Introduction

The Learning Development Department works to ensure that every child achieves their potential. Duke of Kent School has an inclusive approach and welcomes a wide range of pupils with varying talents and challenges. We work to boost their self-confidence, to capitalise on and increase their strengths, and to use these to help overcome any areas of weakness.

Central to our approach is the belief that every learner is engaged in a process of developing the skills and habits needed to improve the learning process. 

"Pupils with SEND or EAL are fully integrated into the life of the school, where an inclusive ethos ensures everyone is valued as an individual." ISI Inspection Report, January 2017

How we work with pupils

Sometimes a learner's challenges get in the way of the learning process to the extent that access to the curriculum is blocked. Blocks can have many causes including a gap in prior learning, an issue with attitude to the subject or topic, or an underlying learning difficulty. 

For example, a Year 10 pupil may be having difficulty in manipulating the large and complex vocabulary needed to succeed at Biology GCSE. Rather than being able to focus on the subject itself, he or she may be overwhelmed with anxiety by the words needed to be learned. Strategies might include using the iPad to create electronic flashcards or recording the list of words and their definitions. Alternatively, a Year 7 pupil might feel completely at sea when it comes to structuring an essay and not able to get the information he or she knows about Tudor history down on paper. This is where several sessions of working with a Learning Development team member on planning techniques, could make all the difference.

The work of the Learning Development Department in the Prep School gives emphasis to literacy and numeracy support. In the Senior school, study skills, revision techniques and independent learning strategies also play a large part within the Department’s teaching.

While parents or teachers can refer pupils to the Learning Development Department, pupils in the Senior School often come along themselves to ask for support or advice. We work closely with pupils, staff and parents to identify the best form of support. 

Support strategies can be put in place within classes or can take the form of up to two individual sessions a week to help reinforce key areas of the curriculum. For pupils attending weekly sessions or with identified needs, an individually tailored plan with set targets (an Individual Education Plan) will be devised and regularly reviewed so that staff, parents and the pupil can all work together to achieve set goals. Lessons are charged at an additional cost (currently £22 per session).

If there is a need for more specialist support or guidance, the Department also welcomes visiting professionals such as a Speech and Language Therapist on a weekly basis and can put parents in contact with an Educational Psychologist if external assessment is needed. We have an Occupational Therapist on our team. 

We aim to develop teaching styles and flexible strategies to respond to the needs of individual children and we promote an enthusiastic, confidence building and active approach to learning. These approaches enable pupils to discover their own strengths and to build up their confidence so that they are able to reach their full potential. When it is time for them to leave the School, their experience within the Learning Development Department will have helped them become better equipped to take a full part in their lifelong education as successful independent learners.

Our recent inspection found that pupils with identified special educational needs "make excellent progress, benefitting from teaching which is targeted to meet their individual needs. They develop strategies to tackle specific challenges and apply these in their work." 

"Pupils of all ability levels make excellent progress in their studies." ISI Inspection Report, January 2017