Learning Support

The Learning Support Department consists of 15 dedicated staff. Our aim is for all students, no matter how challenging they find their learning, to thoroughly enjoy their lessons, feel valued, motivated and achieve their full potential.


Transition to The Priory School

Our commitment to supporting your son or daughter begins before they join us in Year 7. As well as their new Head of Year, we aim to visit as many students as possible throughout the preceding summer term. We also offer additional visits for any student that needs a little extra support. We try to give parents an opportunity to meet with a member of the learning support team prior to starting in the autumn and hold regular coffee mornings to enhance communication.

Working Together

We have high expectations for all students and expect them to achieve their potential and to work hard towards their goals. We do everything possible to support them and believe that working closely with families is the best way to ensure this happens. Working as a team, we aim to overcome any barriers to learning and ensure all students are able to fulfil their dreams!

Sharing Information

We believe that knowledge is power and ensure that staff are aware of all the additional learning needs of our students. In September staff receive information on specific strategies to help our new students and this continues throughout their time with us. We review this information often to ensure that we are doing everything possible to allow our students to be successful, and we encourage parents and carers to be part of this process. Our staff have access to all student information so that every individual is supported with their learning and progress in lessons.

Staff Development

We know that the key to successful learning within the classroom comes from teachers understanding our students’ needs and the way this may impact their learning. We run regular training opportunities for our staff including termly sessions provided by outside agencies including ADD-vance and the Autism Education Trust. All of our teaching staff have received the ‘Making Sense of Autism’ (previously known as tier 1) training.

From the Start

All of our students take part in an online reading test when they join us, so we can monitor their literacy ability from the start and identify those that would benefit from extra support. We constantly review the attainment of our students and have a large range of interventions that we can put into place where they are needed. A few examples are social skills workshops, one-to-one or small group literacy and numeracy lessons, paired reading and access to new technology to support learning in the classroom.

Support in Lessons

The support we offer comes in many different forms; it can be something as small as individually checking a student’s understanding to coloured overlays and use of a laptop where appropriate. The way our students are supported varies according to their individual needs and we have the expertise within the department to ensure all of these are catered for successfully. We have two additional support teachers who work with us and this has enabled us to offer more small group and one-to-one interventions for a range of needs and to a much larger number of students.

We have a committed team of Teaching Assistants who do fantastic work and have hugely improved our flow of information to ensure we never miss a beat when it comes to looking out for every student. They usually specialise within one of the core subject areas and have a huge amount of experience and knowledge for us to call upon.

Support in Examinations

Our students are also assessed throughout their school life to ensure that any extra support for examinations is in place where necessary. Again, this is dependent on the needs of each student and follows strict regulations that ensure fair access for all students throughout the duration of the course. Examinations take place in January and May/June. Students also have the option of re-sitting any modules to improve their overall grade.

Assistive Technology

We are continually investing in new technology to improve the learning experience for our students. We are discovering new and exciting ways to support them, especially in literacy.

Using the latest software and hardware to promote independent learning and increase motivation, we aim to boost self-esteem and ensure students have the necessary skills to succeed in the future. A good example of this is students who have access to electronic reading software to support their literacy needs.

Additional Support

We offer a supportive environment in which to form new friendships at lunch and break time. Students can take part in various activities, such as board games club, Art Club and sports teams throughout the year and are actively encouraged to get involved.

In addition to this we run a Homework Club every day after school to allow students access to computers and receive support in all aspects of their work.

Additional Information

For further information, you can find our SEND Policy and SEND School Information Report on the school website.


  • Mrs Kate Emsley – SENDco
  • Mrs Angharad Harrison – Additional Provision Teacher
  • Mrs Toni Crawley – Additional Provision Teacher
  • Miss Angela Benucci – Learning Support Manager
  • Mrs Helena Breeze – Learning Mentor
  • Miss Rabia Farooq – Learning Mentor
  • Miss Hannah Duckett – Teaching Assistant
  • Mrs Kate Gilfillan – Teaching Assistant
  • Mrs Jenny Metcalfe – Teaching Assistant
  • Miss Eleni Varacliotis – Teaching Assistant
  • Mrs Gill Smith – Teaching Assistant
  • Miss Deborah Stokes – Teaching Assistant
  • Mrs Sandra Stokes – Teaching Assistant
  • Mrs Joy Riglin – Teaching Assistant
  • Miss Vicki Ramsey Teaching Assistant
  • Miss Emily Higgs – Teaching Assistant
  • Miss Sara Hubbard Sawyer KS4 Learning Mentor
  • Mr Zac Cash KS4 Learning Mentor