Learning Support Class
Striving to meet diverse learning needs
As South Island School is an inclusive school, we adopt a holistic approach by:
- Encouraging students to feel respected by being valued within the community.
- Supporting students in respecting and valuing others and the environment.
- Fostering independence and responsibility for themselves and others.
- Building an inclusive, safe and stimulating environment where students feel supported in taking risks and are challenged to achieve their maximum potential.
- Being an inclusive school where students can share opportunities and experiences but also aware of and supporting how a student can become an inclusive individual in society.
The Individual Needs department is staffed by 6 specialist teachers and 16 Educational Assistants, some of whom are parent funded. These staff support both students and teachers.
South Island School has its own SEN policy which is based on the ESF SEN policy. South Island School strives to help all students realise their full potential and provides an inclusive education for students who have a wide range of abilities. The school makes every effort to ensure provision for as wide a range of special educational needs as possible. Where students require substantial support then the school aims to make it clear to prospective parents at as early a stage as possible what support it is able to provide, where it might not be able to meet some needs and where there are possibilities for needs not meet through the school support programme to be met through additional support at the expense of the parents.
South Island School accepts students with a wide range of abilities, some of whom have Special Educational Needs (SEN), and/or are Gifted & Talented (G&T). The Individual Needs Department is responsible for identifying and supporting these students.
For further information on admissions, please visit ESF admissions page for Special Educational Needs.
Provision of Learning Support for Mainstream students
For students with specific learning needs
Support is provided within the classroom setting as well as in small groups working with a specialist teacher. Difficulties in literacy and numeracy can be addressed through short or long-term intervention.
The IN Department is responsible for:
- Identification, assesment and monitoring of students with learning needs.
- Referral to Educational Psychology services and other outside agencies
- Disseminating relevant information to staff through regular briefings, iSAMS, Individual Education Plans and Student Support Plans (where appropriate).
- Providing advice and training to staff on a variety of learning needs/strategies to support mainstream staff in providing differentiated resources and support.
- Identifying and assesing students who are eligible for special examinations arrangements.
- Suggesting differentiated books/materials for subject departments.
- Liaising with mainstream teachers, form tutors and heads of house/family on academic and pastoral issues.
- Working closely with parents to support the whole student.
Mainstream students are supported in a number of different ways:
- In-class support: Students may receive support from an IN teacher or EA in some of their mainstream classes.
- Y7 Literacy, Y7 & Y8 Numeracy Booster Classes: These are short-term classes to help students fill in gaps in their prior learning in Numeracy and Literacy.
- Y7-Y9 Extra English Classes: These are withdrawal classes for students who require a greater level of support with their Literacy skills. Lessons take place instead of a foreign language.
- Y10-Y11 Study Skills: These classes take place instead of one GCSE subject and benefit students by allowing them to spend more time working on their other subjects while receiving support from a teacher. Students are also taught a range of study and revision skills as well as exam techniques.
The school provides for a diverse range of Special Educational Needs including:
- Learning difficulties
- Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Discalculia, etc.)
- Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD/ADHD)
- Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD, Asperger’s, Autism)
- Emotional and behavioural difficulties
- Medical conditions
- Physical disabilities
- Sensory impairment
- Speech and language difficulties
Admissions to South Island School
All students go through the ESF admissions procedure. On admission where a student has an identified learning need, his or her name is placed on the school’s Individual Needs register at one of four levels of adjustment:
- Level of Adjustment 1: subject teachers are 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.
- Level of Adjustment 3 & 4 (Learning Support Class): the school currently has provision for 24 students, who have a wide range of moderate/complex learning needs. These students constitute a special Learning Support Class with special funding arrangements. These students follow a highly differentiated curriculum provided by Learning Support with a guided programme of inclusion in mainstream classes where appropriate.
The register is not a fixed entity – students may be added, removed or move between levels according to their particular circumstances and the outcomes from placement reviews.
Admission and placement of students for Learning Support Class
At the time of application/transfer the school asks parents to provide as much information as possible about the learning support needs of prospective students so that the school is able to advise whether it is able to provide an education that meets the needs, what level of support my be required and where the child would be best placed. Whether this is in the LSC or mainstream. If it is decided an LSC place is required that a separate admission application is required and parents are informed that they need to get in touch with the Admissions Officer at ESF. The admission process for a Learning Support Class (LSC) place is one where the child is observed in a classroom setting by 2 members of the Admissions and Review team, (ARP) interviews with teachers, child and parents are conducted and all paperwork is placed before the ARP panel for discussion and recommendation. Once a recommendation is made parents are informed and contact with the school is established. It is important that the parents provide this information to the school so that the appropriate support can be determined.
The Process of referral
Referrals, Intervention, Monitoring
During the school year, a teacher may request an initial observation by the Learning Support teacher, prior to informing the parents.
