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Āwhina Learning Support
Valuing every learner, recognising their potential, growing their achievement
The Āwhina Learning Support (ALS) Team is committed to caring for and supporting students who face challenges in their learning or who learn in different ways. Sometimes these challenges are short-term and related to physical, mental or emotional well-being or personal/whānau circumstances. More often they are on-going challenges linked to neurological, cognitive, auditory or visual challenges. We are also increasingly seeing the impact of anxiety and well-being challenges for many of our students and the impact this has on their learning.
“We see our role as supporting and caring for our students’ academic progress by helping them develop their literacy and numeracy skills, their learning and study strategies, but also their self-belief and their work ethic.”
The team also support teachers in adapting curriculum and assessments to ensure teaching is diverse and inclusive in approach, run classes for a small number of students at the Principals’ discretion and endeavour to ensure provision of Special Assessment Conditions. They also liaise closely with the Scots College Wellbeing team.
The Head of the Āwhina Learning Support Department is Claire Hall
When making an application for enrolment we ask parents/caregivers to provide full information about their child’s known learning challenges for example, education psychologist’s assessment report, audiologist or medical professional’s report or other documentation of formal diagnosis. We require full disclosure of the additional support your child has received at their previous school. The Principals of the Middle and Senior Schools may ask you and your child to meet with the Head of Āwhina Learning Support as part of the application process. The information provided with the application and at any potential meeting will determine whether Scots College is able to provide your child with the support necessary for them to achieve success with their learning and thrive at school.
Once parents/caregivers have been offered and accepted enrolment for their child, the Head of Āwhina Learning Support will meet with parents/caregivers and their child to determine the best support and resources for their learning. In addition, the documentation provided will enable the team to formulate an Individual Information and Learning Support Plan (ISP) for the child. This ISP is shared with the child’s teachers and includes a series of strategies for support, determined at the meeting and from the child’s previous assessment or testing.
The Scots College Junior School staff are focussed on caring for and supporting all students, recognising, and catering for, their different learning styles. Classroom teachers are responsible for the holistic care of their students and work alongside the Assistant Principal to set goals and organise support or resources for students with specific learning needs. Where appropriate, the class teacher works with families to create an IEP (Individual Education Plan) which builds on a student’s strengths and includes SMART goals, which are regularly reviewed. These plans are based around a collaborative approach including the staff, students and their families.
To support the students, we have structured programmes that are run within the classroom, as well as with small groups, primarily in Literacy. Student achievement and progress is monitored through in class observations and assessment tasks, alongside formal testing in specific year groups. There is some Teacher Aide time allocated to classes and small groups which enable Learning Support staff to work alongside your child and other students to make learning accessible.
Teachers and members of the Learning Support team, coordinated by the Junior School Assistant Principal, are always happy to meet with whānau to discuss their child’s progress and suggest strategies to support learning at home.
ALS aims to ensure all students in Years 7 to 10 with diagnosed learning challenges are placed in a class which has Teacher Assistant (TA) support in English and mathematics. The Teacher Assistant will work alongside your child and other students to make learning accessible. Please be aware that, although ALS endeavours to have a TA in each English and mathematics class consistently in Years 7 – 10, due to staffing and resources restrictions, and times when special assessment conditions need to be provided, this may not always be possible.
Where possible, ALS works with Heads of Department and the MYP Co-ordinator to ensure assessments are adapted to accommodate students with specific learning needs.
At the discretion of the Middle School Principal, Middle School students with significant learning challenges may be placed in an ALS class in lieu of a language acquisition class (Chinese, French, Spanish, Te Reo Māori). The focuses of ALS classes in Middle School are literacy skills and learning strategies
ALS will liaise with Senior School students to provide academic tutoring for Middle School students in lunch breaks or after school.
Members of the ALS team are always happy to meet with whānau to discuss their child’s progress and suggest strategies to support learning at home.
At the Senior School level (Years 11-13) the Head of Āwhina Learning Support and the Assistant Principal - Curriculum, will make applications to NZQA (New Zealand Qualification Authority) for special assessment conditions for students with diagnosed learning needs. Provisions for special assessment conditions in external assessments, granted by NZQA, are met by the College. Similar support is provided for internal assessments, where is it deemed appropriate.
At the discretion of the Deputy Principal – Curriculum, Senior School students with significant learning challenges may be placed in an ALS class in lieu of a sixth subject. The focuses of ALS classes in Senior School are literacy skills, learning strategies, curriculum and assessment support and exam preparation.
Some Senior School students may seek additional support from ALS at lunchtimes and after school.
Members of the Āwhina Learning Support team are always happy to meet with whānau to discuss their child’s progress and suggest strategies to support learning at home.
Usually, ALS is not able to provide Teacher Assistant support beyond English and mathematics. If whānau believe the child needs additional support, the College would need to explore a whānau funded model.
ALS is not able to provide individual tutoring sessions with teaching staff or one-on-one tutoring with Teaching Assistants unless additional whānau funding and appropriate resourcing is agreed upon.
The College is not able to access the government funded RTLB (Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour) support for students in Years 1 – 10.
The College is not able to access the government funded RTLit (Resource Teachers: Literacy) support for students in Years 0 – 8.