At Saint Ronan’s we recognize the significance of any child’s specific learning difficulty and aim to identify and give support in those areas which require extra help. We believe that if a child is to achieve their full potential they need to feel confident, valued and motivated. In order to achieve this we aim to nurture the academic, social, moral, physical and emotional aspects of each child’s learning.
We have a designated SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) and she and another special needs teacher work alongside children in the Pre-Prep and Prep School during class sessions, as well as taking children out for group work to help them in areas of the academic curriculum that they are finding difficult. The SENCO organizes a team of visiting peripatetic staff who act as ‘mentors’ to the children they teach, liaising with their form/English teachers and communicating with the parents. We have three designated and well-equipped Special Needs rooms which are based in the Harris Building. All learning support lessons take place here in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.
Children can have one or two individual learning support lessons a week and we take care to match each child with the appropriate specialist for them; someone they can relate to and work with and who possesses the necessary experience and expertise for teaching the child with specific needs. Sometimes it is just a case of a new child needing a little support to gain confidence, whereas other children may need individual lessons throughout their years in the prep school.
Once a child begins to have learning support lessons, an IEP (individual education plan) is produced and made available to all staff and the child’s parents. This ensures a continuity of approach and awareness of any specific difficulty. These plans are updated regularly as the child makes progress. Special needs teachers keep in regular contact with the parents of the children they teach and we think of ourselves very much as a team all working for the best interests of the child. Parents have much to contribute in helping us to support children with special educational needs.
Within the classroom the teachers try to support children in a manner that acknowledges their entitlement to share the same learning experiences their peers enjoy, ensuring that all activities are differentiated to match the needs of all individual children. All staff are there to support the children in whatever area is appropriate, helping them to build their confidence, motivation and self esteem, thus enabling them to achieve their full potential.