Learning Support

Our aim is for pupils to develop the skills they need to think and learn independently. Through specialist intervention, pupils develop strategies to overcome their specific learning difficulties, gain confidence in their own learning, fulfil academic potential and acquire study skills that will equip them for life at university and beyond. Guided by the Learning Support Department the College takes a whole-school approach to identifying and supporting pupils with Special Educational Needs. In addition, the Department welcomes enquiries from any pupil seeking advice or support with their studies.

The Department provides specialist programmes of support, 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 Learning Support lessons. 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.

Pupils usually attend one 35-minute tutorial per week with a specialist teacher. Pupils in the Sixth Form attend lessons by appointment during their private study periods. Pupils in the Lower School are withdrawn from part of a mainstream lesson on a rotational basis to minimise disruption to a specific subject area.

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.