Academic Support

The department provides specialist programmes of support for pupils, combining skills development with curriculum support. We expect our pupils to cultivate a range of study skills and learning strategies which will enable them to study successfully across subject areas. The development of effective higher-level reading and writing skills is crucial to academic success and plays a central role in the approach taken in Academic Support. We also help pupils to develop a range of approaches to revision and exam techniques. We support pupils with planning and organisation, teaching them how to set goals and objectives and how to prioritise and manage their workload effectively.

The department takes a graduated response to meeting pupils’ needs. The level of support offered will be agreed by the Head of Academic Support following an identification of need, and could include:

  1. Tier 1 support, which involves an initial assessment, the provision of quality additional teaching in the classroom, and short-term packages of support to address particular needs.
  2. Programmes of ‘Personalised Learning’ (Tier 2), which takes place in small groups, and in place of a subject in the curriculum. This involves targeted support for literacy and numeracy by specialist Maths and English teachers, alongside specialist skills support from an Academic Support teacher.
  3. Weekly 1:1 support where needed with an Academic Support specialist. (Tier 3)
  4. Drop in sessions throughout the week, both on the academic timetable and elsewhere in the school day.

The Academic Support Department also plays a crucial role in guiding all teachers in understanding how they can support pupils with specific needs. They provide training and guidance to staff, and provide them with advice on strategies that can be used to support pupils, including in using adaptive technologies.

In line with the College’s commitment to providing a high-quality education for pupils from a variety of cultural backgrounds, the department delivers English as an Additional Language (EAL) support. Information on potential EAL pupils, including first language, level of English, whether they have studied previously in an English-medium school or have special interests or abilities, is requested by the Admissions Department in advance of a pupil’s arrival.

Once they reach us, their proficiency level is assessed using the Oxford Placement Test, where those who require extra language provision are identified. Ongoing assessment of a pupil’s academic progress may indicate a need for EAL support. In addition, requests for support at any time may be made by a pupil, parent or teacher/tutor/Housemaster or Housemistress.

New Shell EAL pupils may attend small group English lessons in which pupils focus on improving their language skills in preparation for the rigorous academic life at the College. Lessons to prepare pupils for Cambridge International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exams for university entrance are available upon request. EAL lessons are given on a one-to-one basis for linguistic and subject-specific support and these are available for all year groups.

The EAL provision is flexible in order to take into account the wide range of educational backgrounds and expectations of our pupils and their linguistic abilities and needs. We endeavour to ensure that our lessons maintain pace, variety and challenge, encourage active learning and are appropriately differentiated. Most importantly, we aim to provide pupils with the linguistic competence and academic skills to succeed in their subjects.