Initial provisions/strategies can be discussed with the parents and put in place by the class teacher (e.g. observation in a classroom setting, testing). Parents can request a meeting with the Learning Support teacher to discuss the outcomes of any observations or informal school based assessments.
Different levels of support provisions are possible:
The accommodation strategies in class support (the class teacher and the LSC teacher discuss differentiation for the student to access the curriculum)
The support classes (the LS teacher withdraws the students and provides specific support in Literacy, Maths and for the development of Social and Behavioural skills)
Parents will receive for their approval an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or a Student Support Plan (SSP) describing their child’s special education support programme. The IEP/SSP takes into account the student’s strengths and needs and identifies learning expectations. A student may have several components to his/her IEPs/SSP’s according his/her needs in various areas of the curriculum or outside the curriculum (i.e.: Literacy, Maths and/or Behavioural and social skills).
The IEPs are reviewed twice per year, in December and June, they help teachers, parents and students monitor the student’s progress and provide a framework for communicating information about the student’s progress.
South Island School has a dedicated class of 24 students who have complex learning needs.The Individual Needs Department is responsible for identifying and supporting these students. We provide specialist withdrawal courses and support students and teachers across the curriculum. Our approach to meeting the Special Educational Needs of our students is based on the ESF Wave Model. Students’ learning 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 Learning Support Class students, particularly for English, Maths and other accredited courses
• In-class support
• The provision of a well-resourced Learning Centre with open access to students throughout the school day
• Liaison between Individual Needs staff and mainstream staff (on academic and pastoral issues)
• Working closely with parents to support the whole student
• Special examination arrangements for some students
• Speech and Language therapy
• The dissemination of relevant information to staff through regular briefings with Inclusion Facilitators, Inclusion department representatives, iSAMS and Individual Education Plans and Student Support Plans (where appropriate)
• The provision of advice and training to staff on a variety of learning needs/strategies
• Resourcing of differentiated books/materials for subject departments
Learning Support Curriculum
Each student has a place in the regular mainstream tutor groups but may spend significant amounts of time in the Learning Support Class being taught individually or as a member of a very small group. With a high staff student ratio, the curriculum offers an individually tailored timetable designed specifically to meet the personal learning needs of these students. Students work towards the accredited ASDAN Awards Scheme, with an emphasis on ‘life and vocational skills’, as well as where possible, enable students to access a range of Entry Level certificates.
For students with moderate to complex learning needs (LSC) students are either: supported in the mainstream classroom through in class support and a differentiated curriculum or receive a more specialized curriculum which has been personalized to suit their learning needs. This curriculum is taught by specialist SEN staff.
All subject areas incorporate cross-curricular learning where appropriate.
What are EL qualifications?
Entry level qualifications can help you build skills, increase your knowledge and boost your confidence.They are known as ‘certificates’ or ‘awards’, and are a recognised qualification in the UK and overseas.
Entry Level qualifications are made up of a number of separately assessed units so achievements are recognised as you complete each unit. Students are assessed on a combination of tests, assignments and tasks which can be written, oral or practical. There are three different entry levels (EL1-EL3), which are broadly the same as the UK National Curriculum levels 1, 2 and 3. EL3 is the highest.
Where can they lead?
You can progress from one entry level to the next. At Entry 3, the qualifications are designed to help you move on to further qualifications, such as:
- Key Skills / Skills for Life
- BTEC Introductory or Level 1 BTEC Awards, Certificates or Diplomas
They can also lead to work-based learning, like an apprenticeship, or straight to a job.
English (Years 7-13)
Students are taught to improve word recognition, reading comprehension and fluency in oral/silent reading utilising multi-sensory techniques. Students will read selected novels, plays and poems. Written book reports and oral presentations will be assigned throughout the year. It is important to help students increase their love of reading Individual teachers then work with the students to help them comprehend and understand what they have read. Students are grouped in accordance with their academic competencies. Students will follow a structured spelling and phonics program which is designed to address their needs and promote progression in learning. The emphasis is on promoting correct spelling in their written work. Grammar is taught to improve written work. Students will learn about different writing styles and writing organisation. Students will be given opportunities to choose their own reading material as well as provided with guided readers. Comprehension will be taught using a variety of methods and will include students giving both oral and written responses.
The Entry Level English curriculum includes the skills of speaking and listening, reading, and writing. Students will talk and listen in a variety of situations and for a range of purposes. They will read and respond to a wide range of literature, non-fiction and media texts. Written tasks will include writing for imaginative and transactional purposes, and for different audiences.
