Support for Learning
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Our Support for Learning Team is committed to the provision of appropriate and effective support for all pupils who have an additional support need, to enable them to enjoy and achieve in their education.
For some pupils, this may be short-term support to overcome a specific barrier to their learning, whilst others may require ongoing support throughout their school career. In school you will hear our pupils and staff refer to our department as the 'Learning Skills' Department.
There are five members of staff in the department, who have specialist experience in supporting pupils with a variety of additional support needs.
Our members of staff are:
Mrs Jo Downie - Head of Department
Mrs Katie Whiting (Senior Years and L7 Spelling)
Mrs Sarah Guy (Senior Years and APT Guidance)
Mrs Carolyn McDonald (Junior Years)
Mrs Louise Duff (Junior Years)
SfL staff work closely with the School Leadership Team, Guidance Team and class teachers to support pupils in both the Junior and Senior Years from L1 to Form 6. The department also works in partnership with parents and pupils. Parents are always consulted before a child begins Learning Skills support and all pupils that receive timetabled support in the department have an individual Pupil Profile and Learning Plan which is collaboratively evaluated.
Types of Support
In the Junior Years the key focus of Learning Skills support is to reinforce literacy skills. All support programmes focus on using multi-sensory activities to reinforce learning. Children may be invited to attend the department to receive small group support with phonics, spelling, reading and comprehension. The amount and type of support a child receives will vary depending on their individual needs. Mrs Duff also provides social and emotional support to individual pupils. Learning Skills teachers may also provide in-class support with writing and comprehension for targeted pupils.
In the Senior Years, Learning Skills support is timetabled on a small group basis. The support aims to develop literacy skills such as reading, spelling and essay planning as well as general study skills and subject reinforcement. Senior Years SfL staff also provide additional assistance to targeted Maths and English classes.
Form 6 Peer Support
Our Form 6 Peer Support volunteers facilitate a paired reading programme with individual children identified as benefitting from additional reading practice in the Junior Years and Form 1 and 2. They also work with pupils to provide additional support with specific subjects.
Not all pupils with an identified additional support need may require timetabled support but have a Pupil Profile detailing classroom strategies and possible assessment arrangements.
Identification and assessment
The department recognises the importance of early identification of specific learning difficulties, and the provision of appropriate intervention. The department works collaboratively with subject, class and Guidance teachers to identify pupils that may be displaying indicators of a specific learning difficulty, and also welcomes referrals for assessment from parents, and pupils themselves.
If you have are concerned that your child may have a barrier to their learning requiring further investigation, please contact your child’s Class Teacher (Junior Years) or Guidance Teacher (Senior Years) in the first instance. In some cases, further assessment by an Educational Psychologist or referral onto other relevant external agencies may be recommended.
Arrangements for exams
The procedure for determining whether a pupil is eligible for alternative assessment arrangements for tests and exams is rigorous to ensure fairness and equity for all. The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) requests evidence from schools to show that support is necessary and reflects the type of support your child would normally receive in their classes.
The provision for assessment arrangements is carefully monitored and adjusted by the SfL Department according to evidence of need. This means that a pupil may receive alternative assessment arrangements for one subject but not for another.
Advice on applying for a place
If your child currently receives additional support with their learning, or has an identified additional support need you should detail this on your application and provide as much background information as possible. This will ensure that they are not unintentionally disadvantaged during the entrance assessment and will allow us to make provision for any additional testing that may be necessary.
Useful contacts and further information
https://unwrapped.dyslexiascotland.org.uk - new online hub for children and young people with dyslexia