Learning Support - FAQ

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How does the school identify young people with special educational needs?

We work closely with feeder primary schools and ensure we receive all necessary information on levels, targets, and support requirements of each pupil. The Director of Learning Support and members of the Discovery College Team then meet with feeder primary SENCos and the parents of students before they start at Homewood which allows us to get to know the students and identify any areas of concern at an early stage.

Students complete a number of standardised tests at the start of Year 7, which give us a greater insight into their learning needs. These tests include CATs; reading and spelling tests; Lucid screening and baseline Maths assessments.

Students are monitored throughout their school career by teachers and our support staff. Any concerns are flagged up and dealt with as quickly as possible. If parents have any queries or concerns, they can contact the Learning Support Department at any time.

How will school staff support the young person?

Each SEN Support Level student will have a provision plan, highlighting areas of support. We provide targeted individual support which may include in class support; a differentiated curriculum; small group and one to one intervention sessions. Students are supported by their College staff, SEN staff and teaching staff throughout their time at Homewood.

How will the curriculum be matched to the young person's need?

Some students are part of our Key Skills learning groups during Key Stage 3. Key Skills groups are smaller class settings with a lower student to adult ratio including HLTA support. The differentiated curriculum for Key Skills groups provides a nurturing environment in which the building blocks of literacy, numeracy and social skills can be enhanced. This then in turn helps students access the mainstream curriculum.  Other students are involved in mainstream classes with targeted support then provided in addition when appropriate. This allows us to tailor the learning experiences in key subjects to the particular needs of students.

Students are supported by LSAs and HTLAs who provide a tailored programme in literacy and numeracy and differentiate class work according to a students' needs. In some cases, students will have 1:1 or small group support sessions, for example withdrawal from a subject such as modern foreign languages. At Key Stage 4 some students continue to be part of Key Skills groups for the core subjects of English, Maths and Science. 

The nurture and differentiated curriculum aspects of Key Skills groups are also continued to Key Stage 4 through our ASDAN, Study Skills and Skills for Working Life options.

How will parents know how their children are doing and how to support their child's learning?

At Homewood we aim to develop close links with parents and carers. There are a number of opportunities through the year for parents/carers to talk to staff. In addition, reports in the form of data captures and more detailed subject reports are sent home to parents. Parents and carers are welcome to phone or email staff at any time with concerns, questions or queries. Advice can be sought at any time from individual subjects and the Learning Support Team on how parents can support students at home.

What specialist services and expertise are available at the college?

The Learning Support Department has worked hard to develop close working relationships with specialist support services available in the local community and through the LEA.

In addition, many of our Learning Support staff have areas of specific interest and expertise such as Phonographixs; Dyslexia; Dyscalculia; Autistic Spectrum Disorder; social and emotional needs; physical and medical impairments; social skills and speech, language and communication needs.

The Learning Support Team also works closely with Homewood’s internal Inclusion Team and pastoral support structure, especially our in -house counsellor, mentors, Life Centre, College support staff, Early Help and Early Intervention staff.

What training do the support staff have?

All LSAs have completed induction training in house and with the Local Authority and many have achieved Level 2 and 3 qualifications in Supporting Teaching and Learning or more specific qualifications such as the specific Higher Level Teaching Assistant qualification or specific Dyslexia Qualifications. Others will be completing specialist qualifications in the next academic year.

All staff have received behaviour management training, child protection training and training in specific areas of special educational need.

Our Learning Support Team meet once a week for training specifically tailored to the needs of students we are currently supporting. These training sessions are led by the Director of Learning Support but are often delivered by a member of the LA and local Specialist Support Services.

We actively encourage staff to attend courses throughout the year, which will enhance our provision. Many of our staff frequently attend training sessions in our extended community, such as sessions delivered by CAHMS or local Special School Providers such as Goldwyn School.

How will students be included in activities outside the classroom and on school trips?

All students are encouraged to join clubs and take part in activities at lunch, break and after school. SEN Support Level students are monitored and special attention is paid to their level of participation. As a Department, we try to ensure that all students can go on trips they would like to attend, by offering support and guidance, including help with costs for Pupil Premium students.

How accessible is the school?

The site team is vigilant in making sure the site is safe for all users including those with disabilities. We have disabled toilets and lifts. We have the support of the EAL service for students whose first language is not English. We routinely complete accessibility audits and adapt to the needs of the students on role.

How will Homewood support my child to join the school and to transfer to further education?

We have close connections with our feeder primary schools. Students begin visiting Homewood throughout their time at primary school, for a variety of activities such as sports festivals, science lessons and out of hours Master Classes. In this way, they become familiar with the school.

More specific work with primary schools begins in Year 5 and Year 6. Our Director of Learning Support and other team members gather information from primary schools at this time, and then meets the primary SENCOs to discuss students in more depth. This is then followed by further events for parents and students. The Learning Support Team also spend time visiting each student with SEN at their primary school, either in lessons or in a small discussion group.

During the last term of Year 6 we hold a Transitions Week where students get to know the school, teaching and support staff who will be working most closely with them.

In terms of Post 16 education and training, we work alongside students and their parents/carers to facilitate the move onto further education by organising visits to local colleges, supporting students and parents with applications and any queries they have. We aim for 100% of our Year 11 students on the SEN Register to have a Post 16 college place or to be involved in a development programme. 

A high number of SEN students return to Homewood for the Sixth Form. We are proud of the range and levels of courses available to students in the Sixth Form including vocational qualifications. We are currently developing a Skills for Working Life Programme for students with a high level of SEN need who attend our Sixth Form. Students continue to be supported academically, socially and emotionally at Sixth Form.

We also work closely with our assigned Connexions worker and various other youth support agencies to support those for whom Post 16 transition is a daunting prospect.

Whom can I contact for further information?

You can contact our Director of Learning Support (Miss L. Stephen) by telephone or email via 01580 764222 Ext 290 or l.stephen@homewood.kent.sch.uk