We would like to take this opportunity to welcome parents, staff and students to look at the work of the Learning Support department at Roundwood Park School.
Roundwood Park School is an inclusive school which values each and every member of the school community, whilst striving to raise aspirations and attainment in partnership with all stakeholders. The Learning Support department is staffed with teachers and teaching assistants who work closely with teaching staff, pastoral teams and students. Working together, we strive to meet the learning, language, physical, emotional and social needs of students who need a little extra support to unlock their true potential. “Every Child Matters”.
The department is staffed by a full-time SENCO and Deputy, a part-time Learning Support Teacher and 14 Teaching Assistants who work varying hours ranging from part-time to full-time.
The team is strong, stable, competent and improving all the time. Teaching Assistants are attached both to Study Areas and in a Keyworker role with individual students who have a Statement of Special Educational Needs.
The Study Support Room is a well resourced area containing 10 computers and an interactive whiteboard.
Twice termly meetings with representatives from each Study Area provide an opportunity to raise any SEND issues. INSET training is also provided at these sessions. Weekly department meetings are also held. Regular training INSET is held for the whole team delivered by Specialist Advisory Services.
The SEND Register is distributed to all staff at the INSET day at the start of the new academic year and is regularly updated as students’ progress is monitored. In addition, if any individual reports are received these are circulated amongst the teachers involved with the student.
Visits to all feeder primary schools are made during the Summer Term prior to entry to aid a smooth transition to secondary school. Some Year 6 students are selected to attend the 2 day summer school. Within the first half term, all students are assessed. At KS3 a small number of students are disapplied from languages in order to concentrate on extra literacy and numeracy. During these sessions differentiated tasks are delivered to small groups.
At KS4 an option is available for students to attend College (for example, Oaklands) to study more vocational type courses.
There is identification and testing of candidate’s requirements for access arrangements at KS4 and KS5 to provide additional support during tests and examinations.
In addition the department provides access to a touch typing course, homework club, paired reading with 6th Form, Spelling & Numeracy Clubs and Mentoring for individual students.
Before we can work in conjunction with students requiring Learning Support we have to be very clear that we have identified their needs successfully. This is a comprehensive process which we break down into stages.
When we visit each feeder primary school we gather valuable information (written and spoken) about identified special needs students.
We study students’ records, parental concerns and SATs results from the primary schools.
We have developed a detailed screening programme for our students in their first term as a Year 7 student. Every student who is admitted to Roundwood Park will undergo a series of tests, regardless of Junior School records, to try and ensure that nobody can ‘slip through the net’.
The main test that we use is as follows:
MidYIS Online Assessment – This test gives us very clear information on a student’s literacy (reading, writing, spelling), numeracy (number work) and spatial awareness (technology/design skills).
PROGRAMMES AND SUPPORT
The Learning Support department is keen to use innovative IT programs to help a range of pupils make progress with their basic literacy and numeracy skills. Our recent addition is the Lexia Reading program which provides explicit, systematic and structured drill and practice in the basic skills that make up successful reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. This has been installed on computers within the Learning Support department but is also accessible from home to registered students.
There are a small number of students in Years 8 and 9 who are withdrawn from one modern foreign language (either French or German). During this time they work on improving their literacy skills with specialist Learning Support teachers. A number of different strategies are used to address each student’s particular difficulties. These include individualised, multi-sensory reading and spelling schemes such as PAT (Phonological Aware Training). ‘Lexia Reading’ is also used to target specific reading and spelling difficulties and motivate the students to succeed. The Learning Support department helps pupils to improve their writing skills by working on grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and different writing styles. In Year 9 members of the English and Learning Support departments work closely together to prepare the students for their ‘End of KS3 Teacher Assessment’, using the withdrawal lessons and providing extra support in English lessons. Pupil progress is carefully monitored using individual education plans and there are many opportunities for parents to become involved.
Some students will receive support in developing their social skills, taking part in ‘Circle of Friends’ activities and developing their ability to interact with others in a small group situation. ‘Social Detectives’ has been designed to assist students with Autistic tendencies to work in small groups ientifying and analysing issues which they find difficult to deal with on a daily basis. A number of the TAs, in conjunction with Teaching Staff in the Pastoral Department, have been trained to deliver the ‘UK Resilience Programme’ (UKRP) to all students in the lower year groups. The UKRP aims to improve children’s psychological well-being by building resilience and promoting accurate thinking and is delivered to Form Groups. Regular, individual mentoring sessions by the Learning Support Staff is given to specific students and can be requested by a student subject to the availability of time and resources.