The School and the Individual Needs Department aims to provide all students with equal access to the curriculum and every aspect of school life, to support them so that they can achieve their full potential academically. The main focus of the department’s work is to ensure that students become as independent as possible in their learning, and less reliant on the intervention of other adults. A second major theme of the department’s work is to raise literacy standards, in particular those in writing and reading comprehension, which are crucial to long-term success.
Island School accepts students with a wide range of ability, some of whom have Special Educational Needs. The Individual Needs Department is responsible for identifying these students, and supporting them both directly and through collaborative work with mainstream teachers. Our approach to meeting the Special Educational Needs of our students is loosely based on the ESF wave model. Students’ Special Educational Needs are identified using information passed on from Primary schools, from school-based assessments and from concerns raised by parents, students, staff or other relevant bodies.
A range of strategies are employed, to ensure that the school meets the needs of these students. These include:
- Withdrawal groups for students in Years 8 and 9 for students with literacy development needs. They are taught in place of a modern foreign language.
- A Learning Support option class in Years 10-11 for students who need a slightly reduced curriculum and support for literacy and/or numeracy.
- Every form in Years 7-8 has a fortnightly English Library lesson which is also supported by an SEN teacher.
- In-class support from specialist educational assistants in Maths, Science and the Humanities.
- Liaison between Individual Needs Support staff and mainstream staff (on academic and pastoral issues).
- Special examination arrangements for some students.
- The dissemination of relevant information to staff through regular updates to the Individual Needs Register.
- The provision of advice and training to staff on a variety of learning needs/strategies.
- Meetings with parents to discuss intervention strategies and Student Support Plans (SSPs).
- When necessary, referrals can be made to the Educational Psychologist.
When a student is identified as having Special Educational Needs his or her name is placed on the school's Individual Needs Register in one of the following categories:
- Level of Adjustment 1: subject teacher is responsible for ensuring student progress through differentiation of materials and assessments.
- Level of Adjustment 2: subject teachers and Individual Needs teachers liaise to establish appropriate programs of intervention.
It is important to note that the school does not have a specialist Learning Support Class for students at Levels of Adjustment 3-4.
The school's Individual Needs Register is not a fixed entity - students may enter, leave or move between stages according to their particular circumstances.
The school’s Special Educational Needs policy is available here, and is based on the ESF’s template.
INDIVIDUAL NEEDS STAFF
Learning Support Staff
- Mark Rutter (Head of Department and Science teacher.)
- Sheila Dewick (Senior Head of Einstein House)
- Susan Shaw (English and SEN)
The work of the department is supported by a team of Educational Assistants. The Educational Assistants support the mainstream classes and generally work within particular subject areas to increase their expertise.
- Amanda Burton – Humanities and Science
- Susan Metzger – Science
- Tracy Scott – Humanities
- Stephanie Weathington - Mathematics
GIFTED AND TALENTED POLICY - RATIONALE AND DEFINITION.
The context for the school to develop a policy on making provision for gifted and talented students was the 2002 OFSTED inspection that highlighted a need to ‘challenge’ the more able in KS3. At the same time the ESF placed it on their Development Plan. The subsequent ESF Gifted and Talented Curriculum group has stated that
“All students have the right to access a comprehensive curriculum that provides relevant and worthwhile educational programmes, that acknowledges differences in pace and learning styles and that enables them to participate, learn and experience success. The ESF recognises the need to offer and deliver a differentiated curriculum that enables gifted students to achieve their full potential and, at the same time, provide for their social and emotional needs”.
It went on to define gifted and talented students.
“Gifted and talented students are those who have the potential to excel (gift) or who demonstrate outstanding ability (talent) in one or more domain. These domains may include
These students require differentiated curriculum, interventions and/or services beyond those normally provided by the regular school programme”.
Island School policy is to use this rationale and definition to identify and challenge gifted and talented students in a way that can also increase opportunities for all students. The Vice Principal (Curriculum) and the Head of Individual Needs are responsible for its implementation and evaluation.