Learning Support

Helping our students to achieve their potential is at the heart of our work in the Learning Support department. Our interventions are designed to encourage students to explore diverse ways of thinking and working that suits their particular learning style. It is our aim to provide our students with a practical study skills toolkit and the confidence to manage and succeed in their lives at Ipswich School and beyond.

How do we support?

Around 10% of the pupils at Ipswich School have a Special Educational Need (SEN) and we are immensely proud of the work that we do in enabling them to meet their needs.

Our support includes:

  • Advice around study strategies related to specific learning difficulties
  • Specialist dyslexia intervention
  • Social and communication skills intervention
  • Study skills advice such as note taking, MindMapping and general organisation 
  • Reading comprehension skills
  • Revision skills and exam technique advice

Subject specific support is provided by academic departments. We work closely with both academic and pastoral teams to support our students.

We would advise, in the first instance, that if you have questions around the support your child may receive at Ipswich School, to email your queries to us. We welcome open conversations about our provision and, most importantly, whether we feel that we can fully support and nurture a student with a SEN throughout their journey at the school.

Will my child receive additional support?

On entry to the school we offer specific interventions on a weekly basis to those students who have been referred for continued support from their previous school. These are reviewed on a termly basis. In addition, if a subject teacher feels that the student requires support beyond that which they are able to provide, or is not performing in line with expectations, they may be referred to Learning Support. A student may need an occasional conversation, a short-term intervention or longer term support. We always respond to the individual’s needs and liaise with parents in the process. There are no charges for Learning Support services and 1:1 private tuition is not offered.

When does Learning Support take place?

In Lower School (Years 7-8) we offer weekly intervention, in a small group setting. We provide dyslexia specialist teaching, reading comprehension booster and social skills intervention. All provision offered by our department takes place at the start of the day (8.30-9am) or at lunchtimes. We offer lunchtime and early morning drop in sessions to Middle School (Years 9-11) students. We encourage our Sixth Form students to book time with us during a study period. Pupils can also drop into the department at any time for help.

Some students are offered more bespoke sessions in response to immediate or longer term needs. We work closely with academic departments to help support consolidation in learning. Occasionally, a student with an additional learning need may be on a slightly reduced timetable and can spend two/three timetabled lessons a week under the guidance of the Learning Support Department.

How will teachers be made aware of any additional learning needs?

The Learning Support Department provides a register of students with additional learning needs to teachers. They are provided with additional information and advice around any SEN, specific information from a diagnostic report if available, or generic information on a learning difficulty where any need is not formally diagnosed.

I think my child may have a learning difficulty. How do I get my child assessed?

Please speak to our department in the first instance. We can consult teachers and gather important background information that may support any decisions taken around seeking a diagnosis. We use data collected from screening on entry to the school to support any advice we may offer. We can also contribute our specialist views around learning  difficulties. Regardless of a diagnosis, if we consider that there may be an underlying difficulty present, we will guide teachers to provide differentiation in the classroom.

How can a diagnosis help my child?

A diagnosis of a SEN made by a qualified practitioner, such as a consultant paediatrician or registered psychologist, can help an individual understand and come to terms with any difficulties that they may have been experiencing due to having a learning difficulty/condition. A diagnosis provides information about strengths and weaknesses in the areas of cognitive function and emotional regulation which inform interventions to support learning styles and wellbeing. However, a diagnosis cannot be used to apply for access arrangements for public exams but could help an individual seek additional support, if required, in Higher Education and in the workplace.

What are Access Arrangements?

Access arrangements are reasonable adjustments (the provision of extra time, rest breaks, typing, for example) set out by exam boards for candidates with special educational needs, disabilities or temporary injuries in order that they can access an assessment. The range of access arrangements is wide with some needing approval from the Awarding Body (for example, extra time) and some being centre delegated (such as word processing). They are based on the candidate’s history of need and normal way of working in the centre.  When access arrangements are put in place, the demands of the assessment are not changed – the adjustment helps to reduce the effect of any disability or difficulty, which places a learner at a substantial disadvantage. Specialists (for example, a medical consultant, a psychiatrist) are responsible for providing a formal diagnosis but they are not responsible for decisions about access arrangements.

How does Learning Support support the Access Arrangement process?

Learning Support works closely with teachers to gather information based on any substantial and persistent needs a student may display. Any referral for a difficulty must originate from the class teachers and must be apparent in a student’s everyday working, not just in test situations. Students must be monitored for at least a year and observed to have continual difficulty compared to their peers before any form of assessment is considered. These processes are set out by the Joint Council for Qualifications, the JCQ.

Assessment specific to access arrangements takes place in-house, is non-chargeable and occurs between Y9-10 or in Y12 for pupils new to the school. All arrangements are formalised before Y11 and Y13 in order that they are fully established as the student’s normal way of working prior to formal examinations. In Sixth form, if difficulties are observed, a student is monitored over Y12 for evidence of need. If a student has learning difficulties, the school or college’s appointed assessor must conduct the assessment to determine the need for access arrangements such as 25% extra time.