At Abbeyfield, we believe all students should be helped to achieve their very best, whatever their additional needs. We have a dedicated team of two higher level teaching assistants and seven qualified and experienced teaching assistants. As one of the smaller secondary schools in the area, based in one building, our students say they find it easy to find their way around and we are lucky enough to be able to get to know individuals better. Our suite of Learning Support rooms is based centrally, making us easily accessible.
Learning Support is a caring, friendly and experienced department, which works across all subject areas offering assistance in class, working in small groups or with individual pupils where needed.
A child is considered to have a Special Educational Need (SEN) if they require assistance that is different from or in addition to those of most other pupils in their class. We use a range of resources to meet additional needs that come under the main four categories of need:
- Cognition and Learning (includes Specific Learning Difficulties, such as dyslexia)
- Communication and Interaction (includes autism spectrum disorder)
- Social, emotional and mental health
- Physical and sensory
All teaching staff at Abbeyfield are trained regularly to remind them how to assist students with SEN and are often able to meet their needs through differentiation. Small group work is arranged, led by teachers and teaching assistants, where needs are identified for both academic and social reasons. For full details of what we offer, see the SEN information report below.
In 2014, we started a group called Building English and Maths Skills, targeted at those who come from primary school below Level 4 in English and Maths. Pupils are taught in small groups to boost their literacy skills and are removed from mainstream English, Maths, Modern Foreign Languages and Humanities lessons. They join mainstream classes for Science, creative subjects, Design and Technology and PE.
All students with Special Educational Needs are able to access a twice-weekly after-school homework club as well as a lunch and break club, offering a haven from the hurly burly of the main school.
Students who receive additional help from Learning Support are also allocated a key worker teaching assistant, who will meet the pupil, gain an insight into their needs and act as a point of contact for them.
We work closely with teachers, parents and outside agencies to ensure we are doing our best for every pupil in the school, helping them to achieve across the curriculum and helping them to feel safe and happy in school.
SENCo runs surgeries on a termly basis and is available at parents’ evenings to discuss provision for students but is also always willing to meet parents to discuss students’ needs outside of these times. Appointments can also be made via the SEN administrative assistant.
We work closely with primary schools in Chippenham, Calne and surrounding villages to make sure we are aware of potential students’ needs and to make sure provision is in place for them when they arrive. If required, additional visits can be arranged to ease the transition from primary to secondary school. Contact us if you wish to organise extra visits.