We provide support for learners with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.
Activate Learning works on every campus to support, help and teach learners, including apprentices and HE students, regardless of their learning difficulty or disability, to develop effective study and personal skills so that they can make progress on their course, achieve their goals and thrive at college. We use our Learning Philosophy to help students to become independent and successful learners.
“Learners appreciate the calm, welcoming and inclusive learning environment.” Ofsted 2022
“Learners with high needs make outstanding progress as a result of the highly personalised curriculum and specialist support that enables them to realise their ambitions, get jobs or live more independently.” Ofsted 2022
Group Learning Support (GLS) staff support students with a wide variety of needs. These can include profound, severe and moderate learning difficulties, English as a second language, learners who struggle with English and maths (including adult learners) and learners who need reengagement back into education.
They also support students with specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia and dyspraxia, as well as students with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), autism; as well as students with sensory and or physical disabilities and those with medical and/or wellbeing needs.
There are many students in college with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) who receive support, but support in college is not dependent upon this.
Depending on need, a learner may require different types of support. Some applicants require additional transition support, to help them join and settle in.
Some learners may need support during a lesson. This could be 1:1 for our High Needs Learners (who have an Education, Health and Care Plan) or shared in-class support.
Some students might have out of class support. This can include 1:1 individual or small group sessions and workshops with Learning Support staff. These will either be scheduled or accessed on a “drop-in” basis. Support might include going back over the lesson topic, developing their vocabulary, so that they can more easily understand the lesson. Students can be helped with organising and planning their work, or with their course assignments and later with revision and exam preparation. We offer support to develop maths and English skills.
Some students need specific intervention programme to fill gaps in understanding or knowledge, which is in addition to their main course of study. Staff can support learners who are working remotely and taking part in online courses. Intervention Progress Coaches (IPC) provides coaching to young people feeling disengaged from learning to help get them back on track.
For learners with specific learning difficulties and disabilities, such as dyslexia, and depending on the level of need, students have additional support provided by their own Faculty staff and /or from specialist staff within Learning Support.
Some learners will have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). This plan has detailed information about the learner’s individual needs and the Learning Outcomes that they are working towards. All support is focussed towards helping the learners achieve these Learning Outcomes. Study coaches and Learning Support Assistants often work with learners who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). Students with an EHCP will have an annual review.
Apprentices have support from their assessors and may access Learning Support and Student Support. This support enables the learner to make the most of their opportunities and time in college.
There is a dedicated team of staff who support students on Higher Education courses in Activate Learning. This support often focuses on delivering skills building support to learners either in one-to-one sessions or in small groups.
Support services work closely with teaching staff, internal and external support services, and other organisations, to ensure that individual students get the support that suits them. For some students this might include:
If this type of support is required by you, or for your son/daughter/ward, then please contact the Group Learning Support team on the preferred campus.
There is also support on campus for students’ wellbeing, including mental health support, transition, counselling, faith rooms, student voice and so on. Safeguarding concerns are dealt with by a safeguarding officer in the Group Student Support team. There is a safeguarding officer on every campus.
For further information on our wider support offer, click here: (Supporting you - Banbury and Bicester College (activatelearning.ac.uk)
If an applicant declares a support need, this is noted and a support meeting – which could be over the phone – will take place. This meeting helps us to discuss the individual’s support needs and to plan the support that best meets their needs. A student can also declare a support need at enrolment or whilst on programme.
If a learner has an Education, Health and Care Plan, there could be several discussions before a decision can be made. Any discussion about support is in addition to any meetings with Faculty staff. This is so that we are sure that students have the support they need from their first day in college. On rare occasions, Activate Learning cannot meet someone’s individual needs. This outcome will always be communicated sensitively with the applicant and their family.
The Support Plan
Students who require additional help in college will have a Support Plan. The Support Plan details what teaching and support staff are doing to help the student. It is reviewed regularly.
Activate Learning holds regular retention panels. These are online case conferences to ensure that those students who need a little extra help settling down on the right programme have the right support around them. Retention panels work with faculty staff to arrange support to meet individual student needs.
Some students require Exam Access Arrangements or reasonable adjustments when they take exams. These can include rest breaks; extra time; a reader/computer reader, modified papers, and use of a word processor.
Learners are asked to disclose any previous exam access arrangements and to see a specialist assessor on campus. Specialist assessors are part of the Learning Support team.
Past exam access arrangements (EAA) do not automatically carry on in college. However, any past paperwork, such as a Form 8 from school or a previous full diagnostic assessment is very helpful to the assessment team.
In some cases, specialist assessors will need evidence of a medical or wellbeing need from a hospital consultant or similar professional body. This also includes students with a diagnosis of autism and ADHD/ADD/ODD, with a speech, language, and communication need or those who have a sensory and/or physical need. Suitable forms of evidence include a letter or report from CAMHS, a HCPC registered psychologist, a medical consultant, a Speech and Language Therapist, a letter or report from the Local Authority Specialist Service, Local Authority Sensory Impairment Service or Occupational Health Service. A letter from a GP is not appropriate evidence. All information is kept confidentially.
All exam access arrangements must comply with the information from Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ). This is updated each year. For any exam access arrangement to be in place, an assessment interview with a specialist assessor, with perhaps further assessment must take place in college. Staff cannot assess online. All students must sign a data protection form. Applications must be made within a very strict timeframe set by JCQ. It is very rare for any application for an exam access arrangement to be made after the JCQ deadline in March.
Learners are given several opportunities to disclose any previous exam access arrangements: when applying, at interview, at enrolment and on their course or study programme. Class teachers will also ask students to disclose any previous exam access arrangements.
Just because someone has had exam access arrangements in the past, does not mean they automatically carry on in college. Exam access arrangements must reflect what happens in the classroom as “normal way of working”.
For any exam access arrangement to be in place, an assessment interview, with perhaps further assessment must take place in college. Specialist assessors cannot assess online. All students must sign a data protection form.
Some students will also disclose EAA during their course to their faculty teacher, study coach / learning mentor or LSA. and some students who have never had an exam access arrangement in the past may require one now. It is important that this happens as soon as possible in the new academic year and certainly within the deadlines set by the JCQ.
These students will also need to be seen by the specialist assessor, to sign a data protection form and to confirm which exam access arrangements are most suitable for them. Evidence of normal way of working will need to be provided by the faculty teachers.
There are very strict rules about students having additional time in exams where English is an additional language. In these instances, faculty staff should refer to the specialist assessors who will check the latest JCQ regulations.
Please contact us today to discuss your support needs.