The Curriculum Support department works extremely hard to meet the needs of learners who experience difficulties in basic literacy and numeracy. We currently have three specialist teachers (Mrs Fulbrook, Mrs Rees and Mrs Bale) and four experienced HLTAs (Mrs Griffiths, Mrs Thomas, Mrs Whitcombe and Mrs Kestell) who deliver interventions provided within the department. All TAs are paired reading partners.
We receive information on students with SEND from our feeder primary schools. This enables us to identify students who may meet the criteria for one of the six places currently offered in our Learning Centre. This year, these students follow intensive personalised literacy support programmes, emotional literacy and social skills, art therapy, forest school, practical science and a reduced English and humanities curriculum. They receive 24 lessons per fortnight within the Learning Centre which is nearly half of their timetable. The remaining half sees these students integrate with mainstream lessons in PE, art, drama, maths, music, design and RS. Some of these students may also receive intervention in maths.
At the beginning of Year 7, all students are screened for reading and spelling skills. From this data, we identify further students who are withdrawn from learning French to follow a Basic Literacy Intervention programme across the academic year for five lessons a fortnight. These lessons involve personalised interventions to target the specific needs of the individual. All students who access Basic Literacy intervention are monitored via the York Assessment for Reading Comprehension which is administered twice a year to check for progress. All work in lessons is monitored via our in-house booklets, a copy of which can be found here (PDF, 174kb).
Students are re-assessed at the end of Year 7 and some have made enough progress to return to French or German and some continue to receive Basic Literacy Support. Other students may have, in the meantime, been identified as requiring this provision and are accommodated in these intervention lessons.
Students are taught in groups of no more than six. They follow a highly individualised programme designed to improve their reading and spelling. Activities included are:
Paired reading is a key tutor time intervention targeted at students who are below their chronological age in reading, but who do not fit the criteria for Basic Literacy intervention. Individuals read with an adult or older student and record their reading in a monitoring book. Paired readers are encouraged to read at home as well. These students are also monitored using the York Assessment for Reading Comprehension.
Parents and carers can read as often as possible with their son or daughter at home. Ideally, this should be at least three times a week. Sharing age-appropriate books with your child will maintain their interest in books and reading. In our experience, children never tire of being read to. Alternatively, purchasing some audio books to listen to in the car or in bedrooms can be highly beneficial.
Also, students should practice their individual spellings on their SaCaWaC sheets at home on a regular basis and their minute read sheets. They can also access their Rapid Plus reading at home via the internet.
Simple, every day activities like reading sign posts and information posters will help children’s progress in reading and spelling. Giving children opportunities to write things like shopping lists and thank you letters will also be beneficial. Parents and carers should remember to praise their child for effort, not only getting things right.
Students identified as experiencing considerable difficulties with basic numeracy will be placed in a small group mainly taught by our specialist numeracy teacher. We also have a maths intervention teacher working with groups. Here, work will be pitched at the correct level with the aim of maximising student progress and enabling those students to access mainstream Maths in the future. The focus is almost exclusively on basic numeracy skills. There is a numeracy intervention group for each cohort in Key Stage 3.
Students are screened in maths using the Basic Number Screening Test to identify individuals struggling to grasp key number concepts. Some students receive 1:1 intervention and others access small group work. Furthermore, tutor time numeracy interventions are run by TAs in the maths department. All maths interventions are time limited and usually last for 6-8 weeks before students are re-assessed and the plan for their learning is adapted accordingly.
There is more information on other provisions for students with SEND on the main SEND page (internal link).