Learner Support

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

The special education needs department (SEN) at Northfields caters for the need of students who experience academic difficulties. To qualify for the services provided by the department, concerned students will required a diagnostic report from a health professional to provide details about their difficulties, the implication on their learning and most importantly, recommendations to implement at school. Once the report is obtained, the student is added to the SEN register and supported and monitored over the course of their time at the school.

The department provides the following services:

In class support

One learning support assistant (LSA) provides support to the student in a class setting and intervenes whenever they are struggling to complete a classwork, understand instructions and support with organisational skills. This support is not provided on a one-to-one basis, but may be as part of a group.

Pull out support

This is mainly done in small groups within SEN department to address specific learning needs of the student. These sessions maybe be time limited and as and when required.

Training to use exam access/ learning devices.

Many students on the SEN register are also eligible for exam access such as extra time, use of reading pens and word processors for those with handwriting difficulties, among others. In the SEN department, they are trained to use the exam access so that it is in the normal way of learning at school and also during their exams.

Tailor made training for exams preparation.

Some students also struggle to prepare their notes for revision, especially those who have difficulties with planning and organisation. The SEN department helps students with study skills to prepare revision notes and provide tips for the exams.

Training of teachers – Give recommendations/ Follow up on students’ progress

The SEN department also follows up with the teachers of students who are on the register to help them implement the recommendations provided by the health professionals. The department also monitors the progress of the students and provide learning techniques to the students accordingly.

Homework club

The SEN department also hosts sessions every Tuesday after school, from 3.00 PM to 4.00 PM to help students with their homework, revision or any other academic tasks they may be struggling with.


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.

Our main aims for EAL students are to:

  • Support students in the development of their proficiency in English, to enable them to effectively participate in mainstream academic activities.
  • Enable students to develop the confidence and skills necessary to become fully integrated in the social life of the school.
  • Provide support for the social and emotional needs of EAL learners
  • Offer support and training to teachers in differentiation for EAL learners, to ensure that lesson learning targets are made achievable by all learners
  • Gain proficiency in an additional language while supporting maintenance of their mother tongue and cultural heritage
  • develop a respect for, and understanding of, diverse linguistic and cultural heritages
  • enable the student to develop multiliteracy skills through the use of a range of learning tools, such as multimedia, in the various modes of communication
  • enable the student to recognize and use language as a vehicle of thought, reflection, self-expression and learning in other subjects, and as a tool for enhancing literacy
  • enable the student to understand the nature of language and the process of language learning, which comprises the integration of linguistic, cultural and social components
  • offer insight into the cultural characteristics of the communities where the language is spoken
  • encourage an awareness and understanding of the perspectives of people from their own and other cultures, leading to involvement and action in their own and other communities


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 an 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:

  • Individual monitoring once per week which includes reading, monitoring of progress on online programmes allocated, assessments of reading, writing, speaking, listening skills and appropriate focus on areas for development.
  • In-class support – whereby the EAL staff member supports the student in certain lessons
  • Small group lessons for primary students (Secondary school offers ESL classes for students below B2 level).
  • EAL club (after school English focusing on language usage)
  • Homework club (to support students with homework)