Learning Support

The curriculum at St John’s on-the-Hill is designed to provide access and opportunity for all children who attend the school, regardless of physical or learning difficulties, race, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexuality.

If we think it necessary to adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of individual children, then we do so only after the parents of the child have been consulted. This includes gifted and talented children as well as those with specific learning difficulties. If a child has a special educational need, the school does all it can to meet those individual needs. If a child displays signs of having a learning difficulty, their teacher alerts the Head of Learning Support as detailed in the school’s Learning Support Policy. Similarly any child displaying a particular gift or talent should be referred to the Head of Learning Support.

The department offers a range of support in the areas of literacy and numeracy. Specialist tuition, individual, paired or in small groups, is tailored to individual needs based on a withdrawal system.

The School charges for the provision of Learning Support where individual lessons are provided and this is detailed in the fees booklet.

The department offers specialist support for pupils with mild dyslexia and provides a structured course to develop spelling, literacy, comprehension, numerical and study skills. Various multisensory techniques are used.


Language support is provided for pupils whose first language is not English. Each pupil is assessed on admission, and a personal programme of study is developed, based on ability and need. Lessons, individual or in small groups, cover vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation, in the context of the core linguistic skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Support is also given to students across the curriculum. A charge for EAL lessons and related course books is added to the bill each term. The duration of EAL support is flexible and progress is continually monitored. Pupils are encouraged to integrate fully into school life as much as possible.

The department and the pupils

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 they feel 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. Pupils who receive Learning Support follow the full curriculum and where possible are not routinely withdrawn from the mainstream academic programme.

Literacy support is offered on a 1:1 basis for pupils who experience difficulties with literacy because of dyslexia or difficulties with reading, spelling, 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 practice.

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.

Cost of lessons

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


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.

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