Maths (Years 7-13)
This course is preparing students for the accredited Edexcel Entry Level Qualifications. Students are taught to improve their knowledge of number systems and how to apply these to various areas of everyday life. In order to enable students to acquire the qualification, at a tailored level, basic calculations, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division will be emphasized throughout the year by exposing students to practical activities. Intense content based lessons will allow students to enhance their budgeting and measuring skills as well as developing their understanding of time. Utilising multi-sensory tools and real life experience this course aims to provide students with an enjoyable, functional learning experience. If appropriate, some students may work towards gaining a Foundation GCSE in Maths.
In Y7-9, the LS ICT curriculum is aimed at developing skills to support students’ learning in all subjects. Students will learn basic computer skills such as how to use a computer, organising files, using the Internet and Email. Students will also learn how to use common applications such as Word, Excel, Power Point and Comic Life.
In Y10-13, the curriculum builds on existing knowledge to equip students with skills and accreditation for life. Students work towards achieving an ICT Entry Pathways qualification. Students are exposed to various relevant tasks that require them to use different functions certain packages offer. Assessment will be carried out by individual presentations, practical work in lessons and skill based comprehensive test tasks. The course aims to help students utilizing their laptop independently at other curriculum areas hence activities will be cross-curricular in nature
Science (Years 7-13)
This course follows selected work studied in Years 7-9 mainstream science, but at a level appropriate to students in the LSC. All three Science subjects -Biology, Physics and Chemistry are studied. Topics include a review of Units 1 – 6 from Key stages 1 & 2. For some students, adapting elements of Units 7 – 9 at KS3 will also form part of their LS Science curriculum. In Term 2, an annual excursion to the Science Museum often links a cross-curricular theme with a Humanities topic when an appropriate exhibition is on show. The students’ work is supported by Storybook Science booklets (1-3).
This course also covers the three science areas, of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Topics include health and fitness, acids and alkalis, electricity. The topics build on the student’s prior knowledge. Practical experiments are carried out on a regular basis. Each topic is assessed via a short written test and an assessment. Students can achieve a level 1-3 with 3 being the highest.
We have guest speakers booked-in to give the group first-hand experiences of life in Japan and the link with LS Science class is effective when the students come to research volcanoes, earthquakes and plate tectonics. Topics that class also has scheduled include The Tudors, Mapping Skills and Ancient Rome.
Students work through the Edexcel Syllabus at Entry Level, it involves the study of three themes, Physical Environments (including Ecosystems, Earthquakes and Volcanoes), Human Environments (Study of people and where they live) and Contrasts in Economic Development (Tourism & contrasting quality of life). The units are assessed by short answer tests, teacher assessment and a piece of independent coursework. Each unit is supported with fieldwork wherever appropriate.
When the course is complete, students will be awarded a level from 1-3 with 3 being the highest.
Entry Level History encourages students to acquire knowledge and understanding of the past. Students will learn to write about historical periods with appropriate vocabulary and conventions, and learn to use historical sources. The course has included the study of key features of life, beliefs and events in relation to Plains Indians and conflict in the American West: c1860-c1895, and Life in Nazi Germany, 1933 – 1939. The concepts of causation, change, results and significance have also been explored in these historical contexts. Students will also choose an historically significant person, event or development to study in detail.
Students will be encouraged to create and respond to art with confidence and enjoyment. Students will explore a variety of media which will include paper, paste, and paint; and techniques which will include collage, printing, and painting. These will be explored, practiced and refined, until the students are confident to express their own ideas and feelings using these materials and skills.There will be a focus on the use of colour and pattern.
Occupational Education and Structured Work Placement (Years 12-13)
The Occupational skills class focuses on teaching the student basic information in the areas of job search, job application, job interview and job related behaviour. Activities such as using the help wanted ads, completing various local application forms, role playing and interviews increases the student’s knowledge of necessary job skills, appropriate job related behavior and resources available for assistance. Oral reading exercises and group discussion of current work experience, vocabulary, listening, and language skills are also included. By following the job search and job application procedure, the student increases awareness of his/her current job skills, job interests and qualifications for certain job titles. We look at empowering students to be an influence in the workplace, and to be individuals who are not averse to taking risks. Students are encouraged to learn how to learn, to think for themselves, and to view learning as a lifelong endeavour. Lessons will focus on developing creative, innovative and empathetic thinking skills in response to problems, and the utilization of information and communications technologies. They will encourage students to apply what they are learning to life and work-related situations.This subject links into the Workright program which is completed by all Year 12 and 13 students as part of their Structured Work Placement. The Structured Work Program is coordinated by Fion Ng from JCSRS. In consultation with staff, parents and students placements are discussed and established for the academic year. There are 2 placements per year, running from September to CNY and CNY to June. Students are supported by a job coach where applicable. As part of their work placement, students, parents and IN staff meet with the school’s careers counsellors to discuss post 18 pathways. For further information, please click on the links below:
Life Skills Years 10-13
Within this curriculum area we look at ASDAN, Food Technology, Design Technology, Horticulture and Relationships.
