The guiding principle of Packwood’s Learning support department is to help every child achieve their full potential. The department is made up of seven teachers who all hold qualifications to teach children with learning difficulties and is located in its own block with a dedicated suite of rooms that provide a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. We consider it very important that the children feel comfortable and at ease, as it is only then that they will be able to benefit from the specialist teaching. Equally, it is important that parents are fully involved and we are always happy to welcome them to the department and to meet for a chat.
Susan Rigby BA (Hons), PGCE, Dip SpLD – Head of Learning support
Jane Cooke BA, RSA Cert SpLD
Jean Herzog BA (Hons), PGCE, Dip SpLD
Jo Kapella BSc (Hons), PGCE, Dip SpLD – Assistant to Head of Learning support
Etsuko Koshika BA (Hons), JFL – English as an Additional Language
Dianne Tyler BEd, Dip SpLD
Sue Gowers BSc (Hons), SPLT, MRCSLT, HCPC, MASLTIP
Referrals and Assessment
Teachers, form tutors or parents who have concerns about a child’s progress with their learning can contact the department at any time. Typically, concerns may arise in relation to difficulties with reading, spelling, numeracy, organisation, presentation of work, or motor skills.
Children for whom English is an additional language may also be referred for support.
If it is felt, after discussion with the parents, that a child may benefit from receiving an assessment from an Educational Psychologist, this can be organised in-house and children formally assessed by Mrs Kapella. Alternatively the school can arrange for children to be seen at the Dyslexia Unit at Bangor University or at one of the Dyslexia Action centres.
Generally each pupil is taught one-to-one but there are occasions when it is appropriate to teach a small group of children. The number of Learning support lessons that a pupil receives (usually two but up to a maximum of four per week) is discussed with parents and then reviewed on a regular basis according to the progress that he/she is making.
Generally a pupil remains with the same teacher year-on-year but situations can occasionally arise where a change in teacher may be necessary.
Speech and language therapy sessions are usually one hour per week but can be 35 minutes per week or two hours per week, depending on the needs of the child.
In addition to termly written reports, Learning support teachers attend parents’ meetings and are always happy to contact parents if they wish to discuss their child’s progress. Indeed many parents visit the department on a regular basis to discuss their child’s progress and maintain email contact with the teachers.
The children are withdrawn from various lessons and activities throughout the school day in order to attend their Learning support lessons. Every effort is made to ensure that the senior children do not miss academic lessons and all other lessons are timetabled on a rota.
Lessons are designed to specifically address each child’s individual problems. In addition we endeavour to support the children with general areas of weakness. Prior to exams we encourage pupils to produce revision timetables and study skills are considered to be a vital part of each child’s programme. Improvement is gradual and is first seen in the one-to-one lessons before it is transferred to the children’s work in the classrooms.
After discussion with their parents some day children will be encouraged to take home reading books, spellings etc. We are happy to provide holiday work to help prevent a pupil from ‘slipping back’ during the holidays and to offer advice with regards to reading material and strategies to encourage reading.
Packwood has a number of qualified teaching assistants who work in the classrooms alongside pupils.