The Learning Support Department believes that all of our pupils 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.
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. We take responsibility for the allocation of the school’s Exam Reader Pens as well as student training.
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 excellent classroom teaching which is differentiated to cater for the needs of the individual. Learning Support Assistants can also be present during lessons to help students access the curriculum. We want our pupils to develop independence and to become as resilient as possible. We try to encourage this by giving students just the right amount of support.
We support our dyslexic students in a range of ways, helping them work independently and to the best of their ability. Pupils are identified by teachers and Learning Support Assistants as having dyslexic-type difficulties and we undertake a computer screening test to see whether further support is necessary. Typically, these pupils 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’.
This takes place twice a week (Tuesday and Thursday). Girls from all years bring along classwork or homework that they might not understand and gain help from teachers, Learning Support Assistants or Sixth-Formers. It is a very relaxed atmosphere with girls sitting and having their lunch whilst working together.
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.
The school shop is run as a service to students and staff at Loreto College by members of the Learning Support Department with help from several willing and enthusiastic Year 10 pupils. The shop stocks a full range of maths equipment (including calculators) as well as pencil cases, notebooks, book covers, flash cards, glue sticks, A4 whiteboards, coloured pencils, pens, whiteboard pens, highlighters, pencil sharpeners, scissors, rubbers, rulers, staplers and plastic wallets. Items are sold at cost price, usually considerably cheaper than elsewhere.
The shop is open in M5 (on the Maths corridor) on Monday lunchtimes from 1.40 to 2.10 pm and takes cash only. It is busy all year, but particularly in the period before exams!
Key Stage 3 Support
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.
These groups are to help students develop skills so they can manage their H/W diaries correctly, have the correct equipment for each lesson, manage their time to complete H/W by the deadline and use their lockers correctly to store equipment. Sessions are run regularly and students are referred by their form tutors.
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 sixth form student on a weekly basis during their Monday afternoon registration time to partake in paired reading. The sessions last for approximately 15 minutes and the programme runs from January to March every year.
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. The Year 7’s are awarded merits for regular attendance and the students find that they often forge a great relationship with their “mentor”.
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 and social skills. Learning Support is a nurturing environment, the aim being to encourage girls to participate in discussions and increase their confidence. The emphasis is on topics which will enable the girls to access other lessons to the best of their ability. The lessons are flexible to meet the needs of girls in a particular group.
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: Year 8 is time to consolidate the learning they are receiving across all subjects very much the “middle year” between Y7 settling in to secondary school life and Y9 when subject options are chosen ahead of GCSE courses. A year to increase in confidence, develop friendships and to develop a deeper understanding of all subject matters.
Year 9: Learning Support Groups are a nurturing environment, the aim being to encourage girls to participate in discussions and increase their confidence. The emphasis is on topics which will enable the girls to access other lessons to the best of their ability. In Year 9, we do regular practice on spellings and times tables, with weekly tests. Ensuring the girls are secure in the groundings for literacy and numeracy is a key part of lessons. Equally important is having discussions about current affairs, such as International Women’s Day, and historical topics, such as the Civil Rights Movement. The small groups enable the girls to listen to others and be confident about stating their own views. The lessons are very flexible to meet the needs of girls in a particular group.
Key Stage 4 Support
Those students who do not study French at GCSE follow a Curriculum Support Programme in Maths, English and Science.
Curriculum support is also available to pupils who study fewer of the optional GCSE subjects. The lessons are tailored to meet the individual academic needs of the students. They are provided with the opportunity to support their studies in other subject areas through guidance, instruction and ICT.