Schools which helps us to identify all pupils with Special Needs.  We are aware that children have changing needs and recognise that pupils might be referred in various ways, for example:

  • Parents may contact school with a concern
  • Students may contact a member of staff
  • A tutor or subject teacher may contact Learning Support staff
  • The school nurse or other external specialist may contact the school
  • Assistant Head of Year may refer

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How do we decide what support is needed?

  • By observing the student in the classroom
  • By gathering information from staff and parents
  • Year 7 literacy screening on entry
  • By using diagnostic tests
  • By referring to base line assessment
  • By looking closely at the students work
  • By discussing difficulties with the student
  • By requesting specialist advice from the doctor, educational psychologist, FE and counsellor etc

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How do we support pupils?

It is our policy to ensure that all pupils are included in the learning community at NUSA.  Support is given to pupils in many ways:

  • Differentiation:  By adapting the style of teaching an using different resources and strategies
  • In Class Support:  Classroom Learning Assistants support pupils in lessons
  • Withdrawal Support:  Classroom Learning Assistants can withdraw small groups of pupils to work on a particular topic or literacy and numbers programme
  • KS3 Literacy Support:  Pupils come out of lessons for approximately 20 minutes 3 or 4 times a week to do structured schemes working one to one with a member of the Learning Support team or volunteer helper
  • Small group support in a particular area e.g. social skills, personal hygiene etc
  • Assessment:  SEN teachers can help prepare and carry out assessment as and when required.  This includes providing readers, OLMs and scribes for tests.  We also apply for dispensations for public examinations.
  • Targeted Support: Students will be invited to take part in short booster courses aimed at improving specific skills, changing behaviour patterns or boosting self-esteem.
  • AIM Award (SEFL):  This is an option for KS4 students which develops their organisation and life skills.  Students following this course will receive accreditation although it is not a recognised GCSE.  Modules include Animal Care, Horticulture, Performing Arts and Preparation for interview
  • Lunch Club:  We also run a club every day at lunch time.  Pupils can come along and experience the “Wonder Space” in the company of staff and peers
  • Parental Support:  We have monthly review meetings where parents can come along to discuss any concerns they have.  They are held on a Wednesday after school.  Please call the school office to arrange an appointment.

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Do some pupils need more support than others?

Most pupils are supported by subject teachers and existing Learning Support Staff.  However some pupils have complex long-term needs.  There is extra support available for these pupils.  Those pupils whose needs are considered to be exceptional within the authority are granted support from the Higher Level Needs Fund (formerly MSG Funding).  Most of these pupils will have some support from a Classroom Learning Assistant, either in class or on a one to one basis to support interventions.

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How do we let parents know about a child’s progress?

We consider a close partnership between the school and parents to be essential to ensure each pupil’s success.  As a minimum parents have the opportunity to meet subject teachers once a year and tutors twice a year.

The Learning Support Department (LSD) hold regular monthly meetings for parent to come along and discuss concerns they may have about their children.  They are held once a month on a Wednesday evening 3:30 until 5:00pm.  If you are worried about some aspect of your child’s learning, development, behaviour or progress or if you have a child with special educational needs and want to know more about support they are getting, then please ring the school reception and make an appointment to see Lesley White, Special Needs Co-ordinator.

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June 2017

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