The Learning Development Department at St John’s offers a range of facilities and is open to all pupils in the School.

Parents are encouraged to share any information about their child’s learning needs during the admissions process and all pupils are screened on entry. Further individual assessment of a pupil with a suspected learning difficulty or who is not making expected progress is carried out internally. Parents are contacted whenever further action is required, but otherwise this process is seen as very much a matter of school routine.

A range of support is available on an individual or small-group basis and will usually take the form of sessions targeting amongst other needs: subjects/topics covered by the curriculum; study skills – including preparation for examinations and assessments; literacy support – including clerical skills and effective reading strategies, and support to improve organisation.

The Learning Development team comprises four very well qualified specialist teachers who offer individual, personalised support to pupils with a wide range of Specific Learning Differences (SpLD), including dyslexia, dyspraxia, ASD, ADHD etc. The team are also experienced classroom and subject-specialist teachers who can offer a wide variety of subjects ensuring that all areas of the curriculum to A level can be covered. The team are keenly aware that there is also a strong element of pastoral support involved in their role.

The Learning Development team carry out assessments for Access Arrangements for public examinations, following a referral by a pupil’s subject teacher as necessary. The JCQ require significant evidence to support such applications and therefore the norm is that these assessments are completed internally at St John’s. Where parents are considering commissioning a private report, this can only be used by the School where the SENCO has been advised in advance in order for the School to contribute to the process. In some cases parents may be approached by the SENCO to commission an external report where this is felt to be of benefit to a pupil.

The Learning Development Department comprises a suite of rooms within the Hamilton Building. Weekly sessions normally take place outside lesson times, although Lower School and Fourth Form pupils are seen in lesson times, on a rotational basis. Sessions for GCSE students take place first thing in the morning, after lunch, or in activity times; pupils are not withdrawn from their academic studies. All Sixth Form sessions take place in the pupils’ private study periods or by special arrangement.

One-to-one and group lessons usually consist of 40-minute weekly sessions and initially are run as a short programme, although this will vary according to individual needs and curriculum requirements. Occasional lessons can also be arranged on a ‘drop-in’ basis as we believe learning development provision should always be flexible. Where pupils attend ongoing one-to-one weekly lessons, a charge on a pro-rota basis is made.

The Learning Development Department is well integrated into the life of the School as part of our holistic approach to our pupils’ learning and development. The department is fully utilised as a resource by many pupils, whether they have a SpLD or not and by all staff.

Further details are available from Emily McGhee (Head of Learning Development and SENDCo):