Learning Support

The Additional Learning Support Centre plays a key role in the implementation of the school’s ALN policy, which aims to provide a framework of identification, assessment and provision that will enable pupils with additional learning needs to develop their skills, gain confidence in their abilities and overcome the challenges of their differences with the ultimate goal of them managing their learning independently.


The Learning Support Centre was established in 1995 and has evolved to support those who have identified learning needs. In the main, these are pupils with specific learning difficulties. Additional Learning Needs is led by Mrs Ellen Owen who is also a qualified SPLD assessor and manages the access arrangements for school examinations. Mrs Owen is also a member of the British Dyslexia Association and fully accredited by them.

Over the course of time the centre has also evolved in its support of pupils requiring study skills to assist them in their learning. This support is aimed at resolving problems with specific areas of work, such as essay writing and time management, which need out of class reinforcement. This is led by Mrs Ruth Allen, Head of Faculty for Teaching and Learning in the school. 

At entry

If a prospective pupil is already identified as a pupil who may need learning support* (see below) he or she will be referred to the department at entry as a matter of course. It is important for parents to make us aware of any previous learning support at the earliest stage. Once a referral is made, appropriate information is gathered from any entrance papers taken and previous school references. It is also useful if this information can be supplemented by comments from parents and an informal assessment. When necessary an assessment is done before the offer of a place. In the case of pupils identified as having a Specific Learning Difficulty, a current report from an educational psychologist will also be requested.

* - It should be noted that all pupils, including those with identified special educational needs, are expected to cope with a full curriculum at a relatively independent level. Though we recognise that some pupils have to face specific challenges in and out of the classroom, pupils who require a high level of individual special provision may require a level of support that Christ College does not currently offer.

At Christ College

A pupil may be referred to the ALN department by a subject teacher, by a Tutor or by a parent. It is also possible for the pupil to make a request for support – either directly to the Learning Support Department or via House staff or a subject teacher. Once a pupil has been referred, the Additional Learning Needs Coordinator requests information from all those who have contact with the pupil – House staff as well as teachers. Evidence of work is requested as well as comments about performance in the classroom. If they have not already been involved, parents are alerted to concerns raised and the pupil is interviewed in the department. The interview may include some standard tests so that more detailed evidence of the pupil’s performance can be considered.