The Support for Learning Department is based in the Upper Library.
It is managed by Mrs Jacqui Agnew, DHT (Support for Learning) and has the following staff:
Mrs Gillian Douglas
Mr Ian Grimes (0.4)
Mrs Irene Boyd
Mrs Anne Walker
The Support for Learning Department has five specific roles:
- Cooperative teaching
- Staff development
- Individual tuition
- Liaison with other agencies eg. Ed. Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapist.
The Support for Learning Team will offer specialist support to all departments through a bidding system or following referral from class teacher, Pupil Support Teacher, parents, Medical Officer or following on from Primary School.
Identification of Pupils Requiring Support
Effective identification and assessment of the additional support needs of pupils are essential for making good provision for those needs. The school has a clear referral system whereby any member of staff may refer a pupil. Where a pupil is referred an assessment will be undertaken by the Learning Support Department.
Most pupils are identified prior to admission through primary/secondary liaison during the summer term. This allows information to be provided to class teachers before they meet the pupils.
Additional Support Plan
All pupils with additional support needs will have an Additional Support Plan which is planned by the pupil, classroom teachers and Support staff. Resources and approaches may have to be elaborated, differentiated or extended. Staff should evidence the support/strategies they have put in place.
Coordinated Support Plan
A Coordinated Support plan will be provided for those pupils who require the support of other agencies. It is a statutory document for pupils with additional support needs that are likely to last for more than a year and require the intervention of one other agency other than education.
The Coordinated Support Plan outlines the annual educational objectives and the methods by which other agencies which will work together to meet the pupil's support needs.
Partnership with Other Agencies
Contacts have been well established with School Medical Service, Audiology Services, Psychological Services, Social Work, Careers Scotland, Speech and Language Therapy, Behaviour Support, Visual Impairment Service and Bilingual Support Service. All of these will be maintained and nurtured and any other service which may be required at any time will be contacted.
Partnership with Parents
Parents have a vital role in ensuring that the individual needs of their children are being met. Their rights and responsibilities are respected and they have an active role in decisions made about approaches taken to meet these needs:
- Involvement in ASPs
- Attendance at ASP / CSP Reviews
Involvement of Pupils
Pupils with Additional Support Needs are involved in the setting up of ASP/CSPs. They are also involved in all Review meetings. All pupils are involved in action planning at various stages of their education.
Intervention Strategies for Pupils with Additional Support Needs
The Support for Learning Department employs many strategies to enhance the education of pupils with additional needs. For some pupils this may be support within class whilst for others there may be a need for support within class and /or additional support within the department.
A small number of pupils are withdrawn from Modern Languages in S1 and follow a specific programme which addresses their literacy difficulties. This withdrawal is planned through the pupil, parents and the Modern Languages Department.
The following are some of the programmes used:
- Lexion www.lexion.co.uk
Lexion is computer software developed for pupils who for a variety of reasons require further training in basic cognitive language processes before and after the acquisition of reading and writing skills.
It is particularly useful for pupils who are dyslexic and have difficulty in decoding letters.
It is also useful for children who have aphasia as the programme helps improve linguistic ability as it enables self-training and complement speech and language therapy.
The programme makes it possible to assess the pupil, adapt the training to the individuals reading development stage by creating exercises based on the test results.
- Spinout Stories www.4mation.co.uk
Spinout Stories software programmes are designed to promote literacy among pupils in early secondary schools. The stories are a mixture of informative non-fiction and interesting fiction, specially written for older readers. Each story has three levels of difficulty. This allows reading at a comfortable, non-threatening level which progresses in gentle stages through to more demanding vocabulary and sentence construction.
- Spelling Programmes www.fishermarriot.com.co.uk
Children with significant difficulties in spelling are given additional support to develop phonological skills and improve their knowledge of spelling patterns.
- Dyslexia Screener www.toolfactory.co.uk
Where a pupil is referred to Support for Learning with a spelling or language difficulty the Department will screen for Dyslexia using the Nfer Nelson Dyslexia Screener.
The programme enables staff to evaluate the extent to which dyslexia may be present and provide appropriate support and advice to pupils and staff.
It must be noted that this programme is a screener and not a diagnostic tool.
- Mastering Memory www.masteringmemory.co.uk
Mastering Memory is a teaching programme which can be used to: understand different learning; improve visual and auditory short-term memory; improve transfer to long-term memory; learn memory strategies which can be transferred to other tasks. This is presented in a game format which pupils enjoy.
- The Punctuation Show www.rm.com/ the punctuation show
- The Grammar Show www.rm.com/ the grammar show These programmes aim to inject a fresh approach to teaching punctuation and grammar. They take the user and places him/her in the role of a contestant on a TV games show with questions and activities taking place within a fun environment. Both programmes keep track of pupils' work as they progress through the numerous interactive tutorials.
- Anger/Behaviour Management
A small number of pupils, due to factors in their personal life, may display anti–social behaviour.
This can result in angry outbursts towards staff and peer group and/or disaffected behaviour in school which hinders progress in class.
These tend to be pupils who lack social skills and have low self esteem. They often become angry because they do not have the tools to deal with their anger or verbalise their feelings.
One to one anger/behaviour management sessions can help identify areas of difficulty, giving pupils the vocabulary to state how they feel in an assertive but not aggressive way and give them strategies to be pro-active in defusing their anger.
These sessions are for short periods of time and fit in with the pupil timetable.
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