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Learning Support and ELT

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Learning Support

Pupils with additional needs are supported to achieve their potential through our dedicated Learning Support team. Westonbirt offers the following LS support in school:

  • Numeracy and literacy skills
  • Study skills support
  • Dyslexia support
  • Small group support in English
  • Small group study skills 
  • Handwriting programmes 
  • Social skills support

Any additional academic support is provided by the individual academic departments and organisational support is provided by the pupils’ tutors. Westonbirt offers small classes meaning open and structured support can be offered in a relaxed atmosphere, where students can grow in their own confidence and self-esteem.

Our Head of Learning Support can screen for additional information following entry if required. The Head of Learning Support liaises with the LEA for pupils with a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) and, where necessary, supports applications for Statements of Special Educational Need/EHCPs. 

Teachers work closely with the Head of Learning Support and the rest of the team if and when they become aware of problems which may be associated with specific learning difficulties. If concerns are reported, further information about the pupil’s general progress is sought from their colleagues. 

Support is normally provided through classroom and homework differentiation. Teaching staff are provided with an outline of the pupil's difficulties and guidelines for supporting the pupil’s individual learning. Dedicated classroom assistants are not offered routinely for learning support unless through the provision of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an EHCP. With parental permission, we give all pupils identified from screening further testing in-house to investigate relative strengths and weaknesses within the pupil’s learning profile. However, it is sometimes necessary with parents’ agreement, to refer the pupil to an Educational Psychologist or other outside professionals for a more detailed assessment or diagnosis of needs. We circulate the guidelines based on the professional assessment to all teachers involved.

English Language Training (ELT)

Westonbirt is proud to offer a strong English Language Training (ELT) department and enjoy a vibrant international community.  The department is designed to support international students in successfully accessing school life and friendships, as well as increasing confidence in using English in their mainstream classes.  

ELT class sizes are small, with many taking place as one-to-one lessons, while other students work in small groups of up to five on conversational skills or exam focussed training. Our ELT teachers work closely with academic teachers, assessing students’ progress and help with subject-specific vocabulary when needed. We use a number of teaching techniques to support students’ English language learning, including grammar activities, and both academic and general English writing focus lessons. We like to encourage independent learning as much as possible through a wide range of computer programs and resources.

All of our international students will sit an entrance test focussed on their language ability, which will inform and advise the ELT teachers how many extra English lessons their son or daughter might need and the additional cost. The number of lessons required will be constantly assessed throughout the year.

We also help students prepare for external examinations such as IELTS, which is the English proficiency test accepted by British universities; the majority of ELT students also sit FCE exams in Year 10. Our aim is to ensure that all of our students are at least at IELTS 6.5/7.0 and ready for university by the time they leave Westonbirt for their onward academic journey.

KEY STAGE 3

The EAL Department is located in the heart of the school. For many pupils from overseas, it is appropriate that they should receive extra support and tuition in English rather than learn a modern European language. English as an Additional Language is therefore taught in those periods or/and in their prep periods on the timetable so to give maximum support for the student to adapt and harness the English language as quickly as possible. For many students, we will introduce at this stage and follow the Cambridge Preliminary Training (PET) Exam to give the student a firm foundation of the Cambridge English Language exam journey which could begin an impressive scaled portfolio of language proficiency.

GCSE

At GCSE level, pupils who study EAL will all follow the Cambridge First Certificate in English Exam (FCE) or Cambridge Advanced Certificate (CAE)

Pupils will continue to be taught the five skills of reading, writing, use of English (grammar), listening, and speaking. EAL provides valuable support to students in their other subjects at school by giving them a weekly opportunity to improve their confidence and proficiency in the language so that they are able to get the most from their studies and be in the strongest possible position to step up to the linguistic as well as academic demands of the chosen subjects at A-Level.

A-LEVEL

At A-Level, our students follow the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The IELTS examination tests a student's ability to comprehend, write and speak about a wide range of general topics. IELTS is the English language qualification that is most recognised by British universities and necessary for entrance.

 

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