The purpose of this policy is to provide practical guidance for teachers and school Heads on the provision of effective learning support to students experiencing low achievement and/ or difficulties in their learning.
It is for medical experts and psychologists to diagnose difficulties, so the focus of this policy is on the processes that schools/ teachers might use to identify and cater for the needs of individual Students they work with, in relation to the impact of those needs on their learning and socialisation in school. These processes include simple classroom based teacher interventions to providing additional in-class support.
Aims of this Policy
- To ensure all TMS students gain access to a broad and balanced curriculum and have access to an appropriate level of education expected at TMS
- To set out the whole school approach to teaching and learning for all students
- To develop a partnership with parents
- To outline procedures and practices to be followed in relation to supporting the learning of students who are not meeting expectations for learning
- To outline the use of all resources in ways that support students to engage meaningfully with the curriculum and develop the skills and competencies expected
We work towards these aims by:
- Monitoring and reviewing all student progress across the curriculum and regular assessment, or review of continuous work, to ensure that any problems are identified at an early stage
- Providing academic progress reports regularly to parents at parent meetings
- Providing support and advice for all teachers working with students
- Providing a range of additional support and alternative teaching materials for teachers to use with all students
We want all of our students to feel that they are a valued part of the TMs community. We do this through inclusive practices, which have at their core, the following principals:
- Setting suitable learning challenges for students
- Responding to students’ diverse learning needs
- Overcoming barriers to learning and assessment that some students have
- Identification and Determining Support Needs
Access to the full curriculum of the school is to be achieved by the careful differentiation of class work by the teacher. Through careful planning, the teacher should define what each student is expected to learn. Where there is concern about a student/ students achieving the objectives, a teacher should immediately seek advice from the school Head and Subject-Lead on strategies which might be used to help the student/ students achieve the learning objectives.
Where a student is considered as requiring treatment or management different to that normally given to other students in a class, the School Head should ensure that all who are likely to come into contact with the student are appropriately informed. In such circumstances, regular student progress meetings should take place.
- Stages of Evaluation of, and Supporting, Students’ Needs
The early identification of students with additional needs is vital. A teacher’s assessment is considered as particularly important when a student’s work or behaviour has been carefully observed and recorded over time.
The process of assessment is staged to recognise the early input of an individual teacher, to that of the whole strategies and the support of the school Head, or other agencies. These stages are:
- Stage 1 (monitoring) – The teacher:
- Identifies that a Student may have support needs
- Meets with the student/parents
- Collects relevant information about the student
- Ensures a differentiated curriculum
- Monitors and reviews the progress of the student
- Stage 2 (action planning) – The teacher should:
- Write an individual learning plan, in conjunction with parents and the school Head
- Make sure that any relevant information is passed on to the Subject-Lead in Head Office
- Ensure that there is sufficient support, either resources or an additional teacher or significant other verified with the parents, in the classroom so that targets can be met
- Discuss strategies and teaching techniques and the efficient use of resources for assisting with the implementation of the individual learning plan
- Monitor and review the progress of the student
- Liaise closely with the parents throughout every term regarding the progress of the student
- Stage 3 (Reviewing) – The teacher should:
- Amend the individual learning plan in consultation with the parents, school Head and the Subject-Lead from Head Office
- Review the use of resources and teaching strategies
- Seek advice from outside specialists should this be deemed worthwhile, in consultation and agreement with the parents
- Stage 4 (Amendment) – The teacher should:
- Consider the need for an amended individual learning plan based on advice from an outside specialist
- Ensure that at all stages, there are clear and explicit records which express the issues and efforts being taken
- Stage 1 (monitoring) – The teacher:
- Supporting Learning
There should not be an assumption that all students will progress at the same rate. Slow progress and low attainment do not necessarily mean that a student has ‘special educational needs’ and should not automatically lead to a student being identified as having special educational needs.
Furthermore, it should not be assumed by anyone in school that attainment in line with chronological age means that there are no additional learning needs.
Students will have needs and requirements which fall into at least one of four areas and students can have inter-related needs, which we define as:
- Communication and interaction needs (e.g. language difficulties caused by inexperience with, for example, English, or particular difficulties associated with interacting with others, particularly students with difficulties developing basic literacy and numeracy)
- Learning (e.g. an individual student’s ability to gain knowledge and skills at the same rate as his or her peers, labelled as ‘under-achievers)
- Social and emotional development (e.g. lack of confidence/ self-esteem/ shyness etc.)
This policy recognises that we view all TMS students as unique and that fixed categories of additional needs cannot reflect the diversity of needs we may experience with our students.
Consequently, teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress and development of all students in their class. All teachers should therefore make regular assessments of progress for all students. In this way, teachers should seek to identify students making less than expected progress given their age and individual circumstances.
This can be characterised by progress which:
- Is significantly slower than that of their peers starting from the same baseline (i.e. equivalent percentages/ grades in examinations and assessments)
- Fails to match or improve on the student’s previous rate of progress
- Fails to close the attainment gap between the student and his/her peers
By providing this policy, we suggest that students are only identified as having ‘special educational needs’ if they do not make adequate progress (compared to that which is expected) once they have had good quality personalised teaching.
- The Role of the Teacher
The role of the teacher is:
- To provide educational support and practical help to the individual Student by assessment of individual needs and the provision of additional/ supplementary tuition and support where appropriate. To relate the type and level of in-class provision to the needs of the individual Student and to make effective use of available resources
- To support colleagues and parents through advice, support and resources
- To develop and evaluate resources, alternative teaching approaches and adjusted content
- To facilitate the inclusion of all Students into class
- To monitor Students through continuous evaluation
- To develop ways of catering for intensive and/or specific support for individual Students in the short term
- Liaison with Parents
The teacher is the normal point of contact with parents in the case of a Student who is considered as needing additional support for learning. As such, parents should be seen as a vital information source about the Student(their child) and particular attention should be paid to sensitive and supportive consulting with parents as part of arranging and providing additional support arrangements.
Factors Impacting on Progress and Attainment
- Attendance and punctuality
- Health issues
- Inexperience with spoken English
Evaluation of this Policy
The Director (Academics), Subject-Leads in Head Office and teacher(s) concerned should evaluate the success of this policy each year by enquiring of all schools how effectively Students with additional needs are enabled to participate in the whole curriculum and all school activities.
The Director/ Subject-Leads/ teacher(s) should come to a judgement, based on their own knowledge and experience throughout the school year, about the effectiveness of the parent partnership and how well the Student is meeting their targets set in their individual learning plans.