One of the aims of St George’s is that every pupil should have the facility to achieve her full potential. The concept of ‘special needs’ is not just related to children with learning difficulties but to all children with special needs, including those who are intellectually able or with exceptional talents in other fields. Pupils with specific learning difficulties can also be educationally gifted and our staff are alert to each pupil in the school and understand their strengths and their weaknesses.
St George’s is committed to equal opportunities for all and we aim to meet the needs of each of our pupils. We encourage our pupils to become independent learners and to enjoy their school days, reaching their potential in an environment of recognition, understanding and support.
For those with additional educational needs, a regular cycle of testing, assessment, planning and review enables us to identify areas for development and support as soon as possible. Individual Educational Plans form the basis both of the Learning Support lessons and of the progress of our pupils in the wider school. They are regularly reviewed and parents are informed and arrangements for lessons are made directly between parents and the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre, with whom we work in partnership.
Support takes the form of one-to-one, specialist tuition. In some cases we will seek the expertise of outside agencies such as educational psychologists and speech and language therapists.
Learning Support staff are qualified, specialist teachers, experienced in delivering structured, cumulative lessons, who enable our pupils to learn quickly and effectively. We make a point of introducing our pupils to up-to-date software that can assist their learning which includes:
Edmodo is used by the support teachers to check the details of prep assignments with pupils. Load2Learn is a free online resource which enables pupils to download electronic versions of their text-books (used in particular by visually impaired and dyslexic students to enable enlargement of text and text to be read aloud).
Personalised learning lies at the heart of our approach, while all pupils have access to a full curriculum and are encouraged to aim as high as their academic abilities permit. In 2014 91% of all our pupils with learning support gained A* to C grades at GCSE. Each year, a significant proportion gained places at The Russell Group of Universities.
The Department places great emphasis on communication and collaboration with our teaching colleagues; many of our pupils are originally referred to us by class teachers who have noticed discrepancies in their academic abilities. We encourage and promote inclusive, differentiated teaching throughout the school, and discussions with teaching staff regarding the progress of our pupils is daily practice.
Parents are asked, on the registration form, to share with the School any concern they may have about their child, to let us know of any pre-existing conditions and to forward all relevant reports including their Educational Psychologist Reports.
If, having given due consideration, we consider that we are unable to make the necessary adjustments to meet a prospective pupil’s Special Educational Needs, we will inform parents immediately.