About Personalised Learning
At RWBA we believe that all students are individuals each with specific talents and needs. Some will find learning easy, others will find it hard. All students will have good and bad days. Nevertheless, RWBA is committed to providing an inclusive education for all young people, regardless of ability, gender, language, ethnic or cultural origin. Our aim is for all students to leave the academy with the skills necessary to make a successful transition to adulthood in an ever-changing and highly technological world, whether it is their intention to move on to further or higher education, training or work.
Students who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) as well as those placed at SEN Support are monitored closely by the Personalised Learning Team. We work hard to support a range of student needs that include moderate learning difficulties, specific learning difficulties (Dyslexia), sensory impairments, social, emotional and mental health difficulties, speech, language and communication needs and for those on the autistic spectrum. We also liaise effectively with a wide variety of external agencies and individuals to focus on improving outcomes for all students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
All students follow a broad and balanced curriculum, based on the National Curriculum and have access to many extra-curricular activities to further enhance their learning. Teaching and non-teaching staff work together to provide for children who have special educational needs; normal routines and procedures are designed in such a way that, wherever practicable, no child is excluded from any activity. Where necessary, tasks and activities are modified to best serve individual requirements.
All teachers are teachers of students with special educational needs and disability and have a responsibility to ensure each one is valued and their self-esteem promoted. Explicitly, quality first teaching has to be at the fore. We also work in close partnership with parents/guardians as it is important that they take an active and valued role in their child’s education.
The policy of the Academy is that pupils with a special educational need or disability should be taught within their Year group and, whenever possible, within their normal classes. Withdrawal from lessons will be considered in individual cases when this is felt to be in the best interest of the child concerned and where resources allow.
- To raise the standards of attainment for all students with SEND through a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum that is differentiated to meet individual learning styles (e.g. using visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learning preferences);
- To create a climate where all staff are aware that they are responsible for all students with SEND and plan their lessons accordingly with effective differentiation thus overcoming potential barriers to learning;
- To use data effectively to ensure all students make effective progress at the end of each key stage
- To work in close partnership with outside agencies to support the needs and provision for pupils who have SEND
- To ensure that all SEND students feel safe and valued in school
How can we help students?
Teaching Assistants support in lessons and work with the students in a variety of ways such as clarifying tasks, reading, supporting physical disabilities, providing support during tests/exams, reporting back to teachers on progress in the lesson. Teaching Assistants are highly valued members of staff. They work effectively and closely with class teachers, planning as well as leading a variety of intervention programmes and social skills groups.
How do we help?
Students with EHCPs (Educational Health Care Plan) are our primary focus. We also support students with My Support Plans, although we limit these to students who may need an EHCP in the future. All other students on the SEND register receive in-class support where possible and are monitored through regular meetings between the SENCO, Head of Year, Student Support Manager and Year
How are students selected for extra help?
We work closely with all our feeder primary schools to find out which students need extra help in Years 5 and 6 so we can continue this in Year 7 if necessary. All students with SEND need are placed on our Personalised Learning Register and teachers are given strategies to help support their needs. Those with significant special needs who are not eligible for an EHCP will be provided with a My Support Plan. This is written by the Special Educational Needs Coordinator, using information from parents, primary school and outside agencies and is shared with all teachers. It provides information on the child’s problems, targets and guidelines for support and is reviewed three times a year. In addition, children with an EHCP are required to have an Annual Review meeting. From Year 9 onwards these reviews will consider KS4 and post-16 options.
We regularly review the SEND Register to ensure that we are focussing on the students who most need support. If a student is achieving their expected grades and has no other difficulties, we will remove them from the register as we believe this is important for their self-esteem and for developing their independence. We may only become aware of a student’s difficulties after they have joined us; in such cases we will gather evidence and add them to the SEND register if appropriate.
The Teaching Assistants
Teaching Assistants work in teams based on the main areas of SEND need and with their specific knowledge are able to offer prompt, appropriate and relevant support for identified groups of students. They also advise teachers on learning strategies that work when supporting students.
We have a large team of Teaching Assistants, with 4 Lead TAs responsible for Cognition and Learning, Communication and Interaction, Social, Emotional and Mental Health and Physical Disability and Exam Access Arrangements.
Teaching Assistants support in the following ways:
- Classroom support
• Reading interventions
• Supported homework sessions after school
• Communication with home
• Attending Annual Reviews for students they support
• Support for students with social and communication difficulties
• Run social skills groups for students with ASD
• Run ELSA support groups
Personalised Learning Facilities and Teachers
- 2 dedicated teaching rooms each with a Smart board and well equipped with resources
• 1 x Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) also qualified to test for Exam Access Arrangements
• 1 x SEND Lead for Cognition & Learning
• 1 x SEND Lead for Communication & Interaction
• 1 x SEND Lead for Physical Disability & Social, Emotional and Mental Health
• 1 x SEND Lead for Exam Access Arrangements
• 20 x Teaching Assistants (TAs)
• 1 x SEND Co-ordinator who supports the SENCO and SEND Leads
- The Department is led by the SENCO who is also an Assistant Headteacher
• We have a link Governor who has a specific focus on SEND
• SEND representatives from each subject area meet regularly to discuss strategies for improving learning with our SEND students
SEND Leads and their responsibilities:
Communication & Interaction, Speech & Language and Autism
Cognition & Learning; dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia
Sensory & Physical and support for Exam Access Arrangements. Visual and hearing impairment, physical disability & exam support (readers, writers, extra time)
Curriculum Pathways at Key Stage 3
All students from year 7 to 9 are taught in mixed ability classes.
