St Julian’s is an inclusive school, meaning we support students with a variety of needs and adapt methods of learning to the student.
The Learning Support Department at St Julian’s bases its philosophy and practice upon this principle of Inclusion, which “has to do with people and society valuing diversity and overcoming barriers.” (Topping and Maloney, 2005). Inclusive Education reflects how schools respond to diversity and difference in learning styles, ability and interest within the student population. The SSD works with and monitors the progress of students and implements various strategies to ensure that each student is making progress.
During a student’s school career, specific aspects of his/ her progress may be focused on by teachers or parents. The Learning Support Department, in consultation with subject teachers and parents, will assess the student’s needs and identify the most appropriate support with the objective of enabling students fully to access the curriculum.
The department collaborates with mainstream departments to support students with a variety of needs: adapting teaching methods to provide for individuals and implementing ongoing strategies whilst monitoring progress, to ensure that students maximise their learning potential. The Department Coordinator draws on the expertise of qualified and experienced staff to meet the needs of students through:
• Cross-curricular in-class support: ensuring that each student with identified individual needs is supported primarily in mainstream lessons, with effectively differentiated work programmes and resources.
• Small group work: Literacy, Numeracy, and various other subject areas that need additional explanation, consolidation and revision in a smaller group than the mainstream class.
• 1:1 input: Interventions based on Literacy, Numeracy, handwriting and keyboard skills, Speech and Language, Organisational and Study Skills, Coursework and Examination techniques, Personalised Learning Programmes with a focus on social, emotional and behavioural development.
• Transition between key stages.
• Examination Access Arrangements: the department supports students who require special arrangements for exams. It should be noted that the examination bodies with which we work, frequently require the student's special circumstances to be attested or certified by specialists outside school, before conceding extra time or other special examination arrangements.
The department ensures that students’ views are actively sought and incorporated at every stage. This is achieved through student contributions to their Individual Educational Plans (IEPs) and Progress Review Meetings held with parents and school staff as well as external providers.
These mechanisms and procedures inform on progress and attainment, and are supplemented by additional screening or diagnostic assessments to obtain a profile of a student’s strengths and weaknesses which can then be used to review support and monitor the effectiveness of intervention.
Parental permission is obtained before any diagnostic assessment is initiated, and where a student's needs are more complex, the department coordinator will recommend to his or her parents that a formal assessment be conducted by an educational psychologist or other appropriate specialist.
Various teaching resources are used, including specific materials targeted towards reading and spelling difficulties (Alpha to Omega, Word Shark, Beat Dyslexia, Smart Phonics, Structured Literacy Dislexxit kits), and numeracy development (Number Shark, Springboard Maths). Students may borrow books from the department, which are targeted towards developing interest and skills for a variety of learners (Lightning Reads, Rapid Readers and literature from specialist publishers such as Robinswood Press, Hodder Education, Ransom and Oxford Press).
Getting Involved to Support Learning
The amount parents support their children at home will have a direct bearing on their progress in school. There are many ways in which parents can help support their child's learning such as:
• Close working relationship with form tutor and teachers.
• Ensure homework diaries are complete and work is handed in correctly.
• Seek advice from teachers and specialist staff on pupil progress.
• Attending parent's evening, progress review and other meetings.
• Understanding how the school works and the targets set for your child in each subject.
• Understanding the interventions available and their impact on learning.
• Visit school to meet staff.
• Supervising revision /study at home.
• Encouraging independent reading at home.