Learning Support Department staff work together with other school staff, parents/caregivers and people from outside of school to best cater for students’ learning needs.
Students monitored by the Department include those whose learning needs arise as a result of spectrum disorders, specific learning disabilities, physical disabilities, sensory impairment, intellectual impairment, medical conditions, altered personal circumstances, low levels of literacy and numeracy development.
Literary and Numeracy Assessment
We assess individual students who show delays in their learning. Literacy and numeracy assessment results are explained to students and their teachers, and provide the evidence needed for staff to adapt lesson material to best suit individual needs.
Literacy assessment pinpoints students’ reading accuracy and comprehension levels, spelling ages, and the curriculum level for written language. It may also indicate learning needs in other areas, such as those linked with learning a second language.
Individual Education Plans
IEP meetings are arranged with parents/caregivers, staff and other professionals to plan programmes in response to learning needs. Students are usually invited to attend the meetings to become involved in setting their learning goals.
Learning problems are often linked with behaviour problems. While Learning Support staff focus primarily on assisting with learning needs, changes to more positive behaviour patterns frequently emerge as successful learning skills and strategies are developed
Reader-Writer/Special Examination Assistance
Students faced with long term or new conditions that affect their ability to read or write may be eligible for special assistance for assessments and examinations.
Application for special assistance must be made by parents to the school, and specific criteria satisfied before approval is granted.
The Correspondence School
Students may be enrolled for lessons with The Correspondence School when they are working at a level well below that of their peers, or where a student on transfer from another school needs to continue a particular subject. Students taking courses with The Correspondence School are supervised by Learning Support Department staff.
Resource Teacher, Learning and Behaviour
Our RTLB helps plan both learning and behaviour management programmes for Year 9 and 10 students who have severe learning or behaviour problems. Students are referred to the RTLB by the Learning Support Department. The RTLB works with students, families, teachers and other key adults.
This covers a range of conditions that vary in severity and are termed ‘spectrum’ because each person presents differently. Spectrum Disorders include Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and a range of related disabilities, all of which affect everyday social and communication skills. Those with Spectrum Disorders generally find difficulty in making sense of the world in the way others are able to. Perceptual learning disabilities, while different in nature, may also be experienced by people with Spectrum Disorders. Information on Spectrum Disorders may be found at: http://www.autismnz.org.nz
Specific Learning Disabilities
Dyslexia is perhaps the most widely recognised of the conditions termed Specific Learning Disabilities. Other conditions named as SLDs include dyscalculia, dyspraxia and aphasia. The attention deficit disorders, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), are also represented. For information on dyslexia visit: www.dyslexiafoundation.org.nz
The Learning Support Department monitors students who have visual and hearing disabilities. We work with school staff, families and outside agencies to ensure that students can access assistive equipment. Practical support is offered in day-to-day situations.
Students with both short-term and chronic medical conditions that cause significant interruption to their education are offered learning support. Where MidCentral Health is involved, the student may be enrolled with the Hospital School and Learning Support staff will liaise with teachers there. In other instances, Learning Support staff will liaise with medical professionals.
The level of assistance given to students with physical disabilities relates to individual needs. Students are offered support to allow them to participate as fully as is possible in all aspects of school life. Meetings with families and health professionals ensure that learning and pastoral care needs may be addressed.
Learning Support staff work closely with intellectually impaired students, with individual education programmes in place throughout the secondary years. Senior students may achieve credits through completing Supported Learning Unit Standards, where focus is placed on developing the skills essential to living in a community.
Altered Personal Circumstances
From time-to-time students are affected by unexpected events that can cause interruption to their schooling. In situations involving accident, bereavement, or health issues, for example, students might need specific learning assistance and a quiet place in which to work. The Learning Support Department monitors such students and helps arrange for their needs to be met.