All students will learn a Modern Foreign Language. Some may find this difficult, but we believe it is important that all students have the opportunity to at least experience some aspects of foreign cultures.
Additional Support Q5
This course is designed to support the Academy’s ethos of maximising the opportunity for the student to achieve their best in their GCSEs.
Q5 Additional Support has been added to the curriculum to help year 10 and 11 students to achieve their very best in their GCSEs. One less GCSE is studied and the extra time is used to help students with their subject choices, relieve the pressure on workload, develop skills and knowledge that will be useful in the workplace and build the students’ confidence. The learning will primarily be in the hands of the student but encouraged and overseen by teachers. Each student will utilise focussed revision techniques to develop their understanding of the content of the GCSEs they are taking. Students will be expected to produce a detailed and effective revision resource for each of their subjects.
Staff will be available to answer questions about the students’ work and support them through any lack of understanding and uncertainty. Time is also put aside in most sessions to support homework set in the GCSE subjects being studied. Students are also encouraged to attend after school subject intervention sessions.
In 2009, Sir Jim Rose’s Report on ‘Identifying and Teaching Children and Young People with Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties’ gave the following description of dyslexia.
‘Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling. Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed.
Dyslexia occurs across the range of intellectual abilities. It is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and there are no clear cut-off points. Co-occurring difficulties may be seen in aspects of language, motor co-ordination, mental calculation, concentration and personal organisation, but these are not, by themselves, markers of dyslexia.
Dyslexic learners may also have accompanying weaknesses in short term memory, sequencing and the speed at which they process information. These are skills that everyone needs if they are to learn effectively in a busy classroom. They are also key skills for life.
Learning problems arise if dyslexia is not recognised and the teaching is inappropriate. Our policy at RWBA is to view dyslexia as a learning difference, one which conveys a range of strengths and weaknesses in common with all learning styles and preferences. Not all students will be diagnosed with dyslexia, but many will show dyslexic traits. There is no reason why any child should not achieve their potential through determined hard work and support both from school and home.
The British Dyslexia Association has excellent support materials available on its website. www.bdadyslexia.org.uk. RWBA is a member of the Wiltshire Dyslexic Association and is working to achieve Dyslexia Friendly Schools status.
If a concern is raised, a student will be supported as appropriate for their needs with teachers using dyslexia friendly methods in their teaching to support the students’ differing learning styles. We are unable to give a diagnosis of dyslexia and would recommend that parents seek a private diagnosis if that is what they wish. To enable us to effectively use a private diagnosis for any Exam Access Arrangements the professional should be known to the school and the school should be informed in advance.
Click here to view ‘A Handy Guide to Dyslexia’
Click here to view ‘Dyslexia in Wiltshire’
The post Year 9 curriculum marks an important stage in a student’s life. The decisions they make at this time will determine their success in examinations and their future employability.
We recognise that not all students will benefit from studying a curriculum structured solely on GCSEs. To succeed in their goals, it is more appropriate to offer a balance of core subjects and practical work to enhance employability. To achieve this, we offer an innovative ‘Personalised Alternative Course (PAC)’.
This programme involves the compulsory elements of Maths, English and Science but it also allows a student to access other opportunities such as extended work experience in Year 10/11, attending a college course for one day a week (eg mechanics or catering), completing units in finance and a BTec in Travel and Tourism. The aim of the programme is to offer a balanced curriculum that includes an academic element, reducing the demand for coursework and creating links with local employers.
Access arrangements are pre-examination adjustments for candidates based on evidence of need and normal way of working.
Access Arrangements allow candidates/students with special educational needs, disabilities or temporary injuries to access the assessment without changing the demands of the assessment. For example, readers, scribes and Braille question papers. In this way Awarding Bodies will comply with the duty of the Equality Act 2010 to make ‘reasonable adjustments’.
The Equality Act 2010 requires an Awarding Body to make reasonable adjustments where a disabled person would be at a substantial disadvantage in undertaking an assessment.
A reasonable adjustment for a particular person may be unique to that individual. How reasonable the adjustment is will depend on factors including the needs of the disabled candidate/student. An adjustment may not be considered reasonable if it involves unreasonable costs, timeframes or affects the security or integrity of the assessment.
There is no duty on the Awarding Bodies to make any adjustment to the assessment objectives being tested in an assessment. The teachers of each student will make a recommendation if they feel exam access arrangements are appropriate; any such arrangements must be clearly evidenced as the s ‘normal way of working’. Tests will then be carried out by a Specialist Trained Assessor. All requests for Access Arrangements must be approved by the Awarding Bodies.
Special Consideration is a post examination adjustment to a candidate’s mark or grade to reflect temporary injury, illness or other indisposition at the time of the examination/assessment.
Teachers will ensure that we do all we can to support children with English as an Additional Language (EAL) so that they can feel safe and secure and make good progress. A child’s English may range from fluent, particularly when English is the primary language used in the home, to very limited.
It is the newly arrived EAL students that are seen as vulnerable but our numbers of these are low. Also, our exam results for EAL pupils are good and are above targets. If students request they take GCSE and A Level examinations in their native language then we encourage this and organise it for them. However, this must be fully funded by the parent.
We have a very experienced Teaching Assistant committed to working with our EAL students. In addition, Wiltshire Council have a team dedicated to supporting children with EAL and we are able to contact them if we need further support.