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The Learning Skills department 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.
There are five members of staff in the department, who have specialist experience in supporting pupils with a variety of additional support needs. Learning Skills 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 aims to work 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 a Personal Learning Plan which is collaboratively evaluated on a termly basis. Members of the department are available to be contacted at any point and will also be available for appointments at Parents’ Evenings.
Types of Support
Small group 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, working memory, reading and comprehension. The amount and type of support a child receives will vary depending on their individual needs.
In class support
Learning Skills staff also provide in class support with writing and comprehension.
Our Form 6 pupils facilitate a paired reading programme with individual children identified as benefitting from additional reading practice.
Small group support
In the Senior Years, pupils may attend the Learning Skills department for up to seven periods a week, depending on their level of need and year group. This will either be in a small group or individual basis. The support aims to develop literacy skills such as reading, spelling and essay planning as well as general study skills. The department also helps with curriculum reinforcement, with some specialist subject teachers visiting the department to support targeted pupils. Form 6 Peer Mentors also work with pupils to provide additional support with specific subjects and run a paired reading programme for some of our Form 1 and 2 pupils.
In class support
Senior Years Learning Skills staff also provide additional assistance to individual pupils in subject classrooms. The school has a system in place whereby teachers can request in class support for a pupil or group of pupils in their subject area. This allows the department to be responsive to support needs as they arise over the course of the academic year.
Identification and assessment
The Learning Skills 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.
Should you wish to make a referral request this should be made to your child’s Class Teacher (Junior Years) or Guidance Teacher (Senior Years) in the first instance. An assessment will then be carried out to build up a pupil profile and determine whether additional support would be of benefit. In some cases further assessment by an Educational Psychologist may also be recommended, or referral onto other relevant external agencies.
Arrangements for exams
The procedure for determining whether a pupil is eligible for alternative assessment arrangements for tests and exams is rigorous so as 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 from Form 1 onwards, and adjusted by the Learning Skills 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 support for their learning, 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