Learning Support

Learning Support

At Sacred Heart College we encourage every student to aim for excellence and fulfil their full potential. However, every student is unique, with their own particular combination of strengths, talents, learning differences and struggles, and while some students benefit from extension, others require support in order to achieve.  Learning Support focuses on both the extension and remediation of skills, co-ordinating specialist support to ensure that every student receives an education that enhances their learning and is responsive to their individual needs.

Students monitored by the Department include those whose learning needs arise as a result of low levels of literacy and numeracy development, spectrum disorders, specific learning difficulties, physical disabilities, sensory impairment, intellectual impairment, medical conditions, personal circumstances, Gifted and Talented, etc.

Learning Support classes provide specialist help and support for students who find aspects of the curriculum challenging and who require additional support with their learning.  Classes specifically target the individual learning needs of students, supporting them to achieve to the best of their ability and experience success across the curriculum.

Students who require support in literacy In Year 9, students who are having difficulties with literacy are invited to take 'Extra English' as an option subject.  This course is designed to support students’ English classes and also to help them with the language demands across the curriculum.

In Year 10, students who still have literacy issues are invited to continue with the 'Extra English' option.  In the senior school, departments offer alternative courses which support these students to achieve.

Spectrum Disorders This covers a range of conditions that vary in severity and are termed ‘spectrum’ because each person presents differently.  Spectrum Disorders include Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and a range of related disabilities, all of which affect every day social and communication skills.  Those with Spectrum Disorders generally find difficulty in making sense of the world in the way others are able to.  Perceptual learning disabilities, while different in nature, may also be experienced by people with Spectrum Disorders.  Students with Spectrum Disorders are fully mainstreamed and supported by the Learning Support Department within their mainstream classes.  In some cases they also receive teacher aide support.

Specific Learning Difficulties Dyslexia is perhaps the most widely recognised of the conditions termed Specific Learning Difficulties.  Other conditions named as SLDs include dyscalculia, dyspraxia and aphasia.  The attention deficit disorders, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), are also represented.  Students with specific learning difficulties are fully mainstreamed and supported by the Learning Support Department within their mainstream classes.  In some cases they also receive teacher aide support.

Sensory Impairments The Learning Support Department monitors students who have visual and hearing disabilities.  We work with school staff, families and outside agencies to ensure that students can access assistive equipment.  Practical support is offered in day-to-day situations.

Medical Conditions Students with both short-term and chronic medical conditions that cause significant interruption to their education are offered learning support.  Where Central Regional Central Health is involved, the student may be enrolled with the Hospital School and Learning Support staff will liaise with teachers there.  In other instances, Learning Support staff will liaise with medical professionals.

Physical Disabilities The level of assistance given to students with physical disabilities relates to individual needs.  Students are offered support to allow them to participate as fully as is possible in all aspects of school life.  Meetings with families and health professionals ensure that learning and pastoral care needs may be addressed.

Intellectual Impairment Learning Support staff work closely with intellectually impaired students, with individual education programmes in place throughout the secondary years.

Personal Circumstances From time-to-time students are affected by unexpected events that can cause interruption to their schooling. In situations involving accident, bereavement, or health issues, for example, students might need specific learning assistance and a quiet place in which to work. The Learning Support Department monitors such students and helps arrange for their needs to be met.

Gifted and Talented The Learning Support Department works to ensure that Gifted and Talented students are identified early and provided for accordingly.  It aims to provide opportunities for all pupils to take an active role in their own learning; to encourage an active partnership with parents in their children’s learning; to offer every student the special educational provision she requires; to provide continuity of learning and to use regular evaluation of student progress to inform future planning; and to co-ordinate and regularly review support for Gifted and Talented students within the School.

Special Assessment Conditions (SACs) Special Assessment Conditions may be given for students with recognised learning difficulties, physical disability, sight or hearing impairment, or a medical condition.  To be eligible for SACs, data to support the application is needed from either a registered assessor or from school-based evidence.  This assessment must have been carried out within the two years prior to students entering national qualifications.

It is vital that you inform us on enrolment if your daughter requires any form of learning support assistance or if they suffer any major medical condition(s).

English as a Second Language (ESOL)

Special programmes are available for students who need English Language support. Students needing English Language support are carefully assessed on entry to the school and have an individual programme created for them.  This could be a few hours per week of Language work to a more extensive programme of English teaching. Students in the senior school are also supported with the literacy requirement in their other subjects for NCEA Levels 1 & 2.

Information about international examinations (eg IELTS or TOEFL) is available on request and support given as appropriate.



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