This course provides students with an established Personal Development Program (Bronze, Silver) leading to accredited qualifications that explicitly enhances skills for learning, skills for employment and skills for life. Both levels, Bronze and Silver are run in a two-year cycle expecting students to accumulate credits in order to access the next level. Students select a number of challenges from the 13 modules compiling evidence in a portfolio to show their acquired skills and achievements. Students gain 1 or 2 credits for each section completed of which six are needed to achieve Bronze, 12 credits for Silver.
Assessments will involve students planning and reviewing their work at key points, explaining how they have developed their skills in six areas: Teamwork, Learning, Coping with problems, Use of Maths, Use of English and Use of IT. All the programmes link to nationally recognised qualifications, which contribute to performance tables. This year students are focusing on Number Handling, developing awareness of the wider world and the environment.
Food Technology – Btec Jamie Oliver
This unit aims to give learners the knowledge, skills and confidence to enjoy cooking meals at home. Learners will gain understanding of how to economise when planning meals to cook at home. The unit will encourage learners to transfer skills learnt to other recipes to continue cooking for themselves and their families and to inspire others by passing on their knowledge.
The unit is based on the chef Jamie Oliver’s proposition that being able to cook is an essential life skill which empowers people to make changes that have benefits to health and wellbeing.
Students will be introduced to basic cooking skills by following recipes for simple dishes and learning how to use kitchen equipment safely. Each recipe is underpinned with knowledge about sourcing food, nutrition, hygiene and food safety where relevant. Learners will demonstrate their skills by following a recipe. Learners will consider the value of acquiring skills for cooking at home and explore ways to pass on their knowledge of cooking skills to others.
This subject aims to give students the skills and confidence to enjoy cooking at home, to continue cooking for themselves and their families and to inspire others to do so.
Btec Art and Design
This course is designed to encourage learners to develop their personal skills and attributes they need in order to develop confidence in their ability to work, learn and achieve their full potential. These skills are developed through investigation into specific projects. It aims to provide broad studies directly relevant to art, design, media and related sectors.
This course aims to grow students awareness about the importance of microgardening due to the lack of space in Hong Kong and growing own food. Activities are cross-curricular in nature as students will be expected to apply their knowledge acquired in Science, Maths, Geography and Food Technology as well as run projects with students and teachers across the whole school. Students will explore the advantages of growing their own vegetables, fruits and plants whilst being guided through the whole cycle of human consumption by outside expertise. Sessions are mainly practical enhancing team-work, fine and gross motor-skills and metacognition. Topics will cover life cycle of plants, identifying weeds, prepare soil for planting / sowing, care for a planted area (watering, weeding, harvesting), identifying seeds / vegetables and fruits, planning / studying a gardening calendar, promoting gardening, using grown food in everyday life (cooking, decoration), making links between weather conditions and produced crop, selling crops. This course is an introduction to an enquiry based project aiming to provide a base for students with becoming involved in Enterprise.
Well-being (Years 7-13)
The health education curriculum exposes students to a variety of topics, which include basic principles of human growth and development, emotional health, nutrition, environmental health, family life education, diseases and disorders, alcohol, tobacco and other drug substances, safety first aid and healthful lifestyles. These topics will be taught within a framework that will focus on skills and competencies that are necessary throughout life.
This course aims to develop students’ personal well-being by helping them embrace change, feel positive about who they are, identify and learn how to manage feelings and emotions with a wide range of people, develop empathy and social skills. Through active learning opportunities such as role play, personal experience and reflection, students are assisted with managing challenging social situations making informed choices with regards to personal relationships and accepting qualities and views of others. Students will be focusing on identifying, expressing their feelings and emotions which will equip them with assertiveness, resilience and empathy necessary to establish positive relationships. Additionally they will be able to develop understanding of the nature and importance of marriage and stable relationships to parenthood and family life through discussions about ways that relationships might change over time and demonstrate how to negotiate within relationships. Describe some of the possible effects of family and other significant events on feelings, emotions and personal wellbeing, and the impact these may have on relationships.
Throughout the school year, the Learning Support Class has a number of regular big events. LSC students take part in all whole-school events as well as various LSC events. These include:
- Oct/Nov: MaD Week
- Nov/Dec: Athletics Finals and LS Mini Olympics
- Dec: LSC Christmas Lunch
- Apr/May: LSC Camp
- Jun: Swim Gala and LS Mini Swim Gala
- Jun: Leavers Party
At various times there are also many smaller events such as subject-based trips to museums, theatre trips, charity fund-raisers and lots of other activities.