The Learning Support Department believes that all of our students should be given the opportunity to access and appreciate all areas of the curriculum to the best of their ability. We encourage resilience and independence in our students, and we help to make this a reality. Our aim is for all students to experience a challenging, relevant and enjoyable education. The following details relate to the whole school. Further down you will find information specific to Key Stages 3 and 4.
If you have any queries or concerns about learning support provision at Loreto College, please contact our Special Needs Coordinator, Mrs Debbie Brown.
One role of our department is to work closely with the Exams Officer to help ensure students with access arrangements are well catered for. We collect and collate information regarding the use of access arrangements and keep student files up-to-date. This is to ensure the students are receiving the support they need, are using it effectively as well as it being their normal way of working.
The JCQ document regarding Access Arrangement regulations can be found here.
Students are offered meetings with Connexions who give support and advice on further education and careers. We offer taster days at Oaklands College, as well as university visits.
All students benefit from high quality teaching in the classroom and teachers make adjustments to meet the needs of individuals. Learning Support Assistants can also be present during lessons to help students access the curriculum. Our aim is to enable students to develop independence and to become as resilient as possible but some students may need further provision outside of the classroom. These provisions are outlined below.
Students with Dyslexia
We support our students with dyslexia in a range of ways, helping them work independently and to the best of their ability. Students are identified by teachers and Learning Support Assistants as having dyslexic tendencies and we undertake a computer screening test to see whether further support is necessary. Typically, these students need help with organisation, spelling, written presentation and processing of ideas. We make the teachers aware of any difficulties and supply materials to enable our girls with Dyslexia to help themselves. These include coloured overlays, key word lists and a SPaG crib sheet. They are also encouraged to try technology such as reader pens, laptops and voice recognition systems. If they wish to use these in public exams, we need to collate and supply the evidence needed to show that it is ‘normal working practice’.
A Sixth Form mentor or a member of the Learning Support Department can be arranged for students who would benefit from some extra social support.
Support in Key Stages 3 and 4
Year 7: After the first half term of the school year, we assess some students as requiring extra support to help them settle into the school and access the curriculum. These students are withdrawn from Latin and are taught in small groups to initially learn how to manage their homework, general organisational skills and how to adapt to the demands of secondary school life. We aim to build their confidence by encouraging the students to fully participate in every lesson. Alternate testing of spellings and times tables form the backbone of each lesson and other work is adapted to fit the needs of each group.
Year 8: In Year 8, we identify a few students who would continue to benefit from additional support in literacy. These students are withdrawn from French in order to attend two extra literacy lessons per week with the aim of improving their reading and comprehension skills.
Year 9: In Year 9, we continue to emphasise literacy in our Learning Support groups, but support is also offered on times tables and other key Maths topics. As one of the aims for this group is to help to support self-confidence and self-esteem, students currently also have 1 hour per week of drama where they are able to look at social behaviours and public speaking skills though the medium of performing arts.
Year 7, 8 and 9 Support Groups
Some students are withdrawn from lessons and have small group intervention which focuses on basic numeracy and literacy as well as organisation, social skills and self-esteem. Learning Support is a nurturing environment, the aim being to encourage students to participate in discussions and increase their confidence. The emphasis is on topics which will enable them to access other lessons to the best of their ability. Students are not put onto a Learning Support Group pathway unless there is agreement from them, their parents and their teachers that this is the correct provision for them.
Key Stage 4
Those students who do not study French at GCSE follow a Curriculum Support Programme in Maths, English and Science. Students following this pathway will have been identified by their teachers as having a need for extra support in these core subjects.
Reading in Registration
Every year the Learning Support Department run a programme to help selected Year 7 pupils develop their reading skills. This entails meeting with a member of the Sixth Form on a weekly basis during one afternoon registration time to partake in paired reading. The sessions last for approximately 15 minutes and the programme runs from January to May. The Sixth Formers are trained in paired reading techniques and we believe that both the Year 7s and Year 12s benefit immensely from the experience which, over the years, has proved to be extremely popular.
We invite some of our students to attend a craft and social club. Craft Club is a place for students from Years 7, 8 and 9 to come together, have a chat, listen to some music and relax over some Art Therapy. It’s a great opportunity for students to explore and challenge their creative side learning and developing their skills each week by creating new and exciting craft work. Scribble drawings, Christmas decorations, cards, bags and hats are just some of the wonderful things students can learn to create.
This is open to all students and is fully inclusive. Students meet once a week and look after some of our planters on the school grounds.