Rather than teach a specific subject, the role of the Educational Support faculty is to help students, with a whole range of special needs, to be included in all aspects of college life whilst at Hemsworth Arts and Community Academy.
The faculty is staffed by two specialist teachers and eleven Educational Support Assistants (ESAs). However removing the barriers to learning that students may experience is the responsibility of all the teachers at HACA and staff are kept informed about students who have any special needs.
The work of the faculty falls into a number of different categories as listed below:
1. Identification of students with Special Educational Needs
We collect a range of information about prospective students' strengths, weaknesses and special educational needs before they even start college in September of year 7.
• Students in year 5 or 6 with statements of SEN are brought to the attention of the Educational Support Faculty. We always attend the Annual Reviews or Phase Transfer meetings at the junior schools to both gather information and to meet parents and children. We also attend Phase Transfer meetings for some students receiving SEN Support within their Primary School.
• All year 6 students come to HACA on a day during the spring term to do the Cognitive Abilities Test. This provides information about academic strengths and weaknesses.
• Year 6 teachers provide a report about each student's academic progress.
• A 'Transition Programme' can be arranged between the Junior School and the Student Liaison Officer at HACA involved with transition. This means that the prospective student can visit the academy on any number of occasions so as to allay any concerns that they might have.
During the “transition day” in July the Year 6 students meet key staff involved in their education. We also carry out a brief reading test in order to develop another layer of information to assist us in identifying students with Special Educational Needs. The SENCO will be available for further discussions around individual student’s needs during the open evening on this day.
• The parents' of children with Special Educational Needs are welcome to visit the college to discuss, with a member of the Educational Support Faculty, the type of provision that will be made.
2. Support for Students with literacy difficulties.
Students who are identified as having reading or spelling skills below a functional level are placed on a literacy intervention programme. We run a range of literacy programmes. The main ones are listed below:-
Lexia - a very sophisticated computer aided literacy programme. Each student works at his or her own pace. The programme advances as the students answer questions correctly. This programme is run by specialist teachers who monitor the progress of students during regular tutorial sessions. The programme identifies areas of literacy requiring development and these can be targeted for additional intervention. Lexia includes elements of phonics to build up the syllables within words as well as reading longer pieces up to paragraph length.
SuccessMaker Spelling – Specialist computer based spelling programme which will be used to develop spelling skills.
Rainbow Reading – a reading scheme where students complete a set of structured exercises based on the text and to accompany each book.Spelling programme - for those students who can read quite well but have a weakness with spelling.
Catch Up literacy - a very successful reading programme utilising highly trained staff members to improving reading levels.
Booster Phonics – a computer based programme where development of phonic skills is nurtured. Multi-sensory Learning programme - a very structured literacy programme which is helpful for students who have specific literacy difficulties.
Paired Reading - Students read with a Post 16 partner in a relaxed but supportive atmosphere.
Some students will be selected for withdrawal from Modern Foreign Languages, this is to enable the faculty a further 2 lessons per week in which additional support and intervention can be targeted.
You will be informed if your child is selected for any of these intervention programmes
All students on literacy programmes are tested in the Autumn and Summer terms to assess their progress. You will be informed if your child needs continued intervention at the beginning of each academic year.
3. Support for students with other special educational needs.
The faculty works very closely with our partners in outside agencies. For example a student may receive additional support from the Special Educational Needs Support Service which is a part of the Learning Support Service provided by the Educational Psychology Service.
The expert advice provided by these and other services will be used to improve HACA staff’s knowledge and expertise in how to best meet the needs of students with special educational needs. This information may be disseminated to staff through an Individual Education Plan as required.