As one in five students are likely to have some form of learning need during their school life they may not be able to profit sufficiently from school experiences, so additional input maybe needed. (SEN Green Paper, 2011) The needs of most of these students will be met by differentiation of teaching within the classroom, but some students may be identified as requiring specific help. This could be in the form of support within the classroom, withdrawal for extra help, or referral to outside agencies. It should be recognized, that at CIS, we believe that students with learning needs may be identified at either end of the spectrum i.e. less able or exceeding expectations. At CIS, students exceeding expectation is synonymous with gifted and talented students.
The key test of the need for action is evidence that current rates of progress are inadequate. There should not be an assumption that all students will progress at the same rate. A judgment has to be made in each case as to what it is reasonable to expect a particular student to achieve. Where progress is not adequate, it will be necessary to take some additional or different action to enable the student to learn more effectively. Whatever the level of students’ difficulties, the key test of how far their learning needs are being met they are making adequate progress. This is equally vital when decision for supporting a student at either ends of the learning needs spectrum.
If a teacher has concerns about the academic progress of a student, they are required to complete the student referral form. This is then discussed with the Learning Needs Coordinator. Classroom observations and comments from all appropriate teachers are then gathered along with supporting evidence for a student to be flagged or placed on tier 1 support.
Students are also flagged after the analysis of the MAP assessments has taken place. The Learning Needs Coordinator initiates discussion with the class teachers on students who are in the bottom 20th percentile or identified as 1 year behind their age group and those in the top 5th percentile or 2 years above their age group. If the teachers agree that the MAP assessment data is a true reflection of what is seen in the classroom, the student is considered to be ‘flagged under consideration’. The teachers then gather more evidence of learning and try strategies of support to provide further support insight into a possible learning gap rather than a specific learning need. If the MAP result is not considered a true reflection of the student’s level, then the child is not considered flagged under consideration.
Once a student is identified as needing additional learning support, he or she will then be classified according to the level of help. At CIS, tiers are used to classify students.
Tier 1-The student typically works in the regular classroom with their peers but may require some modification to the content of the curriculum and/or instructional practices under the direction of a Learning Needs teacher. In the Elementary school, the students should receive support for 2 sessions in the 4 day timetable. In the Middl /High School, the students should receive support for 1 subject once every four days.
Tier 2 – The student may require explicit instruction in the development of social skills and/or require significant modifications to the content of the curriculum and instructional practices. This is done under the direction of a Learning Support teacher. This support could be working on specific requirements of an external assessment (ie developing auditory memory skills) or a direct skills session (ie dyslexia support group). In the elementary school the students should receive support for 4 sessions each day of the 4 day cycle. In the Middle High School the students should receive support for 2 subjects or 2 sessions per day.
Tier 3- The student requires 1-1 direct support from a Learning Needs Assistant. The Learning Needs Assistant will be hired through the CIS recruitment process by the Learning Needs Coordinator. The cost of the Learning Needs Assistant salary is paid by the parent.
Learning Needs Support Team
The following teachers work together to provide the services and additional support that the students need.