Academic Support (AS) staff aim to equip our pupils with the skills and tools they need to enable them to achieve their full potential across the curriculum, becoming independent and confident learners. Thus advice and support is offered to all pupils within the school, not just those identified as having specific difficulties in general learning or in specific subject knowledge and skills acquisition.
How we work
We work closely with subject teachers to ensure we target the specific areas pupils are struggling with. This includes individual subject teaching (pre-teaching or revisiting taught subject content) as well as focus on key skills (reading strategies, spellings, essay structure, revision technique). We identify pupil strengths and learning styles in order to tailor make the provision to the pupil. Baselines are set in order to measure and demonstrate progress during the intervention (which can be for a single term through to the duration of their time at Kimbolton). Typically the support is taught in group, paired or in a one to one format and can be in or out of the classroom context, depending on the age of the pupil and the nature of support required.
At the Preparatory School, all Academic Support staff are fully qualified teachers. They plan the support in conjunction with the form and subject teachers and deliver it either one-to-one or in a small group, in a classroom setting or externally. The team advise on the best methods to ensure full and equal access of quality teaching for pupils and can plan, implement and teach alongside some teachers in order to ensure this.
At the Senior School, Academic Support staff all have different skills and strengths and most teach a main subject alongside AS work. This means we can tailor-make the provision, matching the specific skill-set of the teacher, to the needs of the pupil.
The type of support we offer
At the Prep School support is delivered as set out above, usually from Year 2 to Year 6, and covers the key component core skills of English and Maths (for example individual word decoding, reading comprehension, spelling, handwriting, writing planning, creative writing word choices, editing written work, number sense, number word problems.)
Typically, First to Third Form support is based on underlying skills (spelling, reading, writing, Maths) as well as support for specific subjects such as Science. In Fourth and Fifth Form, the GCSE years, our support tends to focus on exam-based skills (essay planning and writing, and revision technique), as well as specific revisiting of key information in subjects that the pupil struggles to fully understand. Sixth Formers are offered support where needed in order to develop independent research and learning, in preparation for A levels and beyond.
Alongside this, one-off single sessions around a specific skill (how to plan an essay, exam command words, decoding an exam question) are offered to any pupil who requests it. Other support offered within the Department centres on self organisation, self help skills and social skills for pupils identified on the Autistic spectrum.
Information is regularly requested from and shared with subject teachers. Parents are fully involved in the initial implementation of support and the review at the end of a specific intervention. Pupils who arrive at Kimbolton with county-funding (typically with medical issues rather than academic ones) are also supported. We liaise with the various agencies, including the county, to ensure appropriate support is provided.
Our teachers are adept at identifying pupils who cause concern. Liaison and close communication between Academic Support and teaching staff ensures teachers are suitably skilled in specific strategies to fully support their pupils. Any parent may contact Academic Support for advice or to discuss an assessment or referral. Requests for a diagnostic in-house assessment or to seek external more detailed assessment advice (typically using an independent Educational Psychologist known to the school) are organised through the Head of Academic Support. Any advice or specific recommendation from such an assessment (internal or external) is always circulated to all the teachers involved in teaching the pupil.
Access arrangements are also under the remit of the Head of the Academic Support Department. Close liaison to gather in-class teacher evidence and feedback on how the pupil performs in class, ensures that the correct pupils are identified for additional support in public exams. The school adheres to the national JCQ exam body legislation and is fully compliant.