Questions & Answers

What sort of difficulties do pupils have?
Hearing or vision, making friends, learning, health, behaviour, language. Generally, children can come to terms with their difficulty after a short period of support but for others support is required throughout their whole school career.
Who can help?
The Learning Support Department is a team of staff who specialise in helping and supporting students when required, led by Mrs Jo Kitchener (SENCO) who is responsible for co-ordinating provision for all pupils with special education needs. See the staff page for the full list of learning support staff.
How do we find out who has Special Needs?
We are provided with detailed information from primary schools which helps us to identify all pupils with Special Needs. We are aware that children have changing needs and recognise that pupils might be referred in various ways, for example:
  • Parents may contact school with a concern
  • Students may contact a member of staff
  • A tutor or subject teacher may contact Learning Support staff
  • The school nurse or other external specialists may contact the school
How do we decide what support is needed?
  • By observing the student in the classroom
  • By gathering information from staff and parents
  • Year 7 and 8 literacy screening on entry
  • By using diagnostic tests
  • By referring to normal tests
  • By looking closely at his or her classwork
  • By discussing difficulties with the student
  • By requesting specialist advice from the doctor, speech therapist, educational psychologist etc.
How do we support pupils?
It is our policy to ensure that all pupils are included in the learning community at Toot Hill. Support is given to pupils in many ways:
  • Differentiation: By adapting the style of teaching and using different resources
  • Special equipment: With the use of technological aids such as a laptop computer spell check, Dictaphone etc.
  • In class support: Teaching Assistants regularly support pupils in lessons.
  • Withdrawal support: Teaching Assistants can also withdraw small groups of pupils to work on a particular topic or test.
  • KS3 literacy and numeracy support: Pupils come out of lessons for approx. 20 minutes 3 or 4 times a week to do one of the following structured schemes working one to one with a member of the Learning Support team or volunteer helper (this may be one of our trained sixth-form helpers).
    • Toe by Toe: This is a structured reading programme requiring daily 20-minute sessions.
    • Switch On: This is a structured reading programme centred around reading books for comprehension.
    • Stride Ahead reading comprehension/fluency scheme. This is a follow up to Toe by Toe.
    • Stareway to Spelling spelling programme.
    • Plus 1 and Power of 2 Maths scheme.
  • KS4 Negotiated Support: Individual mentoring for year 9 and above by referral. Pupils have a regular appointment once or twice weekly.
  • Assessments: SEN teachers can help prepare and carry out assessments as and when required. This includes providing readers, laptops and scribes for tests. We also apply for dispensations for public examinations.
  • Targeted Support: Students will be invited to take part in short booster courses aimed at improving specific skills, changing behaviour patterns or boosting self esteem.
  • AIM Award (SEFL): This is an option for KS4 students which develops their organization and life skills. Students following this course will receive accreditation although it is not a recognised GCSE. Modules include Animal Care, Horticulture, Performing Arts and Preparation for Interview
  • Lunch Club: We also run a club every day at lunch-time. Pupils can come along and play board games, take part in a quiz, get help with homework and meet new friends.
  • Homework Club: We run a Homework Club every Thursday after school for pupils who may need extra help or who find it hard to get work done at home. It runs from 3:30 until 4:30pm.
  • Parental Support: We have monthly review meetings where parents can come along to discuss any concerns they have. They are held on a Tuesday after school - look at key dates for upcoming meetings. Please call the school office or email via the contact form to arrange an appointment.
  • Sunset and Sunrise Literacy Interventions: Held every day except Friday held in Learning Support, 8.00 - 8.25 and 3.30 - 4.00.
  • Lego Intervention: Building blocks to communication, verbal and non verbal influencing literacy skills, social interaction and language development.
  • Reading to Dogs: Students read to a 'Pets as Therapy' trained dog, to practice reading skills and improve their confidence when speaking aloud in a calm and relaxed environment.
  • Tea and Toast: Held every morning in Learning Support, providing social communication interaction skills facilitating a positive role model from peers and college students along with Learning Support staff.
Do some pupils need more support than others?
Most pupils are supported by subject teachers and existing Learning Support Staff. However some pupils have complex long-term needs. There is extra support available for these pupils. Those pupils whose needs are considered to be exceptional within the authority are granted support from the Higher Level Needs Fund; those whose needs are exceptional within the family are granted support from the Additional Family Needs Fund; those whose needs are exceptional within the school are granted support from the Additional School Needs Fund. Most of these pupils would have some support from a Teaching Assistant, either in class or on a one to one basis.
How do we let parents know about a child's progress?
We consider a close partnership between the school and parents to be essential to ensure each pupil's success. As a minimum parents have the opportunity to meet subject teachers once a year and tutors twice a year. However it is not uncommon for termly contact to be made especially when Individual Education Plans are prepared or when a problem is encountered.

The Learning Support department hold regular monthly meetings for parents to come along and discuss concerns they may have about their children. They are held once a month on a Tuesday evening from 3.30pm until 5pm. If you are worried about some aspect of your child's learning, development, behaviour or progress or if you have a child with special educational needs and want to know more about the support they are getting, then please ring the school office and make an appointment to see Mrs Jo Kitchener, Special Educational Needs Coordinator or please email her at jkitchener@toothillschool.co.uk.
Who else may support a child?
We are also fortunate to receive the support of a wide range of professionals and agencies:
  • Educational Psychologist
  • School Nurse
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Schools and Family Support Services
  • Physical Disability Support Service
  • School Student Mentor
What do I do if I feel that my child's needs are not being met?
We value close relationships between home and school and therefore are always available, by appointment or at Review Meetings, to discuss problems. If however there are any problems that we cannot easily solve, the school has a complaints procedure as set out in the school brochure.
Where can I find out more about support available for SEN students?
Telephone 01623 422223/0115 9482888 or visit Parent Partnership Services or Nottinghamshire County Council's Special Educational Needs section.