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Support for Learning

Canford supports learning through a whole-school approach, achieving excellent outcomes for all pupils. Our SENCo provides whole-school training on a range of learning differences, helping teachers to identify and respond to the learning challenges that all pupils can encounter, including those with SEND. Support for learning (SFL) is embedded across Canford’s curriculum. Teachers meet regularly to share good practice across departments and develop awareness of differing needs; all departments offer drop-in ’clinics’ and ad hoc 1:1 support. The Shells (year 9) participate in the Accelerated Reader and .b Mindfulness in Schools programmes.

The SFL department also provides specialist programmes for those pupils with identified learning differences who may require additional support. Our aim is for pupils to develop the skills they need to think and learn independently. We enable our pupils to develop strategies, gain confidence in their own learning and acquire the study skills that will help them to succeed at Canford and beyond.

Some Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the Support for Learning centre located?

The Support for Learning department is centrally located in The Lovell Building with three adjacent teaching rooms. The rooms are comfortable and well-equipped providing a welcoming and purposeful environment.

What qualifications do the staff hold? All SFL teachers either have, or are working towards, specialist qualifications in teaching pupils with specific learning differences.
How do you know if a pupil needs additional support?

All new pupils complete the computerised Lucid Exact, a comprehensive assessment of literacy skills. Free writing speed is also assessed.  Baseline assessment also provides a helpful snapshot of a pupil’s current skills, such as vocabulary, maths, proofreading and speed of working.

Pupils and parents are encouraged to communicate with tutors about their child’s progress in the first instance. Tutors and teachers liaise closely with the Academic Head of Lower School and SFL in monitoring pupil progress, raising concerns and agreeing appropriate interventions.

What support is offered?

In the Shell Year, a small group of pupils are selected who staff believe would benefit more from extra English than from studying Latin. These are carefully chosen based on their Common Entrance papers.

In the Fourth and Fifth Forms, there is an option of Learning Skills as an alternative to a tenth GCSE subject. In addition, a number of regular clinics are also available on a drop-in basis, offering general support as well as focused coaching on specific skills such as spelling, organisation and revision. Pupils benefit from the extra input designed to help them achieve the best grades possible in all their other subjects.

In the Sixth Form, support is offered on a less formal basis. Pupils may arrange to see a member of the Department in a study period. Usually only a few lessons are needed to set them on the right path.

One to one specialist tuition, both short-term and long-term, in areas such as study skills, literacy development, managing anxiety and improving attention.  This takes place in free time.

What if I need more one to one tuition?

There is no extra charge for the group support described above. All pupils can take advantage of up to three one-to-one consultations with a specialist teacher throughout their time at Canford. Ongoing individual lessons are charged as extra. They are available to pupils in any year group but are mainly taken up by those in the Fourth and Fifth Forms, either in addition to, or instead of, the Learning Skills option. Some pupils who have received support at their previous school find that it is at this stage, when they face the demands of GCSE, that they require a refresher course. Lessons may be delivered as a short course or on a longer term basis.

What about special arrangements for GCSE and A Level examinations?

Our SENCo holds a current Assessment Practising Certificate (APC) and AMBDA accreditation. The exam boards, who annually update regulations on access arrangements, prefer assessment to be carried out internally, ideally by the SENCo. Parents are advised not to commission private reports without discussion.


Are special arrangements offered for Common Entrance?

CE candidates may be awarded extra time on the basis of a recent educational psychologist’s report (preferably done in Year 7 or 8). The application for extra time should be made by the pupil’s school. It is helpful if a copy of the report is also sent to Canford, in the first instance to the Admissions Office, who can then advise on examination arrangements.

In some cases it is thought advisable for prospective pupils to attend the Pre-CE day which is held at Canford at the end of January each year. The day comprises a mixture of academic tests and interviews which are conducted, as far as possible, in a relaxed atmosphere. Its aim is to give parents guidance as to whether their child will reach Canford’s Common Entrance standards and whether the school will be an environment in which they are likely to thrive.

What information is needed?

The more information shared, the better support we can provide. We ask for copies of any assessment reports and exam access arrangement information so that we can ensure a level playing field during the Admissions’ process and a smooth transition. If in doubt, please get in touch with our Admissions team for more information.