A whole school approach is adopted at Cottesmore so that mainstream and specialist staff work together for the benefit of any pupils who require learning support. There is a shared responsibility for making the curriculum accessible to all pupils with learning difficulties.
Within the Learning Support Department the curriculum is tailored to suit each child’s particular needs. These needs are determined by assessment of the child’s particular strengths and weaknesses. This can be informal or by a professional Educational Psychologist assessment; following this an individual learning programme is devised. Sometimes the learning needs of a pupil have been identified prior to entry to the school and provision is put in place from the outset with regular monitoring and review.
There is a dedicated team of specialist teachers who withdraw children from class for 1:1, or occasionally small group sessions at a time that is mutually suitable. Specialist teachers also provide some Class Support. There is a multi-sensory approach to teaching and learning and the children benefit from the expertise of the staff, who are aided by the provision of a wide variety of up-to-date resources. The Department aims to support the self-esteem of pupils with learning difficulties.
A qualified, experienced speech and language therapist works as a member of the learning support team to provide specialist speech and language therapy assessments, together with liaison with school staff and parents for those children who have specific language difficulties.
The department is fully integrated into the school and consists of some designated rooms. It is open access and the children are encouraged to come for help when they need it.
Work is usually carried out in one or a combination of the following areas:
· Listening and memory skills
· Study skills
· Exam technique
· Language and communication
Jenny Beegan, Learning Support Co-ordinator (LSCo)