Learning Support at Northfields

At Northfields we recognise that all children have a right to a broad, balanced, relevant and differentiated curriculum. Each student is unique with individual needs and with this in mind, we aim to create a happy, educationally exciting and positive environment in which all students can develop to their full potential.

In order to meet our aims, Northfields strives to provide support students with specific learning difficulties or learning differences to help them succeed in Northfields’ challenging learning programmes. We undertake a rigorous system of monitoring children’s progress, supporting academic achievement and personal achievement by removing barriers to learning.

To help further with this process, we have introduced two new centres within our Teaching and Learning Department, namely our SEN (Special Educational Needs) and EAL (English as an Additional Language) Departments, run by two skilled coordinators.

Both departments aim to:

  • Ensure that our curriculum is responsive to all children whatever their individual need
  • Promote positive attitudes and individual confidence
  • Ensure all children experience success
  • Identify, assess, record and regularly review pupils' special educational needs
  • Encourage parents/guardians to be involved in planning and supporting at all stages of their child's development

English as an Additional Language Support (EAL)

While respect for cultural diversity lies at the very heart of the mission of Northfields, our main working language is English, and each student needs to become a proficient user of English in order to access much of the curriculum.

Teachers across the curriculum work to support acquisition of English, as the language of instruction. Class teachers differentiate teaching and learning accordingly to enable EAL children to make best progress. To facilitate this process further, we develop a individual, comprehensive EAL programme to support learners who have had less exposure to English, or who speak English as a second, third or even fourth language. Our dedicated EAL coordinator provides additional support for children who do not have English as their first language.

EAL learners are accommodated in a variety of ways:

  • specialist support within their normal classes
  • extra help on an individual needs basis
  • small group intervention sessions
  • temporary withdrawal from some English lessons to build up students’ confidence and skill in the language

Special Educational Needs Support (SEN)

In additional to students who experience language barriers, we have students who require other forms of support to aid with a variety of other difficulties. Students may need support if they have:

  • A cognitive disadvantage which affects their ability to learn at the same rate as the majority of their peers;
  • A specific learning barrier, such as dyslexia or dyspraxia
  • A speech and language impairment affecting expressive and/or receptive communication;
  • A behavioural impairment affecting their ability to learn effectively;
  • A sensory impairment;
  • A physical disability;
  • A combination of any of the needs listed above.

As far as possible, we do our best to support students with these specific needs. All SEN and EAL students will have a special educational plan (IEP) developed by the SEN and EAL coordinators, with recommended accommodations and modifications as detailed in diagnostic reports from qualified specialists such as paediatricians, educational psychologists and diagnostic centres.

There may be students who do not have a diagnostic report from a specialist, but who have been identified and referred to the Learning Support department by their teachers. These students might not have made progress in spite of in class interventions and differentiated teaching. These students will be screened by the SENCO and either supported with push-in/pull-out lessons or strategies and resources will be given to teachers to help support this student in class. Further recommendations for specialist screening and assessment may be suggested to parents.