Learning Development

We provide a caring and supportive environment enabling pupils with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) or those with English as an Additional Language (EAL) to achieve their full potential. The ethos of the school supports unity through all aspects of a pupil’s school life. The order and careful discipline practised within the school helps pupils who need and respond well to routine. We use a student centred approach and tailor support to individuals from both a pastoral and academic perspective.

We aim to identify learning differences as soon as possible in the secondary phase of education. The SENDCO is involved in the admissions process to ensure we can fully support students from the moment they join St James. The SENDCO may identify other needs or differences through screening tests, educational psychologist (EP) reports or via regular liaison with Heads of Section, Form Teachers, subject teachers, pupils, parents and coordinated by the SENDCO.

A detailed history of need and provision, such as interventions and reports, enables the school to support the learning and pastoral needs of the pupil. Sometimes a new or updated EP report is recommended to provide a full objective assessment of a pupil’s needs. Care is taken to help parents through this process since there are often concerns that students may be “labelled”; however the reality is quite the opposite. An EP report provides a thorough understanding of the student’s difficulties with clear recommendations for school support.

This may involve some targeted support for the pupil from the Learning Development Department for a given period of time, or advice to be given to the subject teachers about specific strategies to help pupils in lessons.

A whole school approach to key study skills, revision and exam techniques ensures that all pupils, including those with learning difficulties or EAL, are given a range of strategies to help them to learn effectively and to make progress. These techniques benefit everybody.

Pupils have access to all curriculum subjects, though reduced programmes of study in Years 7-9 are offered to particular students to strengthen key skills and develop self-confidence before starting GCSE courses in Year 10. These Learning Development classes take the form of small group additional English and additional mathematics depending on the needs of the student. Students need not have a diagnosis or an identified SEND to take part in these Learning Development lessons, sometimes it may be for a short period of time to support a specific area of difficulty such as comprehension or multiplication. These Learning Development lessons are delivered by the SENDCO and parents are updated on student progress. Alternatively, some students continue a full programme of study but receive support via other interventions such as touch typing club in years 7-9.

Every pupil is encouraged to develop self- motivation and ‘study stamina’ via further support in years 10-13. This can take the form of targeted study clinics/groups run by specialist SEN mathematics and English teachers or intensive 1:1 academic support over a half term.

Furthermore, the SENDCO oversees exam access arrangements and is a specialist assessor who carries out assessments to determine whether students qualify for extra time, word processor, rest breaks, scribe, bilingual dictionaries or other exam arrangements. These provisions are put in place as early as possible to ensure any adjustments are the student’s normal way of working.