Skills for Learning (SFL)
Skills for Learning groups are small academic mentor groups of 2, 3 or 4 pupils who are grouped according to their specific needs. Each group is taught by a qualified specialist teacher and the lesson focus is on the individual and specific targeted areas of need including literacy, numeracy, language and social skills. At Key Stage 3, groups are vertical, in that they could include Year 7, 8 or 9 pupils. At Key Stage 4, the groups are horizontal and consist of Year 10 pupils or Year 11 pupils only. Key Stage 3 groups meet three times a week and Key Stage 4 groups meet twice a week.
Therapeutic input is integrated throughout the academic curriculum and teaching informs therapy and therapy informs teaching. Teaching staff have immediate and unrestricted access to specialist help in order to resolve difficulties, trouble shoot, differentiate and plan targets. Specialist Therapeutic staff regularly provide support and resources for Skills for Learning groups and attend each Skills for Learning group for a block of time as well as helping to plan sessions and liaising with mentors regularly.
Paired Reading for all pupils takes place on a Tuesday morning, with additional sessions timetabled during Skills for Learning lessons. Learning Support Assistants are paired with selected pupils and read with them on a one to one basis using the ‘paired reading’ technique. One to one numeracy lessons are also scheduled during this time for selected pupils. Paired reading has long been recognised as a very effective method of improving reading attainment and motivation. Research suggests that by pairing a weak reader with a stronger reader and by discussing the text and reading aloud independently, simultaneously or in tandem, reading will improve. This approach is based on modelling, prompting, encouragement and praise rather than on simply teaching words.