The Learning Support and Development Department caters for boys who need specialist assistance with reading, spelling, handwriting or study skills. They may need this for a variety of reasons - absence from school or frequent changes of school, for example – or they may have a specific learning difficulty.
What are specific learning difficulties?
There are many reasons why children may find learning difficult. Sometimes the reason is quite specific and leads to the slower development of numeracy or literacy skills than in similarly aged children. One of the reasons for this is dyslexia. Usually the child has a normal, or above normal, intelligence but he does not attain the level of literacy that may be expected. Very often, children with specific learning difficulties respond well once the area of weakness has been correctly identified. For example, a short-term visual or auditory memory is very common in such children. Differentiated support may then be given.
What might happen if nothing is done?
The child may become frustrated when he finds that he is unable to progress as well as other children in his form. Self-esteem may be affected and this can lead to bad behaviour. Ultimately, the child’s long-term potential may not be recognised.
What can be done at Horris Hill?
Horris Hill has a specialist teacher, trained in the management of assessment, identification and teaching individuals using the most effective methods. Every boy is given a test in reading, spelling and verbal/non-verbal reasoning. If a test result is unexpectedly low - or of there is a marked discrepancy between potential and actual achievement - then further diagnostic assessments are performed to ascertain areas of difficulty.
Parents may be advised that a boy should be seen by an Educational Psychologist or a Behavioural Optometrist. Usually, however, the support teacher decides upon appropriate action and will design an individual teaching programme.