|The Learning Support Centre plays a key role in the implementation of the school’s SEN policy, which aims to provide a framework of identification, assessment and provision that will enable pupils with special educational needs to develop their skills, gain confidence in their abilities and overcome the challenges of their differences so that they can manage 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 special educational needs, predominantly specific learning difficulties, but also includes those who are referred for support to resolve problems with specific areas of work, such as essay writing and time management, which need out of class reinforcement.
The Learning Support Centre is accommodated in a busy part of the school: adjacent to the IT suite and near the Library. It can accommodate up to 8 pupils, though most sessions are taught in groups of 4 pupils or fewer.
The department is staffed by Mrs Felicity Kilpatrick MA SEN (SpLD), RSA Dip SpLD, AMBDA. Mrs Kilpatrick is Head of Learning Support and acts as Special Needs Co-ordinator. She joined the school as a mainstream English Teacher in 1985 and is qualified to teach pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties. Mrs Kilpatrick’s main areas of responsibility include assessment of pupils, promotion of classroom strategies for supporting pupils and provision of specialist literacy support.
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 department by a subject teacher, by a Tutor or by a parent (usually via a teacher or Housemaster / Housemistress or Tutor). 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 Head of Learning Support 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.