The Learning Support Department plays a vital role at the Dragon. It offers assistance and support to children challenged by learning difficulties such as dyslexia and dyspraxia. The Department works in close conjunction with subject and form takers to ensure that support is provided when and where necessary, and within the context of the broader curriculum.The Department is situated at the heart of the school with a central area and specially designed teaching rooms. All those who teach in the department have a qualification in teaching children with Specific Learning Difficulties. There is also a Speech and Language therapist who supports children with speech, language and social skills.
Children will be referred to the department by tutors or subject takers when there are concerns about them having more difficulties in the classroom than their peers. These difficulties could be in a variety of areas including spelling, reading, number work, organisation, presentation and lay out of work, or study skills. Children for whom English is an additional language may also be referred for support.
A referral form is sent to all the child's takers so that a full picture of their strengths and weaknesses is obtained. The Head of Learning Support then carries out an assessment, having first requested permission to do so from the parents. Following this, a copy of the assessment is sent to the child's parents and tutor, along with an invitation to meet for a discussion. If appropriate lessons are offered from the Learning Support Department, these are usually individual but can be shared with another child or a combination of both.
There is regular and frequent communication with parents by email, telephone and meetings in the department. Parents are encouraged to discuss their concerns or make an appointment to come in and meet their child's Learning Support teacher at any time. Full reports and progress reports are written according to the main teaching timetable.
It is essential that parents give the Learning Support Department copies of any Educational Psychologist's, or other assessments carried out on their child prior to their entry to the Dragon. The department will also need to receive copies of any assessments carried out while the child is at the school.
- Handwriting: There is a class held once a week to which children can be referred by their subject takers or tutors. This is to help those who are finding writing neatly problematical for a variety of reasons. Children are taught in a small group, and appropriate help is given for their individual needs. Children are expected to attend once a week, usually for a term.
- SRA (Reading and Comprehension Laboratory): A class is run once a week for those children who require more practice with their reading and comprehension skills than can be offered in class. Children are referred by their Learning Support teacher and usually attend a group session for a year.
- Literacy Groups: These are provided for children in D and C Blocks who need further practice and development of their basic literacy skills. There are two lessons a week with an English specialist teacher.
- Outside Help: External assessment is sought where appropriate, but only after full discussion with the parents. We have lists of specialists known to us some of which come into school, such as Educational Psychologists, Occupational Therapists and Behavioural Optometrists. Arrangements can be made for these assessments to be done in school and parents are then billed directly.
For further information contact:
Head of Learning Support