Learning Support

This outline should be read in conjunction with the School’s SEND and Learning Support Policy, with the Access Arrangements Policy and with the Admissions Policy found on the School Policies webpage.

Abingdon School endeavours to recognise the needs of boys who need Learning Support. We realise that a small but significant percentage of intelligent, high-achieving boys survive for a long time on quick wits but with only partially developed study skills, and that a proportion are likely to under-perform at some time. End-of-year examinations, for example, often reveal that a boy has run out of strategies to cope, and we try to support him onwards, teach him how to learn more effectively and alert his teachers to his particular needs.

Learning Support is provided by a full-time Head of Learning Support, an experienced full-time teacher and a part time teacher in the Learning Support department. We aim to provide a graduated response to match each pupil’s level of need.  At each stage, pupils are encouraged to take an active role in managing their learning and to set themselves high standards. Parents are involved in decision-making and are kept fully informed of the recommendations, actions and interventions at all stages, by email, telephone consultations and meetings. A copy of the information given is sent to the pupil’s tutor and housemaster.

Abingdon’s approach to Learning Support is graduated as follows:

  • Wave 1: Reasonable classroom adjustments/differentiation
  • Wave 2: Small group interventions to target key skill areas in specific year groups, particularly in years 1 and 3
  • Wave 3: Individual Learning Support lessons for study skills, most short term; some long-term

The main forms of intervention are:

  • Reasonable adjustments and/or additional intervention by the teacher within the context of day-to-day classroom teaching.
  • Small group interventions for pupils identified as needing support from screening tests, including small group support for literacy and study skills; and revision ‘clinics’ offered by subject teachers.
  • Withdrawal work in a 1:1 situation for assessment and learning support, provided at no extra charge for up to six lessons.
  • Withdrawal work in a 1:1 situation to implement the recommendations of an EP report, provided at no extra charge for up to six lessons.
  • Up to six lessons of study skills on the recommendation of the Deputy Head Academic, as a result of underperformance in end of year exams.
  • Exam reviews for pupils having access arrangements in exams.
  • Longer term 1:1 support is available if needed, following the initial six lessons. Usually this requires a reduction in the boy's curriculum, as outlined below.
  • The majority of pupils follow the full curriculum and Learning Support lessons are arranged on a ‘rotational’ basis or off timetable, to minimize disruption to lessons.
  • In exceptional circumstances, a boy may be permitted a slight adjustment to or a reduction of his curriculum, based on the specific recommendations made in an Educational Psychologist’s Report or medical report. This will only be put in place following close consultation with the pupil, with parents, with tutor and housemaster, and with the Head of Section and the Deputy Head Academic.

Parents have the overall responsibility for taking decisions about the management of their children’s Learning Support. Parents who do not wish their son to have Learning Support in school and prefer instead to arrange tuition outside school should feel free to make their own arrangements. However, they should endeavour to ensure that the School is given copies of all reports received. Parents will need to ensure that such tuition does not conflict with the curriculum, including the ‘Other Half’ program of extra curricular and sporting activities.

Individual Learning Support lessons are tailored to the boy's needs so that very few boys will need weekly tuition for sustained periods of time. Lessons take place during normal school hours and timetabling is arranged to minimise disruption to normal teaching. Boys are therefore taken out of lessons on a ‘rotational’ basis to ensure they do not miss the same subject more than once. Priority for tuition off-timetable is given to boys in 5th and 6th form.

It sometimes becomes apparent that a boy would benefit from an assessment by an educational psychologist so that his learning profile can be fully understood. An EP report will be needed if any access arrangements – such as extra time - are needed for examinations. As per the School’s Access Arrangements Policy, these are ultimately subject to the examination boards' agreement. As per our Admissions Policy, the School permits access arrangements for entrance tests, provided there is valid and up to date evidence in the form of a formal report recommending access arrangements written by an educational psychologist, a medical practitioner or a qualified professional holding a practicing certificate.

Mrs Celia Collins, Head of Learning Support, celia.collins@abingdon.org.uk