The term ‘Learning Support’ is used throughout this document. It should be noted that in the Secondary School Learning Support is referred to as Academic Coaching.
Aims of the Programme
The Learning Support programme aims to:
- enable students to become independent learners and to monitor their own progress
- develop self-esteem and positive attitudes about school and learning
- facilitate students to participate in the appropriate curriculum for their age
- help students to understand their own strengths and to use them to overcome their areas in need of improvement
- provide supplementary teaching and support
- involve parents in supporting their children through effective communication
- promote collaboration amongst teachers in the implementation of whole-school policies on learning support for students
- intervene in a timely way in order to enhance learning and reduce difficulties in learning
- enhance the self-esteem and the self-image of the learner
Learning Support Committee
The relevant section principals and Learning Support teachers will form the Learning Support Committee. The committee will discuss all students referred to them and decide upon admission into the programme.
Students new to ISL may be referred to the Learning Support Committee and admitted into the Learning Support programme based upon previous school records and specialist reports that have identified specific learning difficulties. Additional assessments take place if existing records and reports are insufficiently detailed.
Flagging of Students
Teachers may refer students to the Learning Support Committee. Based upon classroom observation, teachers will provide anecdotal evidence. Parents will be contacted at this stage. Students with some lower level needs are placed on a monitoring list for discussion at these meetings.
Initial Formal Screening
The Learning Support teachers will carry out further testing and may also observe the ‘flagged’ student in the classroom.
Individual Educational Plans - IEP
Individual Educational Plans (IEP) will be created for students receiving ‘pull-out’ support by the Learning Support teacher. Parents will be informed of these plans and permission to begin learning support will be sought.
This plan may include:
- accommodations in class and/or private in-class support
- lessons with the learning support teacher
- lessons with the Learning Support teacher
- referral to external support and assessment
- assessment results
- diagnosis (if one has been made)
- relevant educational, developmental and/or medical history
- strengths/weaknesses (primary school), functional limitations (Secondary School)
Student progress will be reported to and monitored by the committee. The IEPs of students who are currently receiving educational support will be regularly evaluated and updated accordingly.
Referral to a Specialist
The Learning Support Committee may feel it is in the student’s best interest to be referred to a specialist (educational psychologist, speech therapist, occupational therapist) for more detailed testing. The cost of specialist testing by outside agencies is the responsibility of the parents. Although the results of specialist testing are the property of the parents, it is in the best interest of the student that all information from outside agencies is shared with the Learning Support Committee.
The Learning Support teacher and the specialists will give advice and support to the class teacher. On occasion additional support may be required. Additional support, in this context refers to help given to students who require supplementary services i.e. compensating software or individual in-class support. Any costs relating to these services will be the responsibility of the parents or guardians of the student.
Exit from the Learning Support programme
The Learning Support Committee will decide when a student is ready to exit the Learning Support programme. Parents will be notified when a student has achieved the appropriate level in the areas of difficulty. Students who exit the programme will continue to be monitored by the Learning Support Committee and classroom teachers. Students are removed from the monitoring list in the Secondary School upon agreement with the Learning Support teacher and the principal.