Life in the Learning Support Department is never dull. Lessons often begin at 8.15am, when bleary-eyed students arrive for an early-morning wake up session. At the same time, anxious boys often appear to complete tasks, which they have forgotten to do or with which they have had difficulty. We always try to offer support whenever we can, by providing materials or just assistance to complete the task. Individual lessons go on throughout the day. Most students remember when to arrive, but some of the younger or more forgetful pupils need to be collected. In our lessons we cover a multitude of areas, including literacy, numeracy, study skills, memory skills development, preparation for GCSE and other exams and general support in areas of difficulty. In addition we often find we have to offer a sympathetic ear to students who are upset, worried or anxious about a multitude of things.
At break times our area is regarded by many students as a safe haven, where they can come if they need a bit of peace and quiet and a friendly face, as well as where we carry out lessons. We are often on hand to supply a snack or a drink to those in need too. Some of the teaching staff also support students in the classroom. This is in addition to the army of wonderful Learning Support Assistants we have in the school, who support either individual pupils or groups within the classroom. Their support is invaluable as they give the students far more than just a helping hand with their learning.
We are always happy to meet with parents whenever the need arises. This can be in the form of an organised meeting or a brief chat at the end of the school day, depending on the requirement. We are always keen to maintain the lines of communication between home and school, and work very hard to make sure this happens effectively. Our parents know they can contact us at any time and we will try to deal with any concerns they may have quickly and efficiently. Ours is a very busy but a happy department, where we see children increase in confidence and self-esteem as they realise their potential. We all feel very privileged to have the opportunity to be part of it, especially at the end of a year when we see confident young men leave us to take up places at college or in the sixth form, ready to face the world independently. Some of our recent successes have been a severely dyslexic student who is now the rowing coach at Westminster School, another who is teaching sailing in France and a student who had huge medical as well as specific learning difficulties who has just been awarded best academic student for his computing course at college and is now off to university. All of these boys achieved well above their expected level at Rushmoor, due to hard work, and the support and nurturing they received while in our care.
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