Learning Support Unit
The Learning Support & SEND Unit
- young people who have Special Educational Needs, disabilities, and medical conditions
- young people who are vulnerable, disadvantaged or who are Looked After
- young people who have English as an Additional Language
The Learning Support Unit (LSU) is home to the SEND and EAL teams. We support young people across the academy, including the Sixth Form, in mainstream lessons and interventions delivered from within our LSU or in the designated Unit Provision for Autism. Requests to the SENDCo for additional support for young people come from other academy staff, other professionals and agencies, parents and carers or from the young people themselves. Our aim is to help young people in continuing to make educational progress. We try to by support them in overcoming temporary and long-term difficulties whatever the circumstances, through their developing self-awareness, mindfulness, resilience, independence and perseverance.
In addition to the traditional role of supporting the teaching and learning of pupils with a range of learning difficulties, social emotional and mental health needs, physical and sensory needs, other disabilities and medical conditions, we also deliver literacy and numeracy intervention programmes, including the Year 7 catch-up programme. Our specialist teacher of English as an Additional Language works with new pupils to assure that they can access the full curriculum and make sustained progress. For some pupils this support may be extended in an individual programme. We also organise and provide the appropriately trained staff for pupils who are entitled to access arrangements for assessments and examinations.
We work with young people to develop independent and supported learning strategies. Occasionally we allocate a Learning Assistant to provide in-class additional adult support to those pupils whose needs indicate that this is the best, most effective or necessary type of support.
We work closely with the Designated Teacher for Children who are Looked After, the Designated Safeguarding Lead and the pastoral Year Teams. We co-ordinate individual programmes of learning with other teams in the academy to ensure the best outcomes for vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
Our team of learning mentors also works with individual children to help them to re-engage and participate in mainstream learning where this has become a difficulty that they cannot overcome without help. We provide counselling, as well as teaching mindfulness and wellbeing, protective behaviours and bespoke PSHE (personal, social and health education). We work with curriculum and pastoral team leaders to deliver highly individualised programmes to develop social, emotional resilience so that young people feel confident that they can access and take ownership of their learning with increasing independence and self-reliance. We also support young people in crisis where anxiety, mental health issues, feelings and emotions, may overwhelm a young person and prevent them from being able to access learning and function during the academy day. We have nurture groups during form time to support transition from home and personal organisation. Break time facilities supervised by an experienced learning mentor are available to a small group of pupils who cannot manage the wider academy environment at breaks.
Sharing our success:
A child who is Looked After
A 13 year old girl arrived in the UK further to escaping the warzone in which she had grown up. As a refugee and a child who is looked after, her particular needs were complex. She had received little or no formal education and spoke no English. The teams for children who are looked after, pastoral support, EAL and SEND supported her so that she felt safe, secure and valued as a member of the academy’s community. There was very close liaison with the carers and with our colleagues in social care and the looked after team at the local authority. Daily support, intensive English language sessions, and a carefully structured, fully supported integration programme was delivered, enabling our pupil to make rapid and sustained progress, in English language and in her social, emotional and mental health. Transition into social interactions with peers and into mainstream learning was carefully managed. She has made excellent progress and accessed a full range of subjects for her GCSE courses alongside her peers, securing a place in College.
A vulnerable child with complex education, health and care needs
Our Year 10 boy had been excluded from primary school and had been educated at home for the second half of Year 6. His situation was complex and required a co-ordinated approach from social care, health and education. A planned programme of additional transition visits, summer school participation and a staged integration to the secondary setting has meant that he can participate fully in lessons without additional support, knows how to recognise when he is struggling, is reconciled to his long-term difficulties, and will ask for additional help, even self-referring to the support teams.
Children with lower than average attainment at the start of Year 7
Data for our Year 7 catch-up literacy programme shows that most children make more than 18 months progress in their reading age in less than 6 weeks. In their spelling, they improve on average by more than 15 months, and in reading comprehension by 12 months. Pupils joining us with lower than average attainment in literacy skills at the end of Year 6 make rapid and sustained progress and are usually able to join mainstream English language and literature lessons within 12 weeks.