Learning Support

The Department of Enhanced Learning (DEL) welcomes children of all ages who may be at risk of not meeting their academic potential because of specific learning differences. Children attending learning support at Ballard School are given every opportunity to succeed in a secure, stimulating and challenging environment.

The school achieved its registration as a CReSTeD category DU school from June 2015 (for further information, please see www.crested.org.uk)

Teaching Staff

Jan Belcher

Head of  Department of Enhanced Learning

Ballard School gives children every opportunity to reach their full potential and the specialist teaching, therapies and resources target those who have more specific difficulties. The Department of Enhanced Learning (DEL) is very much part of the whole school and every pupil can access the support provided. The DEL works in liaison with the teachers and senior staff to screen children and pre-empt any difficulties, and responds with staged interventions when the need arises.

The school places great importance on knowing the profile of individual learners in order to teach to the strengths of the child, whilst working to improve and support areas of weakness, and stretching specific gifts. Specialist diagnostic assessment, undertaken within the department, informs teaching and learning across the school. Targets are set by fully qualified teachers for lessons within the DEL through Personalised Learning Plans. In addition, the plans disseminate appropriate information and strategies to subject teachers to enable effective teaching. Good communication is essential for a cohesive approach to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND); this is promoted at Ballard School. Involvement of children and parents is essential throughout, and is at the heart of any decision making process.

Class and subject teachers are experienced in differentiating content and style of delivery to make topics accessible to every child, while maintaining high expectations. Even when children have challenges with their learning, the focus is on higher order thinking skills. Within the DEL, some pre-teaching and reinforcement of curriculum topics can take place, as necessary, in a secure environment. Children with specific learning difficulties benefit from structured and incremental knowledge and skills based teaching. ‘Overlearning’ through games, puzzles and computer software provides an enjoyable experience. Reinforcing underlying auditory and visual skills is essential to improve attainment and is an important thread running through all learning support sessions. As children reach Year 8, tuition is given in research and study skills, proof reading and examination techniques, in preparation for Flagship exams. There is a focus on using more advanced assistive technology at this point so children may function as independently as possible.

The learning support teachers have extensive expertise and experience, and the department is fully and appropriately resourced. Provision for the development social skills (through our ELSA programme), fine and gross motor skills, and assistive technology are all available within Ballard School.

Learning support at Ballard delivers a truly specialised service, within a mainstream setting.