There are three teachers in the Learning Support department who have previous experience as class teachers across the prep school age range and are qualified to teach children with specific learning difficulties.

The department is an integral part of the School’s academic provision. Department staff frequently communicate with all staff to ensure the needs of pupils are recognised, reviewed and provided for. Pupils who receive Learning Support follow the full curriculum and where possible are not routinely withdrawn from the mainstream academic programme.


The Learning Support department recognises the need for pupils to have a positive and confident attitude to learning in order to ensure success in the classroom. However, for some pupils the reality may be that learning difficulties or previous experience of failure may have resulted in a loss of confidence and poor self-esteem. Our first aim for any pupil receiving Learning Support is that he/she feels valued, supported and able to talk about any difficulties experienced in and out of the classroom. From a place of trust, we begin the process of understanding difficulties and using strengths to develop confident learners armed with a range of successful strategies. Our Learning Support rooms offer a quiet, bright, welcoming environment where pupils feel sufficiently secure to take risks in their learning.

Literacy support is offered on a 1:1 basis for pupils who experience difficulties with literacy because of dyslexia or
difficulties with reading, spelling and writing. Curriculum support is provided as part of literacy support, for those pupils who find the process of organising their learning a challenge.

Numeracy Support is offered by two teachers qualified to teach children with specific difficulties in Maths. Children are selected for 1:1 or group support, in consultation with Maths teachers and parents.

Handwriting club takes place as a weekly activity and pupils may be chosen to attend. The support given helps pupils
with fine motor skill development, analysing their writing weaknesses and working to improve their overall presentation through games and practise.

Pupils are offered support tailored to their individual needs. Specialist teaching sessions may be on an individual,
paired or small group basis and incorporate a structured, cumulative, multi-sensory approach that takes into account
strengths and preferred learning style.


Any individual or paired sessions are charged and details can be obtained from the Bursary. Dean Close Preparatory School is committed to the provision of Learning Support Facilities and all charges are subsidised accordingly.


Pupils may be referred to the Learning Support department for a variety of reasons. Children may have an Educational Psychologist report recommending additional support. Alternatively, teachers may raise concerns about a pupil and following in-school assessment, it may be thought appropriate for additional support to be given. Parents would be involved at every stage.


A wide variety of resources are available with an emphasis on active learning and using games to enhance motivation. Several computer programmes form an integral part of the literacy provision and help to develop confidence and independent thinking whilst ensuring overlearning of the skills that have been taught.


There are occasions when the needs of some pupils may require the expertise of outside therapists. We are fortunate to have close links with Educational Psychologists, a Speech and Language Therapist and Occupational Therapist, who will come into School to carry out assessments or work with children and staff during the school day.


We are committed to a partnership with parents, offering regular opportunities to discuss progress. The Head of Learning Support attends all parents’ evenings so that parents can discuss any concerns that may arise from meeting the teaching staff. A review with the pupils’ support teacher is offered at the end of each term and parents are encouraged to telephone, email or come in at any time to discuss any issues or concerns that may arise. We believe that through the sharing of information and working together – teachers, pupils and parents – we encourage all our pupils to have the confidence to take risks and utilise their strengths in order to realise their learning potential.

  • Joanne Cahill BEd (Hons), PGCSpLD, AMBDA
  • Jane Lyons BA(Hons) PGCE, OCR Cert SpLD
  • Rosemarie Scharf Cert. Ed., PGCSpLD, AMBDA