How your child with general learning difficulties is supported in school
There are different types and degrees of learning difficulty that require different levels of support. If your child has learning difficulties, they may have problems with some or all of the following:
- Learning how to speak
- Understanding others
- Reading and writing
- Maths skills
- Putting into practice what they have learned
- Problems paying attention
- Trouble following directions
- Poor coordination
- Difficulty with concepts related to time
- Problems staying organised
- A broad range of other difficulties, for example social and emotional development.
Schools will use a graduated approach - a system to identify and meet the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND).
Quality First Teaching
Quality First Teaching is high quality teaching which provides appropriate learning opportunities to all pupils, whatever their individual needs. It is the first step of a graduated (or stepped) approach in responding to pupils who have, or may have, SEND. Staff knowledge and understanding of SEND is a key factor to good Quality First Teaching outcomes.
All staff must have knowledge and understanding of the SEND Code of Practice 2014 and the The Equalities Act 2010.
Examples of what might be expected at this level of support:
- Systems for setting targets and tracking your child’s progress
- Giving extra time where needed for classwork and homework
- Praising your child’s achievements and developing their self-esteem
- Providing opportunities for small group work based on your child’s needs
- Provide your child with opportunities to learn from pictures
- Using practical equipment, moving and doing, rather than sitting
- Using a range of resources with your child to support their learning and independence e.g. visual timetable
- Keep tasks short, clearly explained and supported with visual Strategies to help any memory difficulties e.g use of structured games
- Provide a home-school diary to assist in effective communication.
- Break new learning into small steps
- Provide examples and prompt sheets
- A curriculum which promotes positive examples of diversity
SEND Support Plans
Some children will need support that is ‘additional to’ or ‘different from’ what schools provide for all pupils. This is called SEND Support.
The special educational needs coordinator (SENCo) and the teacher will work with you and your child to create a SEND Support Plan which should be reviewed three times a year. This will be based around your child’s strengths and needs and will identify outcomes for your child that will be agreed with you.
It will be important to identify the main characteristic of your child’s main area of need. However, support plans will identify all the needs of your child within the following four broad areas:
- Cognition and learning
- Social, emotional and mental health
- Communication and interaction
- Sensory and physical
Targeted SEND support might include:
- Providing your child with a structured individualised learning programme, using multisensory approaches (i.e. not just looking and listening, but using other senses. (taste, smell, touch) to learn.
- Providing your child with access to small group support, which may include help to develop your child’s social skills.
- Providing your child with opportunities to repeat tasks to help reinforce learning.
Making arrangements, if appropriate, for supervision during out- of-class time if your child requires extra support.
- Providing supported career programmes for your child in secondary school.
- Seeking additional advice about how to support your child from outside specialists e.g. therapists, specialist teachers or educational psychologists.
- Providing your child with individual tailored support to help them to achieve the outcomes agreed with you.
- Ensuring staff understand that your child will have good and bad learning days and may require lots of repetition.
- Use of visual reminders, resources and rewards to help your child develop independent learning and life skills.