The Learning Support Department here at Lady Margaret School is designed to support students with a range of learning and behavioural difficulties. These range from specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia, to supporting pupils on the autistic spectrum, those who are hearing impaired and those diagnosed with global learning difficulties. We currently have 10 pupils who hold statements of Special Educational Needs / EHCPs and 69 pupils on SEN support.
Changes implemented in September 2014 as a result of the Children and Families Act means that SEN services are now offered as part of a joined-up service which brings together education, health and social care services to ensure that the support your child receives in joined up and that the outcomes that you and your child want to achieve are at the centre of that help and support. This is known nationally as the ‘local offer’.
Available to the girls
The Learning Support Department, in accordance with the size of the school, is rather small. We have limited space and resources in comparison to some other comprehensive schools, however the standard of our assistance is no less remarkable. We have a small but friendly and accessible room where students can come to chat, have one-to-one academic support sessions and gather resources for classwork or homework. We have a small supply of AlphaSmarts and laptops, and where it is thought a student may benefit from using one of these resources we will contact parents and recommend usage.
These resources are particularly useful for girls with dyspraxia or dyslexia, or those with a physical disability. Unfortunately, because of the large number of staircases in the buildings and the narrow corridors, we are unable to accommodate wheelchairs. We do not have a full time dedicated first aider or nurse, and so are also unable to accommodate pupils with complex medical conditions.
Our Careers Advisor attends all annual reviews for girls with statements in Years 9 and above. He assists and advises both girls and parents with decision making during crucial transitional stages in education.
Our qualified counsellor is available once a week for a 50-minute session. Girls can be referred to him for an initial six sessions should they or their parents feel that they may benefit from talking in confidence to someone independent from school and home.
Clubs for girls with learning and behavioural difficulties
The Learning Support Assistants run a range of clubs throughout the school week, these take place during lunch times and after school. These are important for those students who find designated social times, such as break and lunch daunting. Rather than leave these students struggle with any fears and insecurities they may have, we create a space for them where they can develop in confidence and in time become equipped to handle themselves in social situations. Homework Club runs each afternoon except Fridays from 3.30 to 4.30 pm. Students have the opportunity to receive support from both LSAs and sixth formers who assist at the club on a voluntary basis.