The Learning Support Base aims to use the best interventions at the right time to ensure students feel secure, challenged and motivated in all Learning Zones.
The Support process begins before students’ arrival in Yr 7 – when the Transition Team and Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) talk to primary colleagues to identify Yr 6 pupils who may need extra support. Parents are encouraged to visit the Academy to find out how we can meet their children’s needs and over the summer term identified students are invited onto programmes to support transition to secondary school.
At the beginning of the first term the whole of Yr 7 is assessed for reading and spelling age. Pupils’ areas of strength are then identified by Cognitive Abilities Testing (CATs) which also gives a clear indication of what pupil’s individual support needs will be. If necessary pupils can be further screened for dyslexia and pupils with severe difficulties are assessed by a Literacy Specialist. At Key Stage 3 all students complete a programme to improve literacy and numeracy ability. These personalised programmes are designed to ‘top – up’ the skills of those students whose literacy levels need boosting, whilst providing increasingly challenging activities for more able students. As well as providing in-class support for high need and statemented students, the Base also provides small groups offering intensive reading, writing and numeracy interventions. At the beginning of September 2012 members of the Learning Support Team trained in Read Write Inc – a strategy which will enable BMA to deepen our support for students who are having difficulties developing basic literacy.
Key Stage 4 students are offered a weekly Study Skills group to help with coursework completion or revision strategy. Students with a statement continue to receive individual and in-class support and some will be assessed for special arrangements in exams.
Key stage 5 pupils can self refer for further Study Skills support – and are encouraged to use the ‘Learning Lounge’ drop-in facility. Regular support sessions can also be organised according to individual student need.
We work in partnership with professionals from a range of external agencies to organise specialist support (e.g. Educational Psychology/Autism Outreach Team) where needed.
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